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8th Annual Living Well With Diabetes: A Recap!

Posted: May 19th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Advocacy, Events | Tags: , , | No Comments »
Ben Vereen takes the stage at Kovler's 8th Living Well With Diabetes!

Ben Vereen takes the stage at Kovler’s 8th Living Well With Diabetes!

Amidst test strips, insulin injections, medications, and seemingly forbidden slices of cake, what does it mean to live well with diabetes? Kovler Diabetes Center experts and legendary actor Ben Vereen explored this theme and more at the Kovler 8th Annual Living Well With Diabetes event at the Quadrangle Club last Saturday.

People living with diabetes face many challenges that are often confusing and overwhelming. Dr Tina Drossos, Assistant Professor of Psychology and head of Kovler’s Family Health and Wellness Program, addressed several of the common mental health challenges those living with type 2 diabetes experience. According to Drossos, 10-19% of patients with diabetes suffer from depression, compared with 2-9% in the general population. Drossos urged attendees to ASK FOR HELP from their doctor if they are feeling anxious or depressed. Drossos also led attendees through a series of exercises that they can do on their own to reduce stress and cope with the various emotional challenges of living with a chronic disease.

Dr Celeste Thomas, Kovler’s newest adult Endocrinologist, took on a more basic approach. Thomas broke down “living well with diabetes” into basic building blocks: managing well, eating well, drinking well, and sleeping well. Thomas stressed how good blood sugar control is an important factor in overall health and urged attendees to focus on improving their health in each category to achieve wellness.

Smiles all around at the event.

Smiles all around at the event.

Finally, Ben Vereen, Tony Award winning actor, entertainer, and type 2 diabetic, took to the stage to encourage guests to be more open about their diabetes. Vereen shared his story of being diagnosed at age 60 and learning to take charge of his health in order to live his best life. He urged attendees to TALK ABOUT DIABETES with each other, with their families, and with their communities: “We should talk about diabetes…why? It’s not fashionable people! We need to make it fashionable.” Vereen called upon guests to go back to their communities and start support groups so that they may talk and learn from each other how to live their best lives.

Living well requires a conscious, daily effort, and we hope Ben Vereen and our Kovler experts inspired attendees to take on the challenge!

Like us on Facebook and follow us @KovlerDiabetes to hear more tips throughout the year on how to live well with diabetes and share your story.

2014 ADA EXPO: A Recap!

Posted: April 9th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

A_CCP Study_RobertsLast Saturday, over 13,000 members of the greater Chicagoland community came together at McCormick Place for the 2014 American Diabetes Association (ADA) Expo. At this annual event, hundreds of area businesses and organizations gathered to showcase the various goods and services they have to offer individuals with diabetes.

Again this year, the University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) and the Kovler Diabetes Center presented eight departments at the ADA Expo to showcase UCM’s interdisciplinary approach to diabetes care. From Transplant to Vascular Surgery to Nutrition, Expo-goers had the opportunity to travel through the wide range of services that UCM has to offer people with diabetes.

Each visitor to the booth received a “passport” and subsequently received a stamp as they traveled to each specialty within the UCM booth. After visiting every table, attendees had the opportunity to enter to win a Kindle Fire! Guests had a great time collecting stamps as they learned about all the different ways the University of Chicago Medicine’s interdisciplinary approach could help them better manage their diabetes and it’s associated complications.

A_Kovler_Isaiah HortonOn the Expo Main Stage, Kovler’s own Dr Lou Philipson shared information about the latest in diabetes research. He focused on the fact that studies show various technologies that we use every day—cell phones, the internet, apps—can be used to enhance and improve one’s management of their diabetes. Philipson himself even stays up-to-date on the latest diabetes information by using Twitter (follow him at @lphilipson)!

At the Kovler table, Ali Greatsinger, Isaiah Horton, and Cyreka Jacobs spoke with attendees about Kovler’s programs and upcoming events. There was so much interest in Kovler’s upcoming Living Well With Diabetes event that all spots available were filled that afternoon! Kovler also had the opportunity to meet with members of the greater Chicagoland community and learn how it can help them live their best life with diabetes.

