I decided to become a pediatric endocrinologist after working at a diabetes camp for youth as a first-year pediatrics resident. Diabetes has so many moving parts and can be a burden to children. Watching the kids take all of it on with such spirit is inspiring. Treating diabetes is a wonderful mix of science and technology, gut feelings, psychology and communication. It’s never boring, and it is rewarding for me.
My patients are children with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and those with early-onset or severe obesity. There is no "one size fits all" with these chronic diseases. My goal is to provide individualized care that meets the patient and families where they are and helps guide the patient to the best state of health possible.
As my career grew, I became equally passionate about working with children who develop obesity early in life. Much like diabetes, obesity has many components and requires thinking outside of the box to look at the whole picture — genes and environment — to provide the best care and guidance for the patient.
In addition to caring for patients, I’m also involved in research. I believe that we need to tackle obesity much earlier in life than we have in the past. Food preferences and eating behaviors that are formed in early childhood can be carried forward throughout the child’s life. Furthermore, recognizing a high genetic risk for obesity is important so we can develop specific intervention strategies and medications to prevent obesity-related disease. The overall goal of my research is to prevent a lifetime of obesity by studying the youngest children at risk.
In my free time, I love to walk, hike and read fiction. My dad was a big outdoorsman and my mom was a librarian. I am a happy mix of the two.
Factors contributing to early-onset obesity; celiac disease in patients with type 1 diabetes; type 2 diabetes
Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Endocrinology, Diabetes, Obesity Prevention