Melanie Horstmann, MS, RD, LDN, CDE
Director of Nutrition Services
SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital
Melanie Horstmann, MS, RD, LDN, CDE, is the director of Nutrition Services at SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon. She is a certified diabetes educator, registered dietitian and certified insulin pump trainer for Medtronic. In her role as director of Nutrition Services, she oversees diabetes self-management programs at three sites within SSM Health. Melanie received her bachelor’s in dietetics from Fontbonne University in St. Louis and her master’s in dietetics from Eastern Illinois University.
Maria D. Oquendo-Scharneck
Health Education Program Manager
Maria Oquendo-Scharneck joined AgeOptions, the area agency on aging serving suburban Cook County, in September 2005. She is a health education program manager and has a certificate of gerontology from Oakton Community College. Maria has over 20 years of experience in aging services. Her background extends from senior housing management to programming aimed at isolated, elderly residents throughout Chicago, as well as health promotion for diverse older adults.
She is the chair of the Network on Multicultural Aging and a graduate of the American Society on Aging New Ventures in Leadership, a national leadership program for minority individuals in aging. Maria has been the regional coordinator for the Take Charge of Your Health programs at AgeOptions. She apprenticed at Stanford University as a T-Trainer in the Chronic Disease and Diabetes Self-Management Program. Maria is a Master Trainer in the culturally adapted Spanish programs Tomando Control de su Salud and Manejo Personal de Diabetes.
She currently represents AgeOptions as a member of the Cook County Department of Public Health’s Alliance for Health and Active Communities Strategy and Support Team. Maria is a member of the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity Clinical Workgroup.
Merle Shapera, MS, RD, LDN, CDE
Diabetes Program Specialist
Merle Shapera, MS, RD, CDE, LDN, is the diabetes program specialist for the Telligen Quality Improvement Network. She specialized in diabetes education after completing her master’s degree in nutrition and medical dietetics. She has coordinated programming at diabetes education centers; written class curricula in diabetes self-management, and nutrition and weight management; and trained dietitians, nurses and physicians in diabetes self-management and conducting diabetes group visits.
For the past two and a half years, Merle has worked on the “Everyone with Diabetes Counts” Task in Illinois, facilitating classes for seniors in areas of great health disparity in Chicago. She also trains lay leaders and health professionals to become certified as diabetes peer educators to help improve the health of current and future populations of seniors with diabetes and pre-diabetes throughout Illinois.