Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Names Director of Diabetes and Obesity Program

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Names Director of Diabetes and Obesity Program

<0> Children's Hospital Los AngelesMedia Contact: Ellin KavanaghOffice: (323) 361-8505E-mail: </0>

, has accepted the position as Director of the new Diabetes and Obesity Program at .

“With Dr. Mittelman spearheading this important interdisciplinary program, Children’s Hospital and The Saban Research Institute will take a leadership position in conducting innovative research and delivering comprehensive clinical care in this most important area,” says Richard D. Cordova, FACHE, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

The Diabetes and Obesity Program has evolved in response to the huge burden that childhood obesity places on our patients and the community and represents an alignment of our clinical and research programs. The research program will focus on building laboratory-based, translational and clinical research at The Saban Research Institute, by recruiting new faculty (including recent recruits Lily Chao, MD, and Senta Georgia, PhD), expanding core infrastructure and enhancing interaction between scientists and clinicians whose work is relevant to diabetes and obesity.

“As we face a worldwide obesity crisis and all the resulting medical conditions that will affect children and adolescents, and the adults they will become, we must challenge ourselves as a pediatric institution to bring the best minds to bear on this most critical issue,” says , director of The Saban Research Institute. “Steve Mittelman’s demonstrated ability to both lead and collaborate in addition to his research and clinical expertise make him the right person to direct this truly vital program.”

Clinical activities will include the establishment of a multidisciplinary obesity clinic, which will be managed by Claudia Borzutzky, MD, from Adolescent Medicine, and will involve collaboration with caregivers from several divisions and departments. There are also plans to expand the Kids N Fitness lifestyle intervention program to a younger age group and to explore the development of a bariatric surgery program. Community outreach will focus on opportunities to treat and prevent obesity and diabetes in underserved communities, such as South and East Los Angeles, in close collaboration with Ellen Iverson, MPH, and Valerie Ruelas, LCSW, co-directors of the Community Diabetes Initiative. Mittelman will work with these and other colleagues to educate our patients and community on a healthy lifestyle through the media, at community events and in our own hospital.

Mittelman leads an active laboratory research program focused on the relationship between obesity and acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and is an associate professor of Pediatrics and Physiology and Biophysics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. He is director of the Donnell Society for Pediatric Scientists in addition to serving as fellowship director and attending physician in the .

His lab is currently investigating how fat tissue attracts leukemia cells and absorbs some chemotherapeutic drugs making them unable to reach the leukemia cells. He is also working to determine how fat tissue produces fuel, such as amino acids and fatty acids, that help leukemia cells survive and how it secretes substances that signal the leukemia cells, making them better able to resist chemotherapy. In addition, Mittelman is studying how body weight and other nutritional factors like vitamin D might impact patients with leukemia both before and after treatment.

Mittelman has authored 38 peer-reviewed scientific articles and six scholarly books, monographs and reviews. In addition to lecturing both nationally and internationally on the relationship between obesity and cancer, Mittelman frequently speaks to the media on this topic, and has been featured in prominent media outlets, including the “Dr. Phil Show,” “Good Day LA” and “NBC News.”

Children's Hospital Los Angeles has been named the best children’s hospital in California and among the top five in the nation for clinical excellence with its selection to the prestigious US News & World Report Honor Roll. Children’s Hospital is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States, is one of America's premier teaching hospitals and has been affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California since 1932.

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