Diabetes is one of the most common, chronic incurable diseases of childhood. Statistics indicate that the number of new cases of childhood diabetes per year exceeds the annual number of new cases of cancer in children. Most children and adolescents with diabetes require daily treatment with injected insulin for their very survival. Research has shown that keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible can help prevent long term complications of diabetes such as eye, kidney and nerve damage as well as cardiovascular disease. However achieving ideal control of diabetes in childhood is challenging and can be frustrating for patients and their families. The mission of the Louisiana Children’s Diabetes Center is to help our patients achieve optimal management of diabetes while they participate fully in normal activities of childhood and adolescence. Our dedicated team strives to formulate a customized diabetes management program for specific and changing needs of each patient and family.
Our Multidisciplinary Team
To achieve this goal we have assembled an experienced and dedicated staff of professionals knowledgeable in the care of childhood and adolescent diabetes.
Pediatric Diabetes Nurse Educators/Coordinators
Monique Standrige RN, CDE
Marcella Gioe RN, CDE
Lindsey Hebert RN, CDE
The goal of our diabetes nurse educators is to promote age appropriate self management skills for each patient under the guidance of their parents and family which will lead to excellent long term health. Our full time diabetes nurse educators/coordinators are all Bachelors prepared nurses and Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE). They have all achieved recognition of their skills by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE). Together, the nursing team has over 20 years of direct experience in care of children with diabetes. Our nurses work directly with the patients and their family from initial diagnosis through early adulthood. They coordinate care and ongoing education and support for management of diabetes at home, school and other community environments. The nurses also help with changes/adjustments in management between clinic visits needed to maintain optimal glucose control, as well as helping patients with "sick day” management guidance. Our nursing team includes an insulin pump certified trainer as well as outreach/liaison to assist in various aspects of diabetes management at home, school and other community activities.
Pediatric Diabetes Nutrition
Charlotte Werhan, RD, LDN
The goal of nutrition management is to help each child achieve and maintain normal or as close to normal blood glucose levels in order to reduce the risk of complications that arise from diabetes such as cardiovascular disease, neuropathy, nephropathy, hypertension, retinopathy, and amputations. The management approach also focuses on achieving normal blood pressure and lipid levels (total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and TG) through modifications of nutrient intake and healthy lifestyle changes. To achieve these goals, the dietitian works with the patient as a team member to address the individuals nutrition needs, while taking into account personal preferences, all while maintaining the pleasure of eating by only limiting certain food choices
Pediatric Diabetes Psychology Support
Dr. Diane Franz, Director
The Psychology component of the Diabetes Center is centered on providing behavioral and psychological support and intervention to families of our patients with diabetes. Patients and their families are initially met and evaluated upon diagnosis of diabetes. We help with supporting the family in learning how to maintain long term consistency in managing diabetes that leads to good health in the face of this chronic illness.
Special attention is given to patients and their families who have difficulty with following the long term treatment regimen, coping with the psychological and emotional consequences of a chronic illness across the developmental period of childhood and adolescence. We also provide additional assistance to children with underlying and treatment of psychological conditions, such as depression, that may impair adequate care for diabetes. Patients are seen on both an inpatient and outpatient basis.
Patients are also screened by Psychology to determine readiness and ability for success in transition to the insulin pump therapy.
Alex Redfearn LCSW
Anne Vaden LMSW
The social workers provide a wide range of support services for families coping with the diagnosis and long term management of diabetes. We provide links for families to resources in the community which facilitate care of patients with diabetes. This includes liaison with school nurses, help with insurance and financial concerns and assistance in the transition from pediatric care to adult services.
Stuart Chalew, M.D. is section chief of pediatric endocrinology and diabetes at LSUHSC New Orleans and Children’s Hospital New Orleans. He is board certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology. Dr Chalew has been a co-investigator on the DCCT and DPT-1 national studies. He has designed and implemented specialized novel programs for prevention of diabetes complications in Maryland and Louisiana. He has over 30 years experience in care of children with diabetes and endocrine disorders.
Dania Felipe, M.D. is a board certified pediatrician and pediatric endocrinologist engaged full time in outpatient management of children and adolescents with diabetes and general endocrine disorders.
Ricardo Gomez, M.D. is board certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology
Sarah Stender, M.D., CDE is board certified in pediatrics and adolescent medicine. She has a special focus on care of children with diabetes, obesity and eating disorders. She is a certified diabetes educator.
Alfonso Vargas, M.D is board certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology. He is a panel member of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP). He has over 30 years experience in care of children with diabetes and endocrine disorders Pediatric Endocrinology
Pediatric Endocrinology Fellows:
Eileen Baez, M.D.
Liladhar Kashyap, M.D.
Abdulhameed Al-Saheel, M.D.
Our division maintains a fellowship program recognized by the American Board of Pediatrics to train the next generation of pediatric diabetologists. The fellows are all graduate pediatricians with special dedication to the care of children with diabetes.
Parent Liaison Group
Parent support group: Divisional staff is involved with periodic meetings of parents to discuss commonly occurring issues regarding taking care of a child with diabetes.
Back to School: The division conducts an annual program before the beginning of the school year for parents, patients and school nurses focused on care of patients with diabetes in the school environment.
Our program is dedicated to making the latest innovations in prevention, care and treatment of diabetes available to our patients and their families. We are actively involved in a number of innovative research programs to prevent diabetes and its complications. Among the programs is Trail Net - a national program to identify relatives of our patients at high risk of developing diabetes themselves.
Neonatal Diabetes Registry Program
Skin Intrinsic Fluorescence as a Biomarker for Diabetes Complications - study of a non-invasive technology for early identification of individuals prone to diabetes complications.
Urine Angiotensinogen (AGT) as a Biomarker of Early Kidney Disease in Diabetes – study of a non-invasive way to identify patients prone to kidney damage from diabetes
Cardiovascular Complications of diabetes – measures 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure and artery thickness in patients with diabetes to detect early kidney and blood vessel changes due to diabetes
Differences between HbA1c and Directly measured MBG as predictors of diabetes complications
Influence of Cortisol on Metabolic Impact of Type 2 Diabetes – studies the impact of cortisol and other hormones and their link to diabetes in obese children
For more information on ongoing activities at the Diabetes Center, visit our Facebook page.
To find out more about our diabetes program, research projects or to arrange an appointment please call (504) 896-9441.
National Diabetes Education Program