The division’s major goal over the next five years is to build a pediatric diabetes center in San Diego. The aim is to bring clinicians and researchers together under one roof, creating an environment that allows novel interventions developed in the laboratory to be quickly translated into clinical practice.
Currently in San Diego, the clinical and research components of this initiative are geographically dispersed among multiple institutions, including UCSD, Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, the Whittier Institute, the La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology and the Sanford-Burnham Institute. Merging these independent programs into a single center would create a long-needed, comprehensive program on par with the leading pediatric diabetes centers in the country. Support for training will allow expansion to the UCSD Pediatric Endocrinology Fellowship program to be very competitive in recruiting talented individuals specifically focused on diabetes research.
The research focus will be on islet cell regeneration, including stem cell initiatives, immune-based interventions in recent onset of type 1 diabetes mellitus, and crucial collaborations that interlace biological approaches to devise new avenues to treat and prevent type 1 diabetes mellitus. Clinically, the diabetes center would conceptually simulate a medical home for diabetes; physically, it would provide a home-like environment that would include a teaching kitchen, playroom, media room and library. Because an individual’s physical environment has an enormous impact on perceptions and overall feelings of well-being, creating a home environment provides a better interface with the child/adolescent, family, and diabetes healthcare team.
The Department of Pediatrics and RCHSD are currently planning for the construction of a clinical research center on the hospital campus, focusing on five areas of pediatric health, including obesity/diabetes. In collaboration with the Gastroenterology Division, the Endocrinology Division is creating a clinical research program for obesity and related consequences, directed toward prevention and treatment of obesity, insulin resistance, fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome and dyslipidemia. The program will also include a multidisciplinary clinical program and, by working with the Center for Healthier Communities,