The Diabetes National Institute is first and foremost a growing campaign against diabetes and a community effort to enrich the lives of people with diabetes. We believe that every person with diabetes deserves to live a healthy life, full of promise.


Established in 1999, the Diabetes National Institute is a publicly funded 501(c)3 organization. Our aim is to provide free services and create a warm and supportive atmosphere where people with diabetes, their families, and the public can engage, learn, and build a greater understanding of diabetes.


Our hope is that this website will serve as a tool for you to:

  1. Learn about the latest research and findings on type 1 diabetes
  2. Connect with other people with diabetes via our events and programs
  3. Support the growing campaign to find a cure
  4. Support grants to educate children with diabetes
  5. Support youth groups and family support groups


Meet Our Team

Susan Hoechstetter, President
Susan Hoechstetter is a longtime advocate and training and technical assistance provider for nonprofit organizations. She led health and mental health policy advocacy work at the National Association of Social Workers in Washington, D.C., for 13 years, and is delighted to be part of DNI’s efforts to combat diabetes.

Marie Hellinger, Secretary

Marie Hellinger, MSW, LICSW is a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst practicing in Washington, D.C. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and earned her Masters Degree in Social work at Howard University. Her psychotherapy practice includes treating patients with chronic illnesses, including Diabetes. Previous Board experience includes serving as Director of Training at the Institute of Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis in Washington, D.C. 

Gene Willhoft, Board Member

Gene Willhoft is the Founder and President of Absolute Media Inc., a company specializing in marketing, media and mass communications headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. Mr. Willhoft started the company in 1994. He has crafted successful communication strategies for many blue chip companies, including UnitedHealthcare, Englewood Hospital, FedEx, American Eagle Outfitters, Cuisinart, Victorinox Swiss Army, BIC Corporation and Range Rover.


As a DNI board member, Mr. Willhoft is excited to apply his experience to raising awareness of DNI among Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics as well as the diabetes support community and potential donors.

Joe Hellinger, Board Treasurer

Joe Hellinger is a 15-year veteran of commercial banking. He has served on the boards of several nonprofits, including Rotary, Communities in Schools, and United Way. As a type 1 diabetic, DNI is close to his heart. He lives in High point, NC, with his wife and two children.

Diabetes National Institute is a campaign against diabetes and a community effort to enrich the lives of people with diabetes. Learn about our mission.


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