“I always liked endocrinology,” said Mary Pat Gallagher, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center. “I enjoy the way it stimulates the thought process. It’s like putting together the pieces of a puzzle.” Dr. Gallagher is part of the Berrie Center’s team of clinicians who take care of the very youngest people with diabetes—from babies born with neonatal diabetes, which is a genetic illness, to teens with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. There are more than 3,000 children in the New York area that are seen at the Berrie Center, which has one of the largest pediatric diabetes programs in the country.
Said Dr. Gallagher “Taking care of children with diabetes requires a lot of support and that’s what we offer at the Berrie Center. We have nurse educators, nutritionists, a psychologist, and even a child life specialist, who work with a team of four pediatric endocrinologists. I can’t imagine being a single doctor in a private practice and being as effective as we are at taking care of children with diabetes.”
Born, raised and educated in New Jersey, Dr. Gallagher attended Seton Hall University and graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She did her residency, chief residency and pediatric endocrinology fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of New York at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Gallagher was still in training when the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center opened in 1999. It was only after working at the Center, that she decided to sub-specialize in diabetes. “I was seeing children who were healthy and doing well. I thought to myself, ‘this is what excellent diabetes care looks like.’”
Her job, she says, can be both inspiring and challenging. “When a child has diabetes, you take care of the family and the patient. Sometimes the family needs more help than the child, especially in the beginning. I tell people that managing diabetes is a marathon not a sprint. You don’t have to be perfect. There will be ups and downs."
Dr. Gallagher lives in Jersey City, where she grew up, with her husband, two children (14 and 11), a dog, a cat, and a gecko.
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