Check out the photos to see all the fun we had—and don’t forget to come see us next year!

Mardi for a Cure Event Recap

Posted: March 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

IMG_6526 (1)After months of planning and anticipation, Mardi for a Cure kicked off last Saturday with a bang!

Hosted by Friends for the Cure, a committee of over 80 individuals dedicated to finding a cure for diabetes, the Mardi for a Cure event raised over $425,000 to support five crucial research projects at the University of Chicago Medicine Kovler Diabetes Center.

The Friends for the Cure committee worked tirelessly to do all of the fundraising before the event so that on March 1st guests could let loose and enjoy the party! This year’s party was packed from start to finish with extravagant entertainment and festive surprises right out of the French Quarter.

Fire throwers greeted attendees before they even walked into the venue. Inside, guests received colorful Mardi Gras beads to go with their elaborate masks and festive finery. Even the DJ was appropriately dressed in his finest suit and jester’s hat! Toward the end of the evening, guests joined the band on a celebratory New Orleans-style parade through the crowd.

Kovler is so honored to be the recipient of all funds generated from this year’s bash! A huge thank you goes out to the Friends for the Cure committee for all their hard work and dedication to improving the lives of those living with diabetes here in Chicago and beyond.

To read more about the five research projects at the University of Chicago being funded by the proceeds of Mardi for a Cure, please visit

Stay tuned for more information on Friends for the Cure’s next bash in 2015!

Behind the Scenes: Meet Carrie, Our Communications Extern!

Posted: February 19th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Guest Blog, Interns, Kovler Diabetes Center Staff, Kovler Team Members | No Comments »

Hi, I’m Carrie! Currently, I am a third-year student in the College at the University of Chicago studying biological sciences and visual arts, with plans of going to medical school. Attracted to Kovler’s various engagements in the community and the potential opportunity of learning how to connect with patients in a setting beyond the clinic, I joined the organization as a communications extern in summer 2012. Since then, I have learned how to serve patients on the level of social media, and also the value of media communication as a means to promoting health awareness and education, critical in a time of increasing urgency for diabetes attention.

While social media, as for many others, is familiar territory, my work at Kovler has surprisingly challenged me in many exciting ways. Some of my favorite communications projects at Kovler thus far include the work on our quarterly newsletter, The Kovler Key, and handling various social media platforms like this very blog and the Facebook page. Having quickly learned through Kovler that much of the challenges of diabetes management often manifest outside of the clinic, I have just as quickly recognized the importance of our social media platforms as extra-clinical support, all of which serve to engage diabetes patients in healthy lifestyle practices—be it in the form of an inspirational story, a news update, or a provider-approved general lifestyle tip.

Indeed, while the targeted audience of Kovler social media is primarily of individuals with diabetes, equally important I think is the potential of a diverse readership and social media reach, urged by the immediacy of the rising rates of disease. As we have seen over the last decade, diabetes has soared at rates more astonishing than ever before. From endemic disease to a global epidemic, combat against the frightening prevalence of this disease necessitates a countermeasure of equal if not greater magnitude. This is precisely where I see Kovler’s social media fitting. With the talents of researchers and our providers at the forefront of the battlefield, social media allows us to make an effort at home by means of grassroots support as awareness and education.

My work at the Kovler Diabetes Center has undeniably allowed me a better understanding of communicating through social media, and I am excited that I still have much more to learn. If my experience at the Kovler Diabetes Center thus far can be summed up in three words, then they would be “thrilling”, “rewarding”, and “meaningful”. Already reminded of the ways I have contributed to the shared vision of a world lessened of the disease, I believe that my work at Kovler will continue to be thrilling, rewarding, and meaningful.

