Why I chose endocrinology
My undergraduate studies at Western University were in applied mathematics. The physiology of endocrinology and the numbers in diabetes in particular, probably appealed to me. The direction of my career was shaped by my early participation in the DCCT clinical trial in the early 1980s. This was the first large clinical trial in Type 1 diabetes. Over the course of the next 30 years I have had the opportunity to participate in a number of large clinical trials and that has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of my career. All of my work with Type 1 diabetes has illustrated how patients with Type 1 diabetes have to work hard on a daily basis to manage their disease. I have a lot of respect and admiration for these patients.
For the last 13 years, it’s been my pleasure to be the Medical Director for St Joseph’s Diabetes Education Centre. During my career, I have had the pleasure of working with the Diabetes Education Centre not only in Canada but also in the United States during my residency training. I value the contribution that these professionals make in the care of patients with diabetes.
We are blessed in London that the Diabetes Education Centre has been a model not only for our region, but across the country. We provide leadership for smaller communities as well as the community-based diabetes education professionals in the London area. We are a large insulin pump centre. Sixteen per cent of patients who go on a pump in the province of Ontario are started at St Joseph’s. We established a teaching binder for our pump patients that has now been used at sites across Canada.
The standard of care is often influenced by the research that has gone before. In the late 1970’s, Dr. John Dupré at University Hospital and Dr. Wilson Rodger at St. Joseph’s, were responsible for using an insulin pump for the first time in North America. Dr. David Hill, Scientific Director at the Lawson Health Research Institute, has contributed to our understanding of beta-cell function in diabetes. London is also unique across the country in that we are fortunate to have Dr. Stewart Harris who holds the Canadian Diabetes Association Chair in National Diabetes Strategy.
So we have many accomplished researchers who contribute to the knowledge and the Diabetes Education Centre has been able to translate that knowledge into an action plan for our patients.
Dr. Irene Hramiak
Chair/Chief, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Western University,
Centre for Diabetes Endocrinology and Metabolism, St. Joseph’s