Diabetes Camp Herkto Hollow Reopens!

Some of the volunteer staff at Camp Herkto Hollow, Kids Week 2022, including those from our Division: Dr. Tansey (far left), Dr. Pinnaro (2nd from right), Dr. Parra Villasmil (far right).

Diabetes Camps are a summer highlight for many kids who have diabetes. Camp represents a chance to have non-stop outdoor fun, make new friends who understand what it is like to have diabetes and learn more about diabetes self-care, all while under the watchful eye of diabetes-knowledgeable camp counselors and staff. Several of the staff in our Division help support Camp Hertko Hollow (click for link), a diabetes camp in central Iowa with access to 400 acres of forest / outdoor recreation space. Dr. Pinnaro and Dr. Tansey serve to provide medical direction for the camp, and diabetes nurse Susan Huff has long volunteered to support the camp. Unfortunately, Camp Hertko Hollow, like most diabetes camps across the country, closed in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID pandemic. This year, Drs. Pinnaro and Tansey were determined to help Camp Hertko Hollow reopen despite the challenges of ongoing COVID transmission. We are pleased to report that their efforts are paying off. Kids Week (ages 8-12) is off to a great start June 26-July 2, and Teen Week (ages 13-17) will run July 3-9. Also see the Camp website (link above) for details about Mini Camp and Family Camp opportunities. The doctors and nurses from our Division who have volunteered their time in camp this week and/or next week include: Dr. Pinnaro, Dr. Tansey, Dr. Parra Villasmil, Dr. Tuttle, Dr. Palmer, and nurse Sue Huff.

“Our first year back at camp Hertko has been a great one. I’m so grateful to our dedicated and flexible volunteers who adapted to swiftly to our Covid-related protocols.”

Dr. Catherina Pinnaro

Creating Resources to Teach Diabetes Inpatient Management

Dr. Tuttle

Proper blood sugar management of hospitalized children with type 1 diabetes is complex and notoriously difficult to teach. For this reason, Dr. Alex Tuttle has begun work aimed at creating teaching materials for training doctors best practices for managing diabetes in the hospital setting. He has created a draft set of teaching materials. To support further development of these materials for broader use, he applied to the OpenHawks program. The program has just announced that they will help fund his project (announcement can be found at this link). This funding will enable him to convert his work into a proper Open Educational Resource that would be freely available to anyone. Congratulations to Dr. Tuttle for this milestone, and we look forward to further progress. Dr. Vanessa Curtis from our division has also been involved in advising Dr. Tuttle’s project.

Announcing New Pediatric Endocrine Fellow: Dr. Tuttle

Dr. Tuttle

Today we are thrilled to announce that Dr. Alex Tuttle has joined our division as a pediatric endocrine fellow. He will serve three years in this role, after which he will be a full fledged board eligible pediatric endocrinologist. Dr. Tuttle received his Medical Degree from Indiana University. He then completed a pediatric residency at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. While a resident he demonstrated an aptitude for and interest in pediatric endocrinology, and was highly involved in diabetes camp (see picture below) at Camp Herkto Hollow and helped report an unusual pediatric endocrine case related to thyroid eye disease (link). Welcome Dr. Tuttle!!

Diabetes Camp Hertko Hollow: some of the volunteer staff from teen week 2019. Division members include Diabetes Nurse Sue Huff on the far left and (now) endocrine fellow Dr. Alex Tuttle on the far right.

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.