Celebrating their 10th Anniversary, Friends for the Cure to host Mardi for a Cure

Posted: February 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

FFTC005_marti_eblastFriends for the Cure will host a black tie cocktail party on March 1, 2014 at the Montgomery Club of Chicago to support the University of Chicago Medicine Kovler Diabetes Center. In 2003, founder Margery Teller – one of Crain’s Chicago Business100 Most Influential Women – merged a group of associates from her trading career with 80 other committed individuals to form Friends for the Cure. Over the past decade, this dynamic group of friends from Chicago has raised more than $2mm to primarily fund research for a cure for diabetes. The goal this year is to raise $500,000 to support Kovler scientists in finding a cure for this terrible and pervasive disease.

More than 600 attendees will gather for an evening of dark magic and decadent delights at the Montgomery Club. In creative black tie, attendees will be transported to the French Quarter at its Mardi Gras best. Guests will sip Hurricanes, strut to vibrant jazz, thrill to strolling performance artists and feast on New Orleans-inspired cuisine. Event will also feature one-of-a-kind auction offerings which include vacation destinations in the Caribbean and Park City, as well as spa and restaurant packages, sporting events and more.

“We are honored by the incredible generosity of Friends for the Cure to support five important research projects at Kovler,” said Peggy Hasenauer, MS, RN, Executive Director of University of Chicago Medicine Kovler Diabetes Center. “Kovler is dedicated to cutting-edge research and discoveries, providing our patients with the best care and giving our global community tools and resources to manage diabetes This event will help us greatly expand our efforts.”

Friends for the Cure will support the following critical research initiatives of the University of Chicago Medicine Kovler Diabetes Center.

  • Insulin Pump and Sensor Technology Clinical Research Program
  • Beta Cell Research and Beta Cell Encapsulation Therapeutics
  • Genetics and Diabetes Research Initiative
  • Adult Stem Cell Project
  • Emotional Health & Wellness Program for Individuals Facing the Challenges of Diabetes

“We are thrilled to support Kovler this year funding world-class research happening in our own backyard with global impact.” said Margery Teller, Chair of Friends for the Cure. “Each year our parties are like no other, creating a fun, once-in-a-lifetime experience while raising critical research for diabetes.”


Mardi for a Cure
March 1, 2014 – 7:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Montgomery Club of Chicago
500 W. Superior Street

Tickets for Mardi for a Cure are $225 per person if purchased by February 20th and $250 per person thereafter. VIP Tickets are $350 per person and include a special reception from 6:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m. For more details on Mardi for a Cure, please visit

Welcome to 2014!

Posted: January 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Guest Blog, Kovler Diabetes Center Staff | No Comments »

Dear Kovler Friends ~

Welcome to 2014! We are so excited to kick off the year with fresh ideas and exciting plans. Here at Kovler, we strive to improve everyday to help better the lives of everyone connected to us – our patients, community members, or our amazing nurses, doctors, and research staff.

This year is about reaffirming our commitment to our colleagues, our communities and in those who trust us with their care. As part of this effort, we are developing a new strategic plan that will carry Kovler through the next ten years, and beyond. Our focus this year is to listen to your input, focus on the future of diabetes research, care and technology, and hear the messages that will enhance the development of our strategic vision. Specifically, we want to broaden our efforts in the communities we serve, strive for continued excellence in customer service and patient care, and enhance our ability to discover, learn and grow in our efforts in finding new therapies and cures for diabetes.

We cannot create this new vision without you. As a community, you have been wonderful with your feedback, but now is the time to really help us shape the path of Kovler in the future. Without your valued feedback and support, Kovler would not be where we are today. Help us better help you. What do you want to see with patient care? What would you like to see from the cutting edge research we are doing? Let us know what you found beneficial and what you did not. Kovler is invested in you and everyone else in the diabetes community, but we need more minds to make Kovler an even bigger impact in diabetes than what it is today. Stay tuned for more opportunities to share your ideas.

We have already started by enhancing the vision for our treasured Kovler Leadership Board, as four Board members have stepped forward to take on specific roles in community and corporate engagement, strategic communications and Board enhancement. These individuals are working to spread the vision and passion that is the Kovler Diabetes Center.

