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William J. Fishlinger Elected Chairman of the Board of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation

Revolutionary public sector financier and philanthropist takes helm of Foundation supporting the cure-focused work of the Diabetes Research Institute

Miami, FL (April 26, 2016) – William J. Fishlinger has been elected Chairman of the National Board of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF). A member of the board since 2008, he formerly served in the position of Treasurer and also chaired the DRIF’s Finance Committee. Fishlinger succeeds Harold G. Doran, Jr., who had served as Chairman since 2011. The DRIF is the independent funding arm of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami, one of the world’s leading type 1 diabetes research facilities.

“My daughter was diagnosed with type 1 at age 6, and both my wife, Joan, and I initially felt the helplessness all parents feel when their child is diagnosed with a critical illness. We searched for doctors and research scientists who were dedicated to a cure. That became the most compelling mission for our family,” said Fishlinger. “We visited the Diabetes Research Institute in Miami and came away convinced that this was the place where we wanted to devote our time, our energy, and our resources. The DRI is the only place of its kind solely focused on finding a biological cure for type 1 diabetes.”

As the founder and former CEO and Chairman of The Wright Insurance Group and its subsidiary companies, Fishlinger is well-positioned to move the DRIF forward. He is one of the leading entrepreneurs in the insurance industry, having created Wright Risk Management (WRM) and seen it through to consolidation with Brown and Brown in one of the industry’s largest transactions of 2014. Fishlinger’s work has earned him recognition as one of the most knowledgeable experts in the financing of public sector risk. A graduate of the University of Maryland and St. John’s University School of Law who also served with the US Air Force, Fishlinger is Chairman and CEO of Gramercy Risk Holdings, LLC, a company he created that provides financial, operational, and legal resources for both domestic and foreign property and casualty insurance entities across the country.

Fishlinger and his family have been deeply involved with not-for-profit organizations that support the educational needs of young people. He is a Trustee of the College of Mt. St. Vincent and chairs the Board of Advisors for the Fishlinger Center for Public Policy. Together with his wife, Joan, the Fishlingers founded the Future Leadership Foundation, whose mission is to help young people hurdle health and education obstacles that block their paths to becoming future leaders. Today, they are also involved in the Fishlinger Family Foundation that has a similar mission. The family has been honored by many organizations, including the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, to which they have been longstanding contributors. 

“Bill Fishlinger is a determined and respected leader within the insurance industry, and he brings that same drive and determination to our organization. We are extremely fortunate to have him serve as Chairman of the National Board,” stated Joshua W. Rednik, President and CEO of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation. “Finding a cure for his daughter is his personal mission, and I know that Bill cannot be deterred from reaching that final goal.”

“I am deeply moved by the confidence the leadership of the DRIF has put in me and by the leadership of my predecessor, Harold Doran. I believe the DRI is positioned to take advantage of the incremental advancements made in finding a biological cure for this illness and understand the unique position we are in to participate in what I would consider the greatest of all goals…to find a cure for this major illness, for my daughter, and for the millions of others affected by it. That is my goal,” said Fishlinger.

The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is the largest and most comprehensive research center dedicated to curing diabetes. A pioneer in islet cell transplantation, the DRI is building upon these promising outcomes in a concerted effort to find a biological cure for diabetes. 
For those interested in learning more about the work of the Diabetes Research Institute and Foundation, call 1-800-321-3437 or visit DiabetesResearch.org.

About the Diabetes Research Institute and Foundation 

The mission of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation is to provide the Diabetes Research Institute with the funding necessary to cure diabetes now. The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine leads the world in cure-focused research. As the largest and most comprehensive research center dedicated to curing diabetes, the DRI is aggressively working to develop a biological cure by restoring natural insulin production and normalizing blood sugar levels without imposing other risks. Researchers have already shown that transplanted islet cells allow patients to live without the need for insulin therapy. Some study participants have maintained insulin independence for more than 10 years. The DRI is now building upon these promising outcomes by developing a DRI BioHub, a bioengineered “mini organ” that mimics the native pancreas. While various BioHub platforms are being tested in preclinical and clinical studies, the DRI is also developing strategies to eliminate the need for anti-rejection drugs and reset the immune system to block autoimmunity. For more information, please visit DiabetesResearch.org, call 800-321-3437, or Tweet @Diabetes_DRI.
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