Introducing Anita Swamy, MD
New Medical Director Diabetes Program
Anita Swamy, MD, and two other pediatric endocrinologists from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, joined the Chicago Children’s Diabetes Center (CCDC) at La Rabida Children’s Hospital in September.
Dr. Swamy brings proven experience and impressive credentials to her position as Medical Director and Program Co-Director, a position she shares with Co-Director Rose Briars, ND, PNP-BC, CDE.
As the previous Director for another pediatric diabetes program, Dr. Swamy built a comprehensive program that now serves children with Type I and Type II diabetes.
She recently sat down with La Rabida’s Media Relations Specialist Zion Banks to discuss the future of diabetes care, her personal experience with the disease, and her inspirational patients.
ZB: Why did you choose to come to the Chicago Children’s Diabetes Center (CCDC) at La Rabida?
AS: I came to Chicago in 2008 to start a diabetes program at another institution. I wanted to know which institution at the time exemplified “best practices” in diabetes management. My search led me here and I visited for a tour and overview of the CCDC. The minute you walk in, you can sense the passion. There is a dedicated team for children with diabetes, and great teaching initiatives. Also, it’s a personal challenge having started and grown a program elsewhere, to further develop the existing program with the help of the other physicians and excellent staff.
ZB: What do you want other pediatric providers to know about the CCDC at La Rabida?
AS: Diabetes is chronic care, so you have to consistently reeducate and update. We're giving parents tools to manage their child’s care at home in anticipation of problems so they may be avoided.
The CCDC at La Rabida also has support programs for parents, kids and school-based caregivers. I don't think there's another pediatric diabetes program in the city that addresses all those audiences.
Another important aspect is the number of clinics at the CCDC. It's so easy for patients to get in and see providers. Also we accept Medicaid, and at a time when the bottom line is everyone's concern, it's nice to know that we can treat all patients regardless of their ability to pay.
ZB: How do you communicate with referring pediatricians?
AS: After the patient visit, I send a letter to the physician outlining my plans, concerns and goals. I also plan to host physician education programs -- to explain the evaluation and treatment of diabetes, and what we can offer through the Chicago Children's Diabetes Center at La Rabida to help them. They can have their questions answered and network with other providers who may see patients with similar issues or challenges.
ZB: What are the challenges of managing pediatric diabetes in a primary care setting?
AS: Diabetes care is very challenging for any provider to manage. There are so many things that I did not know, even as the daughter of a diabetic, that I learned only after years of training in my specialty and continued clinical experience.
And, we're continuing to learn. Our program focuses on the diabetic patient and with all the things that are out there to benefit them -- new medicine, new methods of delivery, new technology. Diabetes care is daily. Families need to have a way to reach a clinical expert at a moment's notice.
ZB: So is providing education the most satisfying part of your work?
AS: Yes, seeing a child who is not doing well at all and teaching them to take care of themselves and then witnessing their improvement is so satisfying. We've kept so many kids out of the hospital and helped improve their lives.
If you spend time with them in the beginning and tell them how important this is from day one, they will respond. I have quite a few patients who want to be pediatric endocrinologists in the future and that's a very good feeling to know that I not only helped treat their diabetes, but that I could actually be a role model.
Anita Swamy, MD, an Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago board certified pediatric endocrinologist is the medical director of the Chicago Children's Diabetes Center at La Rabida.