USF Diabetes Center
USF Health

Our Team

Dr. Jeffrey KrischerJeffrey Krischer, PhD
Director, USF Diabetes Center and the USF Pediatric Epidemiology Center

Dr. Krischer is the study chair and director of the Data Coordinating Center for the NIH funded Network for the Identification of Environmental Triggers of Type 1 Diabetes (TEDDY) since its onset in 2004. This epidemiological study has three sites in the United States and three in Europe to study gene-environmental interactions that initiate or promote the development of autoimmunity. Although it does not involve an intervention, it is very similar to TRIGR in that 8000 newborns are enrolled and followed for up to 15 years to investigate gene, environment and gene x environment hypotheses.

In 2009, Dr. Krischer successfully competed to become the Coordinating Center for TrialNet which includes 14 clinical centers, 5 major affiliates and over 150 affiliates in a network accruing to 8 clinical trials in T1D prevention and C-peptide preservation in newly diagnosed subjects. Dr. Krischer is the Chair of the oral insulin prevention trial of multiply positive antibody subjects.

Dr. Krischer has a longstanding commitment to diabetes research and strongly committed to understanding the mechanisms of autoimmunity and disease progression. His office is an international resource to study factors associated with Type 1 Diabetes in that it contains the accumulating databases of the world experience through the DPT-1, TEDDY, TRIGR and TrialNet databases.


Dr. Henry RodriguezHenry Rodriguez, MD

Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Director

Dr. Rodriguez is a highly regarded pediatric endocrinologist whose career has focused on the prevention and clinical management of type 1 diabetes through partnerships with primary care providers and research collaborators. He led the pediatric diabetes clinical and clinical research programs at Indiana University / Riley Hospital for Children for over 10 years prior to joining the University of South Florida College of Medicine in 2010 as a Professor of Pediatrics and Clinical Director of the USF Diabetes Center, providing care to children and adults with diabetes and leading the development of clinical services and clinical research.

He has been a lead investigator in national and international collaborative type 1 diabetes (T1D) studies including the NIH-funded Diabetes Prevention Trial-Type 1, the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium, Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, and the Helmsley Charitable Trust funded T1D Exchange. He directs the USF TrialNet and T1D Exchange Clinical Centers and he is the immediate past chair of the TrialNet Pathway to Prevention Study.

Dr. Rodriguez has held many positions in the American Diabetes Association. He is former member of the National Board and the Research Grant Review Committee. He currently serves on the Scientific Oversight and Legal Advocacy Committees, Safe at School Working Group and he is President of the local ADA Board. He is also a longstanding supporter of diabetes camps here and abroad. His collaborative efforts also include working with others to improve insulin pump therapy and the transition of young adults from pediatric to adult diabetes care providers. Dr. Rodriguez's professional focus is to improve the lives of those living with T1D while pursing prevention and a cure.


Dr. Shulman

Dorothy Shulman, MD
Director, Fellowship in Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes

Dr. Shulman joined the USF Diabetes Center as Professor of Pediatrics in July 2012 after serving as Chief of the USF Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism from 2005-2012, previously based in St. Petersburg. She continues as Director of the Pediatric Endocrine Fellowship Training Program. Dr. Shulman is currently a member of the Genetics and Newborn Screening Advisory Council for the State of Florida, the Governor's Diabetes Advisory Board, and is a member of the sub-board of Pediatric Endocrinology for the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Shulman has been a volunteer physician for the Florida Camp for Children and Youth with Diabetes at Bring a Friend Camp and Camp Winona for many years. Her scholarly interests concern improving the care of children with a variety of endocrine disorders including diabetes, growth, puberty, adrenal, thyroid, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Dr. Shulman will provide clinical care as well as focus on development of the clinical research program in diabetes and other endocrine disorders.


E. Verena Jorgensen, MD
Co-Director, Fellowship in Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes

Dr. Jorgensen joined the faculty at the University of South Florida in 1990 following her training in pediatrics and endocrinology. Since joining USF, Dr. Jorgensen has had a close relationship with the residency program, serving as Associate Director of the Pediatric Residency Training Program from 1996 – 2001. During this period she was also Coordinator of Fourth Year Medical Student Pediatric Electives. She currently serves in the capacity of Co-Director of the Pediatric Endocrine Fellowship Program. Dr. Jorgensen has served on the Institutional Review Board at All Children’s Hospital since 1991 and is currently its Chair. She has served on various committees with All Children’s Hospital including the Ethics Committee, Suncoast Pediatric Conference Planning Committee and Executive Committee. She has been a camp physician for many years for the Florida Camp for Children and Youth with Diabetes Pee Wee Camp. Dr. Jorgensen has a wide variety of endocrine interests including diabetes, disorders of growth, thyroid, puberty and calcium metabolism.


Dr. Sureka Bollepalli

Sureka Bollepalli, MD
Assistant Professor and Pediatric Endocrinologist, Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Sureka Bollepalli is a Pediatric Endocrinologist with specialization in Diabetes. She joins USF as faculty in the Diabetes Center and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Bollepalli graduated from St. George’s University School of Medicine in 2003. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, PA in 2006 where she served as Chief Resident during her final year. She completed her fellowship training in Endocrinology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2009. She is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in both Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology. Prior publications include work in obesity, growth of infants of diabetic mothers and neonatal thyroid disease. Her clinical practice at the Morsani Center for Advanced Healthcare will focus on those with new onset diabetes and those requiring intensive insulin therapies up to 22 years of age.


