Tariq Ahmad, MD, FAAP
In 2001, Dr. Ahmad volunteered at Camp Ho Mita Koda, a historic diabetes camp in Northeast Ohio founded in 1929. Here, inspiring campers, amazing camp staff, and a stellar medical team kindled his interest in pediatric endocrinology. He was born and raised in Portland, OR, and trained in the east coast, doing his undergraduate studies at Cornell University, medical school at New York Medical College, and his pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital at Cleveland Clinic. After 3 summers at Camp Ho Mita Koda, Dr. Ahmad was able to be a part of Camp Conrad Chinnock, in Southern California, while pursuing his pediatric endocrinology fellowship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Since 2006, Dr. Ahmad has been on staff at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland as a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology. Every summer since then, he has been part of the medical team at Camp de Los Ninos in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains. He has also been part of the medical staff at DASH (Diabetes and Sports Health) camp and given diabetes talks at national conferences and for organizations like JDRF and CarbDM. On his off time, he enjoys playing soccer and tennis and traveling with his wife and 2 sons.
Justin Altschuler, MD, MS – DYF Medical Director
Dr. Justin’s life has been shaped by Bearskin Meadow Camp since he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 9. He attended Bearskin as a camper, counselor, program coordinator and medical staff for over 20 years. In 2002 he met his wife (Dr. Sarah) at camp and they now attend every summer with their kids Lukas and Aliza.
In his life outside of camp, Dr. Justin runs a private practice called SequoiaMD, caring for patients with type 1 diabetes, substance abuse disorders, and as their primary care doctor. Patients pay a fixed, monthly fee to be a part of the practice (no insurance), allowing for longer office appointments, increased convience, and more availability via phone, text, and email.
Dr. Justin is excited about continuing the “Bearskin Magic,” and leading DYF’s year-round programs. Dr. Justin is passionate about the sense of community and belonging DYF creates for those affected by type 1 diabetes, and working with children and families to build resiliency. He loves the outdoors, whether that is in his front-yard garden or among the sequoias of camp, racing downhill on skis or skipping stones with his kids.
Dr. Justin leads DYF’s medical advisory board, which is comprised of a phenomenal group of health care professionals from UCSF Benioff Hospitals, Stanford Hospital, and Kaiser Permanente. He feels privileged to follow in the footsteps DYF’s pioneering physicians, Doc, Ellen, and Dr. Mary Simon.
Steve Gitelman, MD
Dr. Gitelman, is Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California School of Medicine in San Francisco, California. He is the Division Chief of Pediatric Endocrinology and holds the Mary B. Olney, MD / KAK Chair in Pediatric Diabetes and Clinical Research. As a clinician, he is frustrated by the inability to provide a definitive cure to those with type 1 diabetes. He is a clinical and translational researcher primarily involved in clinical trials with immunotherapies to alter the natural course of type 1 diabetes—studies to predict risk for diabetes, prevent it from occurring, and to preserve insulin-producing beta cell function in those with recent onset disease. He has worked closely with Diabetes Youth Families since 1994, and regularly serves on the medical staff at various Bearskin Meadows summer camp sessions.
Dr. Gitelman received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and a medical degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1984. He then headed west, completing pediatric residency and pediatric endocrinology fellowship training at the University of California at San Francisco before joining the faculty in 1990.
Louise Greenspan, MD
Dr. Greenspan, is a Pediatric Endocrinologist at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center and Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). She received her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College and completed both residencies in Pediatrics and Fellowship in Pediatric Endocrinology at UCSF. Her first week of Fellowship was spent at Bearskin, and she learned more about diabetes in that week than she thought was possible; she became hooked on Camp. It’s been almost 20 years, and she now comes up every summer with her husband and kids, who are all also hooked on Bearskin. In the non-diabetes world, she is known for her research in obesity and pubertal development, and is the co-author of “The New Puberty: How to Navigate Early Development in Today’s Girls”.
Jeannie Hickey, RN, BS, CDE
Nurse Jeannie first attended camp in 1965 just one month after her diagnosis at age 12. As an RN and CDE she returned to camp for teen session in 2004. Then as assistant medical director since 2006. Her passion and enthusiasm is infectious to camper, families and staff! She is thankful the days of glass syringes and resharpen-able needles are in the past and that diabetes care is almost a closed loop system. Jeannie loves teaching, sharing and encouraging others with T1D so that they can live their lives to the fullest.
Michele Long, MD
Dr. Michele Long is a pediatrician who provides care in the inpatient setting as a pediatric hospitalist, including care for children with diabetes. She has worked at children’s hospitals across California and is currently a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at University of California, San Francisco. She is heavily engaged in the teaching of medical students and residents and in multiple national teaching projects. She loves that DYF fosters a supportive community to improve the lives of children and families living with diabetes.
Roger Long, MD
Dr. Roger Long began his medical education at Vanderbilt University Medical School in Nashville, Tennessee, and eventually made his way back to the Bay Area, where he grew up. Early in his education, he determined that he wanted to focus on a medical subspecialty that would allow him to provide longitudinal care for patients of all ages. Endocrinology and diabetes were a perfect fit. Roger created a unique combined Adult and Pediatric Endocrine Fellowship program at UCSF and he was the first combined Endocrine fellowship graduate at UCSF.
Working at UCSF allows Dr. Long to primarily see patients with diverse endocrine conditions during adolescence and early adulthood – years that can be particularly challenging for patients and their families. For the community of patients with diabetes, he is an integral provider of the Transition Program at the UCSF Madison Clinic for Pediatric Diabetes. Roger’s goal is to ease the anxieties and burdens associated with this transition and empower patients to comfortably and safely manage their health. Dr. Long volunteers at Bearskin Meadow Camp along with his wife Michele and their two boys.
Lisa Norlander, MD
Lisa started volunteering at Camp De Los Niños while still in medical school in 2007. In the time that she has been involved with camp, she has been inspired by both the campers and the dedicated staff. She has had the opportunity to expand her involvement with DYF and volunteer at Bearskin Meadow as well as at most of the year-round programs. Lisa was also the medical staff on the Altitude 14,505 program in 2019 where a group of teens with T1D successfully summited Mt. Whitney. When Lisa is not at camp she works as an emergency room physician in a variety of hospitals in California. Lisa also works part time at Stanford in the Pediatric Endocrine Department helping with closed-loop and artificial pancreas clinical trials.
Maureen McGrath, MS, PNP-BC, BC-ADM
For the past 30 plus years, Maureen has served in various roles in diabetes camps in California and Georgia. She currently leads the medical side of DYF’s Campamento Familiar – a family camp for Spanish speakers- and attends BMC Teen Camp with her graduate nursing students, medical students, and incoming UCSF pediatric endocrine fellows.
Maureen has an appointment in the UCSF School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and a Faculty Practice at the UCSF Madison Clinic for Pediatric Diabetes. She is a member of the leadership team at Madison and precepts FNP and PNP students. In 2012 she started the nation’s first minor in diabetes for advanced practice nurses and she continues leading the program today.
Mary Simon, MD
A long-time person with diabetes, and certified diabetologist, Dr. Mary Simon served as DYF’s Medical Director for over 30 years, retiring in 2016.
Mary has a private practice in Fresno where she sees children and young adults with type 1 diabetes. She enjoys spending time with her family, including her grandchildren Hannah and Zelig who loves camp just as much as she does!
Additional Healthcare Provider Advisory Board Members:
Sonali Belapurkar MD
Deborah Simon-Weisberg MD