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Contributors

Cheryl Alkon

Guest Contributor

Cheryl Alkon is a seasoned writer and the author of the book Balancing Pregnancy With Pre-Existing Diabetes: Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby. The book has been called “Hands down, the best book on type 1 diabetes and pregnancy, covering all the major issues that women with type 1 face. It provides excellent tips and secrets for achieving the best management” by Gary Scheiner, the author of Think Like A Pancreas. Since 2010, the book has helped countless women around the world conceive, grow and deliver healthy babies while also dealing with diabetes.

Cheryl covers diabetes and other health and medical topics for various print and online clients. She lives in Massachusetts with her family and holds an undergraduate degree from Brandeis University and a graduate degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has lived with type 1 diabetes for more than four decades, since being diagnosed in 1977 at age seven.

Adam Brown

Guest Contributor

Adam Brown joined diaTribe in 2010 as a Summer Associate, became Managing Editor in 2011, and served as Senior Editor through 2019. Adam brings almost two decades of personal experience living with diabetes to all of his work at diaTribe, especially in testing out new technology like glucose meters, CGMs, insulin pumps, automated insulin delivery, and mobile apps. He writes an acclaimed column for diaTribe, Adam's Corner, which has brought useful diabetes tips to over 1 million people since 2013. Adam's first book, Bright Spots & Landmines: The Diabetes Guide I Wish Someone Had Handed Me, was published in May 2017 and received immediate praise for its actionable advice on food, mindset, exercise, and sleep. To date, over 180,000 copies of Bright Spots & Landmines have been sold/downloaded. Adam has also brought a patient perspective to numerous public venues, including FDA and NIH meetings, scientific and industry conferences, and patient events. He graduated summa cum laude from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 2011, pursuing concentrations in marketing and health care management & policy. He is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology, ultimately towards becoming a licensed therapist focused on diabetes and mental health. 

Emily Fitts

Senior Manager of Advocacy and Policy, The diaTribe Foundation

Emily Fitts joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2017 after graduating cum laude from Amherst with a degree in Psychology and a certificate in Culture, Health, and Science. She was previously a Summer Associate for Close Concerns in 2016. Emily completed a senior honors thesis that investigated the social norms surrounding stress, sleep, and related-disclosure and the influence of perfectionism on misperception of such norms. During her time at Amherst, she pursued her passion for public health by serving on the Executive Board of GlobeMed, a global health group that seeks to promote health, raise awareness, and foster partnership on campus and within the global community. Emily worked as the Head Tour Guide for her junior and senior year, where she expressed her love of Amherst to prospective families and managed 70+ tour guides to ensure a positive visitor experience. To engage with the local community, Emily worked as a Reading Mentor for Reader to Reader, which provided her an opportunity to share her love of reading with students from low-income schools. Prior to her summer internship with Close Concerns, she worked for The Union for International Cancer Control in Geneva, Switzerland, where she explored the business side of a public health nonprofit organization as the Business Development and External Relations intern. Emily was an avid member of the Rowing Team at Amherst and looks forward to continuing spending her free time outside with friends.

Catherine Newman

Guest Contributor

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. She also helped develop Sprout, a WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as well as Seasoned, their senior version. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health, happiness, and real food at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

Kerri Sparling

Guest Contributor

Kerri Sparling has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1986, diagnosed at the age of seven.  She manages her diabetes and lives her life by the mantra “Diabetes doesn’t define me, but it helps explain me.” 

Kerri is an internationally recognized diabetes advocate.  She is the creator and author of Six Until Me, established in 2005 and one of the most widely-read and long running diabetes patient blogs. Kerri is also a highly-rated speaker and has presented the patient perspective to audiences around the world.  She works to raise awareness for diabetes, patient advocacy, and the influence of social media on health outcomes.  Her first book, Balancing Diabetes (Spry Publishing), looks at type 1 diabetes in the context of “real life.” Her next series of books will be published in Spring 2019. 

To connect with Kerri, you can email her at kerri@sixuntilme.com or on Twitter @sixuntilme. Her disclosures can be found here.

Frida Velcani

Senior Associate, The diaTribe Foundation

Frida Velcani joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2019 after graduating from Vassar College Phi Beta Kappa with general and departmental honors. She has a degree in Science, Technology, & Society and a minor in Hispanic Studies. As an undergraduate, Frida delved into the study of patient-centered healthcare through her multidisciplinary studies. She reported on novel technologies related to emergency response and disaster medicine as a writer for the Crisis Response Journal. Her articles highlighted ways professionals and laypeople alike could leverage technology to enhance patient engagement and improve health outcomes. At Vassar, Frida also led various campus health promotion efforts, charity fundraisers, and programming at the nearby senior home to simultaneously improve student welfare and that of the surrounding community. Frida’s undergraduate work culminated in a thesis where she proposed technical, organizational, and personal recommendations for successful breast center microsystems and positive breast cancer screening experiences.

Karena Yan

Senior Associate, The diaTribe Foundation

Karena Yan joined the diaTribe Foundation in 2019 after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis with a bachelors in Biology and Global Health and Environment. As an undergrad, she held an executive position in WashU's First Year Center, striving to make first year students' transition to WashU as comfortable and seamless as possible. Karena also spent two summers at the Stanley Center of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, researching biomarkers of schizophrenia to better inform diagnosis and treatment. She is passionate about minority and underserved communities' access to healthcare, serving over two hundred hours as a volunteer at Barnes Jewish Hospital, Lawrence General Hospital, and Affinia Healthcare. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, playing tennis, snowboarding, and traveling.

Julia Kenney

Associate, The diaTribe Foundation

Julia joined the diaTribe Foundation in 2020 after graduating with a degree in Political Science and International Relations from Carleton College. Throughout her studies, Julia developed an interest in the social determinants of health that often result in inequitable geographic, economic, and identity-based health outcomes. Eager to explore these themes internationally, Julia worked on HIV/AIDS behavior change communications as an intern in Uganda, and studied the health impact of globalization and politics in India. She later interned at a management consulting firm, where she supported market research strategies for health-oriented consumer products. In her senior thesis, Julia explored the intersection of health and the political climate— identifying a relationship between reproductive health access and right-wing nationalism domestically. In her free time, Julia worked as a Student Advisor for the Carleton Career Center and was part of the Division III women’s soccer and ultimate frisbee teams.