Michele Laine, ARNP, CDE

Michele Laine, ARNP, CDE
Licensed Nurse Practitioner and Certified Diabetes Educator

Ms. Laine received her Master's in Nursing from the University of Phoenix and has worked as a Nurse Practitioner in the field of Diabetes for the last 15 years in Los Angeles, California as well as Jacksonville, Florida before relocating to Tampa, Florida 10 years ago. She has also been a Certified Diabetes Educator for the past 20 years. She has served on the board of the American Diabetes Association and currently serves on the Board of JDRF in Tampa. She has had type 1 diabetes for 36 years. Her clinical interest lies in the treatment and care of young adults with type 1 diabetes. Michele is a preceptor for the USF Masters and Doctorate of Nursing programs.



Rachel Brownstein, MSN, ARNP-c, BC-ADM, LM, LMT

Rachel Brownstein, MSN, ARNP-c, BC-ADM, LM, LMT
Licensed Nurse Practitioner

Ms. Brownstein joined us in 2016 with extensive clinical experience managing adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes as well as endocrine disorders such as thyroid disease, osteoporosis and hypogonadism. As a former faculty member of Pasco Hernando Community College, Ms. Brownstein has an expressed interest in academic medicine and is a valued asset to our Clinical Research Program. As a certified midwife, Ms. Brownstein is uniquely qualified to care for women with gestational diabetes or pregnancies complicated by pre-existing diabetes.



Jane Norman

Jane Norman, MA, RD, CDE
Clinical Dietitian

Ms. Norman received an A.A. degree from the American College of Switzerland, BS in Biology from C.W. Post College, and MA degree in Foods and Nutrition from New York University. She has worked with adults and children with diabetes since 1980 and presently teaches the nutrition and gestational diabetes classes associated with the USF Diabetes Center. She is a member of the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and received the Diabetes Educator of the Year award from the Florida West Coast Association of Diabetes Educators in 2002. Her passion is promoting physically active hobbies, and healthy eating to the pediatric and adult diabetes population in Tampa Bay. Because of her background in nutrition, she is actively involved in a small ministry that feeds over 300 homeless every week.


Dr. Laura Smith

Laura Smith, PhD
Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor

Dr. Smith is a licensed psychologist and assistant professor of pediatrics. She became interested in helping individuals with diabetes after being diagnosed with diabetes in 2000. She received her degree in clinical and health psychology from the University of Florida and had additional training at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Dr. Smith has worked with individuals with diabetes and their families since 2001. In addition to providing counseling, Dr. Smith develops research projects focusing on family interactions related to diabetes. She is an author of numerous publications in this area.



Amanda Vasquez

Amanda Vasquez, LCSW
Clinical Social Worker

Amanda Vasquez is a licensed clinical social worker. She received her Master's Degree in Social Work from USF. Amanda has a broad background in social work, and has worked in various settings, including inpatient, outpatient and community based programs. A specific emphasis has been on working with children and families affected by chronic illness. In the Diabetes Center, Amanda helps to complete psychosocial assessments, identify needs and appropriate interventions, and to offer support and linkage to necessary resources for patients and families. She has worked extensively with children with type 1 diabetes and their families. Amanda works closely with the American Diabetes Association as an advocate for people with diabetes, with a specific emphasis on school safety and discrimination. Amanda also works with our patients to ensure a supportive and successful transition from pediatric to adult diabetes care.


Danielle Henson

Danielle Henson, BSN, RN
Lead Nurse Researcher/Clinical Research Coordinator

Mrs. Henson is a licensed Registered Nurse, who obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a minor in psychology from the University of South Florida. Since January 2011, she has helped develop a vast research department within the USF Diabetes Center. As the lead clinical research coordinator she is dedicated to expanding knowledge about diabetes to better help patients and their family members.



Emily Eyth, BSN, RN

Emily Eyth, BSN, RN
Nurse Researcher/Clinical Research Coordinator

Mrs. Eyth is a licensed Registered Nurse who obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of South Florida. A former teacher, she became interested in diabetes research while her family participated in the TrialNet study. Emily now incorporates her love of education and passion for diabetes research into her work as a Nurse Coordinator to assist patients and their families to increase knowledge about diabetes.



Juanita O'Brian, NRCMA

Juanita O'Brian, NRCMA
Research Support Specialist

Ms. O'Brian has been with USF Diabetes Center since 2010. First as Lead Medical Assistant in clinic and now in her new role in research. She is committed to diabetes research and strives to assist families in screening for Type 1 diabetes.




Amanda Terry, PhD, MPH

Amanda Terry, PhD, MPH
Associate in Research - Outreach and Community Engagement

Dr. Terry joined the USF Diabetes Center faculty in January, 2015. She received her doctorate in Medical Anthropology and masters of Public Health from the University of South Florida. Dr. Terry's academic work has focused on issues surrounding health disparities and food security in diabetes.She currently coordinates the Diabetes Center's research program and oversees community outreach efforts for the Center.



Pat Laskowski

Pat Laskowski
Administrative Specialist

Pat was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has worked as an administrative assistant for 30+ years, and is involved with patient advocacy and the TrialNet Type 1 Diabetes Research Network.