Patient Choice Award Recipients

We are pleased to report that 6 of the pediatric endocrinology physicians in our division have received Patient Choice Awards. These awards are given out by UI Health Care to recognize physicians for consistently providing patients with an excellent healthcare experience. The recipient physicians were:

  • Lauren Kanner
  • Katie Larson Ode
  • Liuska Pesce
  • Catherina Pinnaro
  • Mike Tansey
  • Eva Tsalikian

The Award was given to only 156 providers across the entire institution. The Award recognizes those who scored in the top 10% nationally in response to patient surveys asking whether the physician showed concern for patient questions or worries, gave explanations about problem or condition, made efforts to include the patient in care decisions, discussed proposed treatments (options, risks, benefits, etc), and whether they would be likely to recommend the care provider to others. Our division is fortunate to have these Award winning physicians on our team. We thank each of them for their wonderful work. Find more about the awards at this link.

Dr. Pesce and the University of Iowa Pediatric Thyroid Clinic join the Child and Adolescent Thyroid Consortium (CATC)

Dr. Pesce

Infants, children and adolescents sometimes suffer from a wide range of thyroid disorders. Examples of thyroid conditions experienced by children include hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels), hyperthyroidism (elevated thyroid hormone levels), goiter (enlarged thyroid), thyroid nodules (growths on the thyroid) and thyroid cancer. Pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Liuska Pesce has devoted her career to the treatment of children with these conditions. She has developed a national reputation as a caring and adept physician for pediatric thyroid care. To help develop even better treatments for thyroid conditions, she has now joined a collaborative effort of the leading pediatric thyroid groups across the country. The collaboration is called the Child and Adolescent Thyroid Consortium (CATC). The consortium has the goal of improving knowledge of thyroid disease and identifying ways to improve thyroid disease care for children and adolescents. The consortium member centers include the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Boston Children’s Hospital, Yale University, MD Anderson, and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, all leading institutions. Congratulations to Dr. Pesce for joining this rarefied group and we wish them success in their quest for better treatments.

Dr. Pesce Appointed to the American Thyroid Association’s Board of Directors

Dr. Pesce

The American Thyroid Association (ATA; link) is arguably the leading organization worldwide dedicated to advancing care of persons with thyroid disorders through research, education, and promotion of clinical excellence. Dr. Liuska Pesce, of the pediatric endocrinologists in our division, has now been named to the ATA’s Board of Directors. As such, she will serve to help guide the ATA as they seek to improve thyroid care. Dr. Pesce has long-standing expertise in thyroid disorders and their treatment. She trained in part under the mentorship renowned thyroid-researcher Peter Kopp. Dr. Pesce joined the faculty at the University of Iowa Stead Family Department of Pediatrics in 2008. Here, she has established herself a leading expert in treatment of pediatric thyroid disorders including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid hormone resistance, and thyroid cancers. We are enthused that she will share her expertise with the ATA.

Center of Excellence for Care of Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma.

Dr. Pesce

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has been designated a Center of Excellence for Care of patients with Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma. There are only 6 such other centers across the United States. The designation comes from the Pheo Para Alliance, which is a leader in advocacy regarding patients with pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma. Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas are neuroendocrine tumors that secrete adrenaline-like hormones. The tumors can usually be successfully treated, but require careful expert care to avoid severe complications. Our center of excellence represents a multidisciplinary collaboration between pediatric endocrinology, adult endocrinology, oncologists, surgical specialists, and clinical genetics. A special thanks to Dr. Liuska Pesce, who is the pediatric endocrinologist for the Center. To learn more, visit the centers webportal.

