- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 30, 2006

Many Americans suffer from diabetes, but it was her father’s diagnosis that motivated Katherine Rogers to get involved.

Earlier this month, Ms. Rogers was named executive director of the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Central Maryland chapter.

The Alexandria nonprofit, founded in 1940, provides information about diabetes and advocates for the estimated 20 million Americans who have the disease. It funds research, runs a national call center and a Web site, www.diabetes.org, where doctors, patients and families can find information about the disease. It also sponsors fundraising activities including an annual Walk for Diabetes.

“The thing I am most excited about is really building the profile of the ADA within our local area. It has a very high profile nationally but the local markets are not as aware of what the regional chapters are doing,” Ms. Rogers said.

The chapter works with the organization’s D.C. chapter to bring children with diabetes and their families to a camp in Southern Maryland each summer. “I was just down there … and had a chance to meet with some of the parents,” said Ms. Rogers. “It makes me really understand why I do what I do, when I get to see the direct impact that we have on the families and their children. It’s great knowing we are funding that resource.”

The two chapters will be working together, not competing, to send a consistent message to area communities, said Betty Digges, executive director of the ADA’s D.C. region, which includes Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland. “Our job is to let people know that the association is there for them,” said Ms. Digges, while also raising money for a cure and advocating equal treatment for diabetics in employment and education. “People need to know there is someone they can call on, and that’s why we’re here.”

The previous executive director resigned in March, and the ADA began a search for a replacement.

Ms. Rogers “outshone everyone else that we interviewed,” said Andrea Maddox, national vice president of the ADA’s Eastern division. “She’s a great addition to the ADA.”

Ms. Rogers graduated in 1978 from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in business, then went to work in sales for Playtex International Inc. In 1997, after working for an advertising agency, Ms. Rogers took her career in a different direction and became membership director for the American Foundation for Urologic Disease.

“I honestly felt like I wanted to work in an capacity where I was contributing to the greater good,” she said.

In 2003, she took a job as director of communications and marketing for the Endocrine Society, a professional society of doctors, researchers and industry officials.

Now, Ms. Rogers is focusing her nonprofit work on diabetes, with which her father lives every day. “It felt like a natural fit,” she said.

Ms. Rogers, 49, lives in Monkton, Md., with her son, William, 18, and daughter, Leigh, 21.

—Marie Tyler

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