About This Program

Overview

The team of diabetes specialists includes pediatric endocrine and diabetes physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, dieticians and social workers, all with years of experience working with children and adolescents with diabetes. Our nurses and nurse practitioners are Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs), just one indication of their commitment to high quality care. The education program is certified by the American Diabetes Association. We provide coordinated outpatient care from diagnosis through chronic management. We are a leading center for outpatient management of newly diagnosed diabetes.

Multidisciplinary Pediatric Diabetes Clinic

Our multidisciplinary pediatric diabetes clinic opened its doors in September of 2017. In this clinic, the only one of its kind in the Boston area, patients and their families meet with a certified diabetes educator, nutritionist, child psychologist and pediatric endocrinologist over the course of a single two-hour visit. Each specialist supports and advises children and families regarding a different facet of diabetes care. We also offer the option to schedule a pediatric ophthalmology appointment on the same day as the visit for patients and families who are interested. Every child seen at MGHfC is offered the opportunity to be seen in this clinic at least once per year.

Type 1 Diabetes

Of the hundreds of adolescents and children with diabetes for whom we provide specialty care, half receive their daily insulin needs via insulin pump, which permits a high degree of flexibility but which also mandates intensive monitoring. Many young people also use a continuous glucose monitoring system. The insulin pump is not the best choice of all children with type 1 diabetes. However, our commitment to every family is the same: to achieve the best level of blood sugar control possible for each child we follow.

Children with type 1 diabetes may have other disorders including thyroid disease and celiac disease. Our endocrinology, gastroenterology and nutrition staff work together to integrate the management of these disorders. Our commitment to diabetes care also extends to the laboratory, where members of the pediatric endocrinology group are working to determine the protein factors in cells that control the development of the insulin producing beta cell with the aim of developing a means to reproduce beta cell function. We also collaborate with the diabetes immunology laboratory on clinical and laboratory studies to understand the cause of type 1 diabetes and its treatment. We are involved in international collaborative treatment studies to prolong the remission phase of type 1 diabetes, and we are working with bioengineers who are developing a "closed loop" system to measure blood sugar and replace insulin as it is needed.

Type 2 Diabetes

We have the same commitment to personalized, multidisciplinary care of patients with type 2 diabetes, which is increasingly common among children and adolescents. We work with our Pediatric Weight Center to help children with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome achieve optimal health.

One reflection of that commitment is our active involvement in a nationwide research program designed to optimize care of young patients with this disorder (read about the TODAY Study).

Patient Resources

General diabetes information

Insulin and other medications

Diet and exercise

Tests and procedures

Meet the Team

The team of diabetes specialists includes pediatric endocrine and diabetes physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, dieticians and social workers, all with years of experience working with children and adolescents with diabetes.

Fellows

  • Jonanlis Ramirez Alcantra, MD
  • Aluma Chovel Sella, MD
  • Luz Elena Castellanos, MD
  • Liya Kerem, MD
  • Marwa Tuffaha, MD

Psychology Fellow

  • Maria Theodorakakis, MA

Psychologist

  • Ellen H. O'Donnell, PhD

Certified Diabetes Educators

  • Leah Berthold, RN, CDE
  • Diana Buckley-Uhrich, RN, CDE
  • Kelly Cutillo, RN, CDE
  • Eileen Galvin, RN, CDE

Nurse Practitioner

  • Diana Uhrich, NP

Registered Nurse

  • Shannon Maguire Lessard, RN

Nutritionists

  • Lois Kiley, MS, RD
  • Lisa Keovongsa, RD

Social Worker

  • Mary Bennett, LICSW

Diabetes Clinic Coordinator

  • Blanka Travar

Medical Assistants

  • Stephanie Anastal
  • Nicole Mizzoni

Staff Assistant

  • Nancy Radford

Front Desk Staff

  • Patricia Ryan
  • Jennifer M. Bean