Patient Partners

Patient Partners

Kate Farnsworth

Kate Farnsworth is the patient partner co-lead for the Innovations in Type-1 Diabetes Program. Kate has been heavily involved in the Do-It-Yourself #wearenotwaiting movement since her daughter Sydney was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 8. With a background in information technology and graphic design, Kate has lent her skillset to developing diabetes watch faces for remote monitoring used by patients worldwide. Kate has created an online patient-driven support community for people who are exploring DIY closed-loop solutions and continues to advocate for all people with diabetes to have access to the best tools to manage their diabetes.

Robert Fenton

Robert is the Aboriginal Diabetes Education Coordinator for the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA). Robert is Anishnaabe from Animakee Wa Zhing No. #37 First Nation, Treaty 3 and is the Eagle Staff Keeper for ONWA’s Grandmother Eagle Staff. He graduated from Confederation College and Lakehead University with BA in both Sociology and Indigenous Learning. Robert is passionate about his work in diabetes and dedicates his work to the memory of his Grandmother. Diabetes has ravaged his family for three generations, and now the next generations are here. Robert is very involved with his community as the Chair for the Northwestern Ontario Regional Stroke Network’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee. He is a current member of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre’s Advisory Committee for Aboriginal Lead Engagement and the TBRHSC Patient/Family Advisor Council. Robert also volunteers for the Hospice Northwest Palliative Care Program and serves as an Elder for the Indigenous Peoples Court, Thunder Bay Consolidated Courthouse. Robert is a firm believer that the work he is doing will benefit his children, grandchildren, and the next generations.

André Gaudreau

André is a Patient Partner co-facilitator for the Training and Mentoring Program. André is a writer, speaker and active advocate living with T2D in Sherbrooke, QC. He is an accomplished author, with his second book, “Le diabète: Un nouveau mode de vie à découvrir” written and published in 2009 in collaboration with people living with diabetes from France and Belgium. With this book, André hopes to fill the void that arises after the announcement of the diagnosis, to help people better understand diabetes and its complications, as well as, to empower people living with diabetes to live a full and fulfilling life. You can access André’s book by clicking here. André has also established a website in order to inform people living with diabetes about research and to support those newly diagnosed in learning about lifestyles and diabetes management. He is actively involved in a variety of patient participation and diabetes research projects, such as Liaison Officer for the board of French language SRAP (SPOR) patients, patient partner for the Centre for Diabetes, Obesity and Cardiovascular Complications of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke, patient-partner of Réseau -1 Québec, patient partner for ComPaRe research in France on diabetes, and life coach with the Kidney League in France for people who are on dialysis. André wishes to use his experience to help guide researchers in understanding the realities of living with diabetes every day. He also hopes to contribute to improving the quality of life for all people living with diabetes.

Ross Gray

I am a semi-retired business man living on a farm north of Toronto who has lived with Type 2 diabetes for approximately 15-years. I have been involved with Gary Lewis for 13-years supporting the Banting Best Research Centre in Toronto. I wanted to support research that would make a difference in the lives of people living with this condition and Gary invited me to get involved. What keeps me involved is seeing the dedication of researchers like Gary and so many others across Canada that give their all for very little financial reward and Patient Partners who contribute meaningfully by helping researchers focus on their specific issues and needs. I have been a Patient Partner at Diabetes Action Canada since its inception and serve on the Steering Council Executive. I also serve as Chair of the Finance-Audit Standing Committee and Co-Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. I am also very involved with Rotary International and have been a member of the Rotary Club of Bolton, in the hills of Caledon, for 30 years helping people locally and throughout the world. While COVID-19 has made our work more challenging, we have successfully delivered more than 20,000 medical masks to Seniors, Seniors Facilities and not-for-profit organizations and donated hundreds of $100.00 grocery gift certificates to families in need locally.

