The number of children affected with diabetes in the US has grown significantly over the last decade, with risk of serious implications for their long term health. At Children’s National, we have created one of the nation’s leading programs to treat and support kids with diabetes. We want our patients to live long and happy lives without complication, so we focus on helping them and their families learn how to successfully manage their condition.
Diabetes Care at Children’s National: Why Choose Us?
Children’s National is home to the largest pediatric diabetes program in the Mid-Atlantic region, providing care for children and young adults from Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. We treat children and adolescents (up to age 22) with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, with approximately 1,800 patient visits annually.
The Child and Adolescent Diabetes Program is directed by Fran Cogen, M.D., a board certified pediatric diabetologist who is nationally recognized for her leadership in advocating for children and families living with diabetes. Dr. Cogen has been an innovator in the use of telemedicine to ensure that patients have regular appointments and education, eliminating travel time and making visits convenient for families no matter where they live.
Learn more about Dr. Cogen and our Diabetes team
Educating both patients and families about diabetes treatment and disease management is critical to our approach, and we are an American Diabetes Association (ADA)-recognized education provider. Our multidisciplinary care team includes eight pediatric physicians, three Nurse practitioners, as well as seven certified diabetes educators (CDE) dietitians, a psychologist, two dedicated social workers and a physical therapist who supervises the exercise facility in the Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex. The most important members of the care team — patients and parents — work with us to identify healthy habits and behaviors that enable you and your child to successfully manage this chronic disease.
We also work closely with a Diabetes Program Advisory Committee, composed of family members and community stakeholders. The Advisory Committee meets annually to evaluate and recommend family-centered initiatives for the program.
The Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex is a highlight of our care delivery. The complex allows Children’s National to provide quality diabetes care through state-of-the-art outpatient treatment rooms and an education center, where families can participate in simulation labs to learn about proper nutrition and physical exercise — keys to successful diabetes management. The complex was made possible through a partnership with the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation.
Physical and Mental Health Awareness for Diabetes Patients
At Children’s National Health System, our multidisciplinary care teams partner together to help children with chronic health conditions like diabetes. Children with diabetes are often at greater risk for anxiety and depression, so it’s important to provide the appropriate mental health support in addition to treating the physical condition. Watch to learnmore about our diabetes support program.
Understanding Your Child’s Diabetes
Children are affected by two different forms of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. In both types, the body has difficulty properly metabolizing carbohydrate foods because of a lack of insulin or a resistance to insulin. However, the causes for each type are not the same and treatment programs can include different therapies and recommendations.
Type 1 diabetes affects approximately 1 in 300-400 children in the US and it is one of the most common chronic illnesses of childhood. Type 1 diabetes affects a child’s immune system by interfering with the insulin producing cells in the pancreas, resulting in insufficient insulin for normal carbohydrate metabolism. Because there is a genetic cause, Type 1 diabetes often runs in families. When a child is diagnosed, it’s important to monitor and determine the risk of disease in brothers and sisters. However, with good health behaviors and medication if needed, most cases of Type 1 diabetes can be managed to allow children to have a normal, active childhood.
Type 2 diabetes is much more common among adults, but the number of children affected is increasing rapidly, as this form of diabetes is associated with obesity. However, there may be other causes for this disease, in which the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or become resistant to insulin. Care programs are personalized to each patient and may include weight management as well as education and medication.
Diabetes Education for Patients and Families
In addition to regular meetings with a physician, an intensive and comprehensive education program teaches you and your child how to control diabetes.
At Children’s National, our education program provides:
- Instruction on insulin administration, blood glucose monitoring, medical nutrition therapy, exercise and coping skills
- Daily phone reminders for new patients to adjust insulin doses
- Guidance on the use of continuous glucose monitoring technology
- Intensive management training, including basal-bolus treatment using injected insulin and insulin pump therapy
- Psychology intervention for behavior and coping issues
- Individual face-to-face educational sessions with a Spanish interpreter
Resources for Teens
- DiabeTeens.com: Fran Cogen, M.D., the program director, is a featured blogger for this website, which hosts a blog specifically for teenagers living with diabetes.
- Diabetes Team E-Newsletter: For more information on diabetes, sign up to receive our Diabetes Team E-Newsletter, which provides helpful information for patients with diabetes. It is published 4 times/year.
Planning Your Visit
To make an appointment with our care team, call 202-476-3440. Be sure to bring your completed school form to your clinic visit.