Originally Released: April, 1998
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The University of Maryland Joslin Center for Diabetes, a comprehensive resource for prevention and treatment of diabetes and its complications, is now open at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
The original Joslin Center for Diabetes was founded 100 years ago in Boston by a visionary physician named Elliott Joslin. It is a world-renowned center for clinical care, education and research that recently began developing partnerships with top medical centers across the country. The University of Maryland Medical Center site is the only one in the Maryland-Delaware-Washington region.
The hallmark of the Joslin Center's philosophy is its comprehensive and convenient "one-stop" approach, including educational programs on diabetes management, nutrition, exercise, insulin therapy and self-monitoring of blood glucose. It provides primary diabetes care and a team of specialists for screening, prevention and treatment of diabetic complications. The Center also serves as a referral site for community doctors for the most complicated diabetes cases.
The Joslin programs are designed to help children and adults with diabetes take charge of their own health.
The staff includes five physicians who specialize in diabetes, as well as a dietitian, a nurse practitioner, a nurse educator, an exercise therapist, a podiatrist, an ophthalmologist, a social worker and a psychologist. Other University of Maryland Medical Center specialists, including neurologists, cardiologists and nephrologists, work with the Joslin team to meet the total health care needs of people with diabetes.
In addition, the Center has state-of-the-art diagnostic technology that can take a drop of blood and in seven minutes analyze the past three-month average of a patient's blood sugar.
Six out of every 100 people in Maryland have diabetes (more than 300,000) and of those six, an estimated two of them don't even know it.
Diabetes affects children and adults. It is the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure and it can lead to heart disease, stroke, severe foot problems, nerve damage and amputation. There are 50 new cases of diabetes diagnosed each day in Maryland, leading to 75,000 hospitalizations each year. The Joslin Center's Baltimore location is particularly important because African Americans, and other ethnic groups, are at higher risk.
The Center also offers people with diabetes the opportunity to participate in and benefit from clinical trials to investigate new treatments for diabetes and related complications, and it conducts research on the causes and prevention of the disease.
Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other foods into the energy needed for daily life. Obesity, as well as lack of exercise and a family history of the disease, are risk factors for diabetes. Symptoms include frequent urination, excess thirst, extreme hunger, weight loss, fatigue, irritability, frequent infections, blurred vision, cuts or bruises that are slow to heal and tingling or numbness in the hands or feet.
The director of the new Center is Alan Shuldiner, M.D., a leading researcher who in 1995 discovered one of the first human genes that influence obesity. "Diabetes requires a team approach in which education and patient involvement are key," he says. "Recent studies have demonstrated that complications can be prevented with tight control of blood sugar. We have the tools to determine who is at risk for diabetes. With intensive intervention, including changes in diet and exercise, we can essentially prevent or delay the diabetes."
Dr. Shuldiner is head of the Division of Diabetes, Obesity and Nutrition at the University of Maryland Medical Center and a professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He graduated cum laude from Harvard Medical School and specializes in understanding the role of heredity and genetics in the development of diabetes, insulin resistance and the propensity togain weight. Dr. Shuldiner studies genes for diabetes in African Americans, Mexican Americans, Pima Indians and the Amish of Lancaster County, PA.
"Not only will the Joslin approach enable us to improve the physical and emotional life of diabetic patients and their families, we will also be helping to keep health care costs down by enabling patients to prevent or delay serious complications such as kidney failure and blindness," says University of Maryland Medical System President and Chief Executive Officer Morton I. Rapoport, M.D. About $92 billion is spent each year on diabetes care nationally.
"The combination of the University of Maryland Medical Center's reputation for overall excellence and its national leadership in kidney and pancreas transplantation made it the best choice for a Joslin affiliate," says John W. Hare, M.D., director of the Joslin Affiliated Centers Program in Boston. "These qualities and Joslin's expertise enable the University of Maryland Medical Center to provide a comprehensive program that is a high-quality resource for physicians and for people with diabetes."
The Joslin Center is at the University of Maryland Medical Center, 22 S. Greene Street, in Baltimore. For more information call 1-888-JOSLIN-8 or visit the website at www.umm.edu/joslindiabetes.
For patient inquiries, call 1-800-492-5538 or click here to make an appointment.