The region’s leading experts on diabetes prevention and wellness will present at the 5th annual von Arx Family Foundation Southwest Florida Diabetes Wellness Conference on November 3 rd. This year’s conference takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Florida SouthWestern State College – Collier Campus, 7505 Grand Lely Dr.

Founded by the Help A Diabetic Child Foundation, the von Arx Family Foundation Southwest Florida Diabetes camp; Wellness Conference each year brings together doctors, researchers, medical experts, patients, parents and caregivers whose lives have been affected by diabetes. Top experts provide an educational and professional forum to further public knowledge on diabetes education, wellness, prevention and research.

The schedule of guest speakers includes:

Dr. Angelina Bernier is an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology. She is Fellowship Director of the Pediatric Endocrinology Program and Pediatric Metabolic & Obesity Program Medical Director, where her focus is to establish an efficacious pediatric obesity care center. Aside from clinical responsibility and education, her primary research focus is pediatric diabetes education, for which she is developing and testing new methods of improving learning for children with diabetes. Her goal is to establish a model that can be extended to other pediatric chronic diseases.

Dr. Charles W. Graeber is Program Director for the NCH Healthcare System Internal Medicine Residency program, a position he has held since February 2016. The program has been developed in partnership with the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Graeber currently holds appointments as Adjunct Assistant Professor for Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science as well as Professor of Medicine for the  University of Central Florida Medical School. He has an extensive and varied career that spans private practice, community health care and academic medicine.

Timothy S. Harlan practices internal medicine at the Tulane University School of Medicine where he is Associate Dean for Clinical Services. Harlan also serves as Executive Director of the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine , the first of its; kind teaching kitchen, operated by a medical school. His love of food began as a teenager working in the restaurant business. In medical school, Dr. Harlan wrote
“It’s Heartly Fare,” a food manual for patients with cardiovascular disease. Since then, he has published numerous books focusing on translating evidence-based diet and nutrition information for the public. Harlan is the publisher of the popular web site Dr Gourmet.com , where information garnered from the Mediterranean diet literature is translated in a practical way for use in the American kitchen.

Dr. Jaclyn Kovach is a retina specialist and Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (BPEI), University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.  Dr. Kovach has lived in Naples and cared for patients at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute locally  for the past 12 years. In 2015, in an effort to bring cutting-edge treatments for retinal disease to the Naples community, Dr. Kovach created a Clinical Trial Center at BPEI Naples. In addition to pursuing her mission of excellence in patient care, Dr. Kovach has created and directs a rotation for medical students, a medical retina fellowship based at BPEI
Naples and an annual retina conference that draws retina specialists from across the nation. Dr. Kovach has published more than 90 book chapters and peer-reviewed articles and has presented her research with a focus on macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy in over 100 lectures around the world.

Dr. Piero Policicchio has been practicing family dentistry in Holland, Mich., and surrounding cities for more than 30 years. In treating patients, Dr. Policicchio uses cutting-edge technology, combined with patient education and high-level patient involvement. Dr. Policicchio is the inventor of Dental Air Force and CEO of Air Force, Inc. His latest clinical trial studies, using his Dental Air Force system versus toothbrush and floss on diabetic patients, showed a reduction in HbA1c (diabetic blood marker) by over 1% in conjunction with periodontal therapy. He has published many articles on periodontal health as it relates to heart disease, respiratory health, diabetes, strokes and other systemic diseases. He is the former Executive Editor for the "Journal of Experimental Dental Science” and contributing author to Hospital Infection Control: Clinical Guidelines.  He also is the author of “Never Brush Your Teeth Again!” and an international speaker.

Prerna Poojary-Mazzotta has been with the University of Florida in February 2018. She previously conducted research, primarily in nursing homes and also worked at an in-patient rehabilitation center while continuing didactic work for the Ph.D. program. In 2015, Poojary-Mazzotta accepted a position as an Instructor at the University of Saint Augustine for Health Sciences. She continued conducting her Ph.D. research work while she taught at the university and started practicing as a home health therapist. Poojary-Mazzotta has a total of four certifications:  in wound care (2016), lymphedema therapy (2016), oncology lymphedema management (2017) and in gerontology, with a specialization in mental health (2016). Her research interests include conducting qualitative and quantitative research in the fields of Assistive Technology, Online Education, Blended Learning, Lymphedema and Patient Care Outcomes.

Peggy Sealfon is a personal development coach, author, motivational speaker and an internationally-recognized expert on dealing with stress and anxiety. Sealfon effectively coaches clients (and corporate groups) in her  IntegratedLifePlan.com , a customized blend of Western and Eastern traditions. Her fast-track, cutting-edge system improves performance and helps create a balanced, productive, happy and
healthful life. She is the author of the best-selling book “Escape From Anxiety-Supercharge Your Life With Powerful Strategies From A to Z.” Sealfon founded Florida’s Paradise Coast Wellness Alliance and co-founded the online hub for health and wellness at  BeWellinParadise.com.  Her website is  PeggySealfon.com.

Marci Schneider, MHS, OTR/L is a pediatric occupational therapist. She has dedicated her career to providing school-based occupational therapy services to children and youth ages 3-22 throughout North Central Florida. She has a Masters of Health Science and is currently a doctoral candidate in the Rehabilitation Science Ph.D. Program at the University of Florida. Her current research is focused on establishing grip strength procedures and norms in children ages 5-15, as well as the relationship between grip strength and children’s health status with a primary emphasis on obesity and the metabolic syndrome. She has presented her work at the Florida Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference and the American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference and Expo.

Diana Sherifali, RN, Ph.D., CDE, is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.  Sherifali also is an Associate Scientist at the Population Health Research Institute  and a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Diabetes Care and Research Program at Hamilton Health Sciences . Sherifali is also Co-Director of the McMaster Evidence Review and Synthesis Team, which supported the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, Public Health Agency of Canada, and, more recently, Diabetes Canada. Her research interests include identifying and implementing innovative approaches, such as  coaching,  synthesis and guidelines, and testing novel approaches to optimize patients’ participation in diabetes care.

The von Arx Family Foundation Southwest Florida Diabetes Wellness Conference is chaired by Dolph and Sharon von Arx, who have been philanthropic and service pillars of the Naples area for over 30 years. Serving as the chairs of this conference has raised the bar for the goals of educating diabetes prevention education and wellness throughout the region and to further establish the conference as an annual mainstay in the Naples area.

Presented by Germain BMW of Naples, the von Arx Family Foundation Southwest Florida Diabetes Conference is open to the public. Tickets start at $20 per person. All proceeds go to provide life-saving medicine and supplies for children with diabetes and to support diabetes programming and education in our community through the Help a Diabetic Child Foundation. CME credits for physicians, nurses and other medical professionals are offered for this conference. Corporate sponsorships are also available.

About the von Arx Family Foundation SW Florida Diabetes Wellness Conference. The von Arx  Family Foundation Southwest Florida Diabetes Conference was originally developed in 2015 by the Help a Diabetic Child Foundation in collaboration with Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida. Those two organizations were joined by the National Wellness Institute and Health Partners in 2018. The full-day conference offers lecture-style talks, hands-on demonstrations, nutritional advice for diabetes management and prevention, vendors and products, support groups, and other educational
opportunities.  For additional information or reservations, visit www.FLDiabetes.com

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