Dr. Pesce Promoted to Full Professor

Dr. Pesce

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Liuska Pesce for her well earned promotion to full professor!! In brief, Dr. Pesce has been promoted in recognition of her being a master clinician, an award-winning teacher, a highly compassionate physician, and a nationally recognized leader in the treatment of thyroid disorders in children. She joined the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in 2008. As a trainee, she performed cutting-edge research leading to several publications in the area of molecular transport in thyroid cells. Although she could have joined the faculty on the tenure track, she instead felt that her calling was clinical care. Her clinical expertise and thoughtfulness is cherished by her peer faculty, who often seek out her clinical opinion. Her patients satisfaction ratings are superlative and among the very top tier at the entire institution. In this area of medicine, Dr. Pesce has gained national recognition and prominence. She, with other members of her pediatric thyroid clinic team, have published several peer reviewed research articles. She, with colleagues at other institutions, has published opinion pieces related to thyroid care, as well as related national teaching modules. She also has published numerous opinion pieces in Clinical Thyroidology for the Public. She has been invited to give lectures on pediatric thyroid disease at national conferences for the past several years. Also in recognition of her expertise, she has been named to the American Thyroid Association Patient Affairs & Education national Committee. Once again, congratulations Dr. Pesce!

The Importance of Newborn Screening for Congenital Hypothyroidism

Dr. Pesce

For the past several decades, infants born in the USA are screened for congenital hypothyroidism. Like many beneficial programs, it is human nature to take the importance of this screening for granted. Dr. Pesce has just published an opinion piece that helps bring home the importance of newborn screening for congenital hypothyroidism. In this piece, she reflects on a child with congenital hypothyroidism who asks “what would have happened if I had not been screened?” Dr. Pesce then reflects on the consequences of untreated congenital hypothyroidism, including impaired mental development and impaired growth. She also notes how diagnosis of congenital hypothyroidism is typically delayed in the absence of screening. You can find her informative blog piece here.

Thyroid Eye Disease can Accompany Hypothyroidism

We most commonly associate thyroid eye disease as occurring in the context of Graves disease. However, the same immunologic processes that drive Graves thyroid eye disease can also occur in the context of hypothyroidism. Dr. Alex Tuttle woudl have just presented such a case this weekend at the annual Pediatric Endocrine Society meeting originally planned to occur in Texas. His presentation was entitled: “Active Thyroid Eye Disease in a Pediatric Patient with Hypothyroidism”. This serves as a reminder that it is important for even otherwise routine cases of hypothyroidism to receive expert care. Dr. Tuttle is completing his pediatric residency at the University of Iowa this year. We are thrilled that on July 1 he will join our division as a pediatric endocrine fellow. On this case report, he was mentored by pediatric thyroid expert Dr. Liuska Pesce.

Dr. Pesce to Lead National Endocrine Learning Committee

Dr. Pesce

We are pleased to report that Dr. Liuska Pesce, one of our pediatric endocrine faculty, has been selected to co-chair & then chair the Pediatric Endocrinology Self-assessment Program for the Endocrine Society in 2020 & 2021. As part of this group, she helped publish Pediatric ESAP 2019-2020, ESAP Special Edition: Historical Perspectives for Today’s Clinician, and Pediatric ESAP 2017-   2018.

Dr. Pesce Serves on National Thyroid Committee

Dr. Pesce

Dr. Pesce is now a member of the American Thyroid Association Patient Affairs & Education Committee . She plans to serve on this committee through fall 2022. We thank her for her service in this area, helping make sure that pediatric thyroid considerations are well represented at the national level. Back here in Iowa, Dr. Pesce is the Director of the Pediatric Thyroid Clinic at the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, where she provides expert care for children and adolescents with thyroid conditions including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism including Graves Disease, thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer.

Everything but Everydayness…

Dr. Pesce

Dr. Pesce has authored a powerful opinion piece entitled “Everything but Everydayness” about the joy of being a pediatric endocrinologist. In an almost poetic way, she describes the many scenarios in which a pediatric endocrinologist can make a significant difference in the health and well-being of a child. Find the piece here (link note this is not a permanent link) , on page 10 (12th page of PDF) of the Feb 2018 issue of Endocrine News .