Diabetes Researcher Receives National Recognition

October 04, 2016

For Advanced Diabetes Research by the American Diabetes Association

Dr. Karen Elkind-Hirsch of Woman’s Hospital was a presenter at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) 76th Annual Scientific Sessions in New Orleans on June 10-14. More than 15,000 of the world’s top physicians, scientists and healthcare professionals gathered as breakthrough research, treatment recommendations and advances toward a cure for diabetes were unveiled. 

As a dual presenter, Dr. Elkind-Hirsch spoke about on a recently completed trial in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) with impaired glucose regulation who are at significant risk for type 2 diabetes. In addition, a poster presentation focused on using diabetes drugs to prevent type 2 diabetes in women with a recent history of gestational diabetes and increased postpartum weight. She currently serves as the Scientific Director of Woman’s Metabolic Health Clinic and Health Research and is partnered with Dr. Martha Paterson, who serves as the Medical Director.

Dr. Elkind-Hirsh’s work at Woman’s focuses on diabetes prevention by determining the most effective medications in differing populations, such as women with previous gestational diabetes or PCOS. “The unique aspect of this work is that we are looking to see which approved diabetes medications can help prevent the progression to diabetes in high risk populations, and to see if newer medications are more effective,” she said. The ADA estimates that medical costs associated with diabetes reaches more than $176 billion annually, which increases to nearly $245 billion if gestational diabetes, pre-diabetes and undiagnosed diabetes are included.

Diabetes remains a major health concern and is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. with nearly 30 million Americans affected.