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JDRF appoints first leader with type 1 diabetes in US

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For the first time, a person with type 1 diabetes has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the US arm of the charity JDRF.

Dr Aaron Kowalski, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged 13 in 1984, has taken over from Derek Rapp.

Dr Kowalski follows in the footsteps of JDRF UK CEO Karen Addington, who has lived with type 1 diabetes for 40 years.

Dr Kowalski has worked within JDRF for 15 years and been the driving force in expanding the charity’s research and outreach efforts.

Dr Kowalski said: “I know first-hand the impact of type 1 diabetes on individuals and their families because my brother and I have lived with it for decades.

“I’m humbled to lead JDRF, the organisation that has played such a key role in so many of the major T1D advances in recent history.

“Together, we will build on our significant progress to drive forward with urgency, new research that presents a line of sight much more promising than ever before to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications.”

Five years ago, he was appointed as JDRF’s Chief Mission Officer where he supported work for continuous glucose monitoring and the artificial pancreas system. He has a microbiology and molecular genetics doctorate and began his JDRF journey in 2004 when he started as a scientific program manager.

Ellen Leake, chair of the JDRF International Board of Directors, said: “Many of us know Aaron as a highly respected leader in the scientific community, a passionate advocate with government officials, and a trusted partner and counsellor to leading diabetes organisations around the world.”



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