The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) International Board of Directors unanimously voted on and approved the appointment of Aaron J. Kowalski, Ph.D., to serve as its new President and CEO. Dr. Kowalski is the first person living with type 1 diabetes to lead the organization. Now 47, Dr. Kowalski has lived with the condition for decades, diagnosed at age 13 following a similar diagnosis for his younger brother Stephen at the age of 3.
“I know first-hand the impact of type 1 diabetes (T1D) on individuals and their families because my brother and I have lived with it for decades. I’m humbled to lead JDRF, the organization that has played such a key role in so many of the major T1D advances in recent history,” said Dr. Kowalski, in the JDRF press release.
Currently the Chief Mission Officer, Dr Kowalski will assume leadership from Derek Rapp, who announced in October 2018 that he would step down as CEO when a new leader was selected.
With a doctorate in microbiology and molecular genetics, Dr. Kowalski has been responsible for JDRF’s entire research portfolio. This includes supporting 75 human clinical trials this year to move therapies from research labs to the people who need them and advancing key areas like beta cell regeneration and replacement, immunotherapies and prevention. He has also played an integral role in JDRF’s advocacy to fund type 1 diabetes research through the National Institutes of Health’s Special Diabetes Program. Dr. Kowalski has served the organization as a policy leader advising US Congressional leaders and regulatory agencies – including the FDA – to ensure access to T1D therapies and regulatory frameworks that promote innovation.
JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. The mission of JDRF is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. Since its founding in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, JDRF has awarded more than $2.1 US billion to diabetes research. Total public support and revenue for 2018 was more than $227 million.
I know first-hand the impact of type 1 diabetes on individuals and their families because my brother and I have lived with it for decades. I'm humbled to lead JDRF, the organization that has played such a key role in so many of the major T1D advances in recent history.