Let’s work together in 2014 and help Kovler make an even more impressive impact in the world.

Many Thanks, and Happy New Year!

Peggy Hasenauer, MS, RN
Executive Director
University of Chicago
Kovler Diabetes Center

A Year in Review — A Warm Thank-You from Kovler Leadership

Posted: December 18th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »


With almost 30 million people living with diabetes in the United States, we are all connected by the people we know and love living with this awful disease. I am so proud of all the Kovler Diabetes Center has done to improve the lives of those facing the challenges of diabetes – in Chicago and throughout the world.

This year, Kovler soared to national and international prominence as a leader in treating genetic forms of diabetes. In July, we welcomed families and physicians from all over the world to Chicago for Celebrating Miracles & Milestones a three-day conference that provided education, support, and resources for those living with rare genetic forms of diabetes. Building on the University of Chicago Medicine’s celebrated history of excellence in medical research and treatment, Kovler has now connected with thousands and accurately diagnosed rare genetic forms of diabetes. These genetic diagnoses have literally changed lives and the futures of whole families.

Kovler also reaffirmed its position at the forefront of diabetes research and discovery. This summer, Dr. Graeme Bell was awarded the Banting Medal—the highest honor in the diabetes community—before more than 10,000 physicians and scientists at the ADA Scientific Sessions here in Chicago. Dr. Bell’s research focuses on developing novel treatments, establishing proven prevention strategies, and connecting scientists and physicians throughout Chicago and the world to partner and collaborate to find cures for diabetes, obesity, and diabetic complications. We are so proud Dr. Bell continues his important, groundbreaking research at the University of Chicago.

Last year, we made a commitment to expand clinical research programs and clinical trials for diabetes. We really wanted to focus on support for novel treatments and potential cures that could lead to better diabetes care and treatment. To fulfill that commitment, we added Tiffany Grant, RN, FNP to our team as Associate Director of Clinical Research. After just six months, Tiffany already supports and coordinates more than 25 diabetes clinical trials and is helping to launch new trials every day. As we look ahead to 2014, we will continue our work by connecting children and adults with the right clinical research opportunity.

As you evaluate worthy causes for your year-end charitable giving this holiday season, I ask you to consider supporting advancements in diabetes clinical research by making a gift to the Kovler Diabetes Center. Together, we have the power to change the future of diabetes.

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy holiday season!


Sally Kovler
Kovler Diabetes Center Leadership Board

Celebrate Thanksgiving Using These Tips From Our Diabetes Educators!

Posted: November 27th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

thanksgiving-turkey-dinnerThanksgiving is a time for family and friends to gather and give thanks for all their blessings. It is also a time of tradition for all to gather around the dining room and enjoy favorite food, beverages and desserts.
For those with diabetes, this day may be fraught with anxiety and frustration since it is so food-centric. However, with a little advanced planning, it can still be an enjoyable time without causing widely fluctuating blood sugars.
Here are some tips to help enjoy the day!

  • Be sure to eat your regular meals that day to keep your blood sugars more stable. By skipping meals to save up for the “main event” may cause your blood sugars to fluctuate widely.
  • Be sure to get some extra physical activity that day. While it is not anyone’s intention to overeat, taking a walk before and after the meal can help the body digest better as well as help lower the blood sugars overall.
  • Skip the caloric beverages: stick to calorie-free drinks so you can enjoy the calories and carbohydrates with the foods.
  • It is ok to have dessert, but stick to the “three bite” rule. Having a small portion is just as satisfying.
  • While the Thanksgiving meal tends to be high carb choices, make sure you limit the amount you put on your plate.
  • Use the Thanksgiving Plate below as a guide to help you choose the foods you will eat.






Have a good Thanksgiving holiday!

Announcing Mardi For a Cure, a Party Thrown by Friends for the Cure to Benefit the Kovler Diabetes Center

Posted: November 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Individual and Family Wellness Program, Research and Grants | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »
Dr. Louis Philipson describes research projects to attendees.

