United States Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, gaveled open the Senate Hearing, “Transforming Lives through Diabetes Research,” on Wednesday, June 22. The hearing, attended by the 155 JDRF Children’s Congress delegates, ages 4 to 17, focused on progress achieved through the Special Diabetes Program and the urgent need to accelerate progress on artificial pancreas technologies.
For this special Senate hearing, Senator Lieberman turned the gavel over to Senator Susan Collins, Co-chair of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, and the other Members who were present for the hearing included: Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, Mark Begich of Alaska, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, whose daughter Stefany Shaheen and granddaughter Elle Shaheen served as Children’s Congress 2011 Chair Family.
“I look forward to these hearings every session, because they are so constructive,” Chairman Lieberman said in his opening statement. “In a city and government in which too often too little happens that’s constructive, this is a cause that unites people across party lines…to help facilitate some of the really miraculous advances that have occurred in diabetes in our time.”
The Senate panel heard testimony from two panels of experts. The first panel included award-winning actor and longtime JDRF advocate Kevin Kline; Director Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D. from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; and Charles Zimliki, Ph.D., Chair of the FDA’s Artificial Pancreas Critical Path Initiative. The second panel of experts—four JDRF Children’s Congress delegates who live with type 1 diabetes— included Caroline Jacobs, 14, of Maine; Jack Schmittlein, 13, of Connecticut; Kerry Morgan, 17, of Virginia; and Jonathan Platt, seven, of California.
Earlier in the day, Senator Lieberman met with Jack Schmittlein and two other delegates from Connecticut—Tess Fox, 14, and Jamie Perry, 16—to discuss what it’s like to live with the daily burdens of type 1 diabetes. “The fact that you children are here is the most important thing of all because you’re the best advocates for this cause,” Senator Lieberman said. “You convince us all to make the investments that are necessary to not only better treat diabetes but also in your lifetime [find] a cure for diabetes.”
For in-depth coverage of the Senate hearing “Transforming Lives through Diabetes Research,” click here.