Dana Greenberg

Dana Greenberg was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) in 1972, at the age of 7. She was a professional fundraiser for over 20 years and is the proud mom of 3 kids, aged 28, 26 and 20. Twelve years ago, her youngest daughter Marley was also diagnosed with T1D at the age of 8. After Marley’s diagnosis, Dana quickly came to realize that she was in a unique position to help others because she understood both what it means to be a person living with T1D and what it means to be a parent of a child with T1D. Dana is an active volunteer with many diabetes organizations in Toronto, where she chairs various committees, does speaking engagements, and has mentored dozens of families living with T1D. Dana has been involved with Diabetes Action Canada as a patient partner since 2017. Dana is a member of the Collective Patient Circle, is a patient partner on several research projects, and co-leads the project: Answering Questions that Matter to Persons Living with Diabetes Using the National Diabetes Repository.

Shayla Hele

I joined DAC in 2017 and have been a member of the Collective Patient Circle since. This organization provided me with an opportunity to get involved with and influence important research, while also offering a young person’s perspective on living with diabetes. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was 7 years old, just 6 years after my oldest brother received the same diagnosis. I grew up learning that diabetes did not limit me and consequently, dedicated much of my life to competitive sports. I am a recent graduate from the University of Prince Edward Island, completing my undergraduate degree in Psychology and Biology. I hope to continue my education and pursue a career in healthcare. Ultimately, I’d like to help others, as I have been helped, to overcome obstacles in their life and achieve their goals. I am a firm believer that everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue their dreams, no matter their circumstance.

Heather Hinz

Heather is an exercise enthusiast from Calgary, who has been living with type 1 diabetes for over 30 years. She holds an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology, and recently finished her M.Sc. in Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation from the University of Alberta. Her graduate work focused on people with type 1 diabetes and how exercise may affect their blood glucose. Heather has been involved with Diabetes Canada’s D-Camps off and on for several years, providing support for the medical team at their specific request. Her passion for movement often has her dancing, skipping, cycling, or lifting. She is currently aspiring to find her next scholastic adventure, whether it be in research or medicine.

Alex McComber

Alex is a member of the Kanien’kehá:ka community of Kahnawake, in Quebec near Montreal. He has extensive experience working with the Kahnawake School Diabetes Prevention Project as a Diabetes Prevention Intervention Facilitator, Training Coordinator and Executive Director. He is the recipient of an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science from Queen’s University recognized for his exemplary work with a number of national diabetes organizations including Health Canada’s Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative. He strives to integrate the traditional knowledge of the Rotinonsonni (The People of the Longhouse) into his daily life and share traditional teachings through community support mechanisms. Alex’s holds close ties to Indigenous communities and believes strongly that health promotion, community mobilization, and personal empowerment for healthy lifestyles are the key to healing multi-generational trauma. He serves as Co-Lead of the Diabetes Action Canada Program on Indigenous Peoples’ Health.

Adhiyat Najam

Adhiyat was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2001. She has been a patient partner with Diabetes Action Canada since 2017 and has been involved in several research projects, including as the lead patient partner for the T1ME Trial and a member of the Research Governing Committee. Aside from this, Adhiyat is a volunteer for T1International as her lived experience with type 1 diabetes has pushed her interest in advocating for insulin affordability and access to health care. She is currently a Master’s student studying global health and also serves as a patient research partner with the IMAGINE Network to advocate for patients living with diabetic gastroparesis.

Barbara and Clarence Nepinak

Barb and Clarence are members of Pine Creek First Nation in Treaty 4 Territory are both retired from the public service and continue to be active on various Boards and committees. Barbara is on the National Board for Cultural Human Resources Council from Ottawa, serving on the Standing Indigenous Advisory Council to the Canadian Human Rights museum with Clarence. Both serve on the Peguis National Elders Gathering, DAC Diabetes Action Canada, National Climate Change Committee; both are Cultural/Spiritual Advisors for First Peoples Investment Group as well as APTN – Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. Clarence is also a member of the St. James Historical Museum and the Healthy Aboriginal Network in Vancouver. Clarence and Barbara were recognized as Wisdom Keepers by the Circle of Educators in Manitoba as well as both are recipients of the Golden Jubilee Award.

Become a Patient Partner

You will participate in discussions approximately once a month pertaining to research projects and strategic goals of the Network. You can also get involved in a research team! Researchers need your feedback to make sure research projects are relevant for people living with diabetes.

Diabetes Action Canada | SPOR Network
200 Elizabeth Street
Eaton Building, Room 12E242
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2C4 Canada

416-340-4800 ex. 2522