Dr. Louis Philipson describes research projects to attendees.

Last Wednesday, friends gathered at the University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center to celebrate a bright future for cure-focused diabetes research. Attendees were members of the Friends for the Cure committee, assembled to discuss plans and progress for the Mardi For a Cure benefit gala to be held on March 1st 2014.

Friends for the Cure is a committee of friends and family united with the common goal of raising funds to find a cure for diabetes. Focused primarily on finding a cure for type 1, this dedicated crew of over 60 individuals throws unique, once-in-a-lifetime parties every year to raise money to support diabetes research. This year’s event, Mardi for a Cure, takes on the theme of a New Orleans Mardi Gras party to raise money for cure-focused diabetes research here at the Kovler Diabetes Center.

Photo Credit: Steve Becker |

Fellow Kovler researcher gives insight into one of the diabetes research labs

At this special meeting at the University of Chicago, Friends for the Cure committee members discussed achievements in the planning process for the event. They also had the opportunity to tour the Kovler Diabetes Center labs and discuss with researchers how and when we can expect a cure for diabetes to emerge. After seeing research in action, the committee decided on five research projects to support with funds raised by the Mardi for a Cure:

  • Beta Cell Encapsulation: Research into the idea of “shrink-wrapping” insulin-secreting beta cells during islet transplantation. A successful method would avoid rejection during the transplant and allow the individual to secrete insulin using the transplanted cells!
  • Clinical Research in Pump and Sensor Technology: Testing the most advanced technologies in insulin pumps and glucose meters here in Chicago to discover the most precise methods of diabetes management.
  • Adult Stem Cell Project: Investigating the use of adult stem cells to generate insulin-producing beta cells, which avoids the complications of a transplant.
  • Genetics and Diabetes: Building on the original work of Dean Kenneth Polonsky and Dr. Graeme Bell, and now Dr. Philipson, Dr. Greeley, and Dr. Naylor to emphasize precision genetic medicine in diabetes diagnosis and treatment.
  • Health and Wellness Program: Sustaining an innovative program exclusive to the Kovler Diabetes Center that focuses on the psychosocial impact of diabetes on ALL patients and families.

This is a diverse collection of projects that seek to not only find a cure in the near future, but also improve the lives of those living with diabetes right now. The Kovler Diabetes Center is incredibly honored to be the recipient of ALL the proceeds from Mardi for a Cure to continue this important research!

We hope you will come have a blast with us at this once-in-a-lifetime party! Save the dates have already been mailed. To get yours, email To learn about everything Friends for the Cure is doing to find a cure here in Chicago and to stay up-to-date about the event, like Friends for the Cure on Facebook.

RECAP: World Diabetes Day at the Tyree Diabetes Education Library Open House!

Posted: November 20th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Advocacy, Tyree Diabetes Educational Library | No Comments »

wddOn Thursday November 14th, the Kovler Diabetes Center celebrated World Diabetes Day with an open house in their brand new Jim Tyree Diabetes Education Library. Patients, staff, and guests from all over the University of Chicago Medicine came up to the new library space in DCAM 5A to check out this new patient service. Attendees had the opportunity to enter to win one of Kovler’s favorite diabetes friendly cookbooks from the library collection, enjoy a healthy snack, and take a tour or the library. Isaiah Horton, member of the resource librarian team, took guests on personal tours to show what the library could do to help keep them and their families healthy. Isaiah showed them how they could access and print from websites recommended by our Certified Diabetes Educators, interact with the Kovler Diabetes Center’s online resources via a touchscreen monitor, request personalized print materials to take home with them, and read from the library’s growing collection of diabetes related resource texts and cookbooks. The open house was a great way for Kovler to mark World Diabetes Day here in Chicago and give patients, staff, and visitors the opportunity to see how they can take action to improve their lives with diabetes and help prevent diabetes in their families.

November is Diabetes Month — come see what the Jim Tyree Diabetes Education Library can do for you!