New Directors Join National Board of Diabetes Research Institute Foundation

Hollywood, FL (August, 2004) — The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF), the nonprofit diabetes organization whose sole mission is to support the cure-focused work of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), recently elected four new members to serve on the diabetes foundation’s national board.

At the diabetes research foundation’s quarterly meeting, Chairman Marc S. Goodman welcomed the newest directors, Paul L. Cejas (Miami, FL), Piero Gandini (Bovezzo, Italy), Barbara Hatz (Long Island, NY), and Joseph Maloney (Washington, D.C.).

The new members of the DRI Foundation’s board include:

Paul L. Cejas served as the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium from 1998-2001. A resident of Miami, Cejas has been a business and civic leader in the South Florida community for more than 30 years. He is chairman and CEO of PLC Investments, Inc., a family-owned company that manages investments in real estate, healthcare, and various venture capital projects. He was the founder, chairman and CEO of CareFlorida Health Systems, Inc., the country’s largest Hispanic-owned healthcare company. In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors, he is involved in community and public service, currently serving on the national board of the Smithsonian National Institution, the international board of the Tate Museum and the board of the University of Miami. 

Piero Gandini, from Bovezzo, Italy, is the president of Flos Lighting, an international lighting company that operates a subsidiary in Long Island. A devoted husband and father of three, Gandini became active in diabetes causes when one of his daughters was diagnosed with the disease. In 2001, he founded Associazione Sostegno 70, insieme ai ragazzi diabetici, a non-profit organization that assists children, teens, and families after the onset of the illness. The organization aims to improve the quality of life for children and teens with diabetes through education, increased awareness, and the support of research.

For the past 19 years, Barbara Hatz has been a driving force in Long Island in both raising awareness and funds for diabetes causes since her son, Ben, was diagnosed in 1985 at the age of 10. In her efforts, she has become a lighthouse for parents with newly diagnosed children. She has been active with the DRI as an executive board member since the creation of the Long Island regional board two years ago. Prior to that she held the position of both vice president and president with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and was honored in Long Island as Woman of the Year in 1995.

Joseph Maloney is the secretary-treasurer of the Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD) of the AFL-CIO. A labor leader and activist for nearly 30 years, Maloney graduated from the Harvard University Trade Union Program in 1993, and shortly thereafter was appointed director of the Canadian office for the BCTD, AFL-CIO. He was elected secretary-treasurer of the department in January 2000, and continues to serve in that capacity.

Comprised of 46 members, the national board paid special thanks to the outgoing directors, Randy Dorfman, Robert Georgine, C. Shelton James, Louis Kaitz, Sheryl Keller, Robert N. Lowe, Jr., and Jeffrey Zane, for their past service with the Foundation.

The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine is a recognized world leader in cure-focused research. Pioneering new technologies in islet cell transplantation since the early 1970’s, the DRI has successfully reversed diabetes in patients involved in ongoing clinical trials. Much of the research is now directed at transplanting insulin-producing cells without the need for powerful anti-rejection drugs and obtaining enough islet cells to treat all people with this disease. For the millions of families already affected by diabetes and who are looking to the world of science for answers, the Diabetes Research Institute is the best hope for a cure.


Media Contact: 
Lauren Schreier 
(954) 964-4040

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