SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Xenia von Wedel, Peter Silva, Glenn Rossman, Ava Smith, Elizabeth White

News Feed Item

Head of Military Diabetes Institute Hopes to Put Breaks on Growing Epidemic

FORT KNOX, Ky., Aug. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to the American Diabetes Association, if current trends continue, one out of every three Americans could be diabetic by the year 2050. However, one Army doctor has made it his mission to halt the epidemic in its tracks.

The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., home of the military’s Diabetes Institute.

Dr. Robert Vigersky is the head of the Diabetes Institute at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md. With a blend of civilian and military medical experiences, Vigersky has taken research, education, and technology related to the treatment of diabetes to a level unmatched at other medical facilities.  A colleague, Dr. David Klonoff, of the Diabetes Technology Society and Medical Director of the Diabetes Research Institute, says, "Dr. Vigersky has designed many research studies that have provided important evidence to guide critical practice in both the civilian as well as the military communities.  His work has definitely raised the level of diabetes care in the US."

"Diabetes is a major health care problem in this country," Vigersky said. "It is a huge challenge to try and make a contribution to stem its infestation in our population."

Vigersky initially joined the Army in 1976 and then left in 1984 for private practice. As a successful endocrinologist at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C., Vigersky took the lessons he learned from that program and rejoined the Army in 2000.

"The Army had more to offer than a full clinic schedule of more and more patients. It wasn't fulfilling to me to grind out patients in the civilian world," he said. "I wanted to do more with research and teaching and Walter Reed allowed me to do that."

He notes that through the Diabetes Institute, he has the flexibility to pursue different avenues of medicine, from teaching and research to patient care, all in one facility, rather than focusing all efforts and funds on one of those areas. This multi-disciplined approach is just one reason Dr. Vigersky thinks the Diabetes Institute is making unprecedented strides in medicine.

Research done at the Diabetes Institute is funded by both military and civilian grants. The research has led to the publishing of dozens of articles cited around the world, including prestigious medical journals. The institute is currently involved in six active research protocols that are investigating innovative ways to help those who are pre-diabetic to avoid getting the disease altogether. The research is also playing a role in the progression and advancement of both pharmaceuticals and the manufacturing of devices for the treatment and management of diabetes.

The Diabetes Institute works to share the advancements and discoveries through the education of other health care professionals. Vigersky conducts workshops several times a year and incorporates health care professionals from all types of facilities. There are programs to relay discoveries in treatment and research to nurses. A once-a-year program helps educate patients in managing the disease, and teaches them about advances in treatment.

Vigersky takes a very active role in the education branch of the institute. According to his civilian colleague, Dr. Klonoff, "When he served recently as President of the Endocrine Society, the world's leading organization of research and clinical endocrinologists, Dr. Vigersky championed many educational initiatives to encourage young physicians to go into the field of endocrinology and to train current endocrinologists to use the latest methods in their practices." He adds, "Dr. Vigersky is a consistent publisher of research in top medical journals and he is in demand to speak at many national and international meetings."

"I try to actively go around to give talks and collaborate with colleagues to ensure they are up to date," Vigersky said.

Susan Walker, administrative director of the Diabetes Institute, echoes the advances made by the Diabetes Institute and how the leadership of Vigersky has been directly responsible for those advancements and education programs.

"He's innovative and a tremendous mentor to so many people," she said. "He pushes the envelope, and sees things as they can be, and brings out the best in people. He is a perpetual optimist."

Technology is playing an active role in diabetes education, research, and treatment. Vigersky has developed a computer program that helps primary care physicians decide what medications may be best for patients under specific circumstances. Information, such as lab work and blood sugar, is uploaded in to the program. The primary care physician can see what medications have been tried and what may work best for that individual patient. An algorithm then recommends the best medication.

"The program helps providers decide what to do," he said. "Primary care physicians are overwhelmed and this is a way to overcome that."

Treatment and management advances at the Diabetes Institute are affecting how diabetes is dealt with across all sectors. Dr. Klonoff explains the importance of Dr. Vigersky's work related to management of diabetes, "Dr. Robert Vigersky and his team at the Walter Reed Diabetes Institute have been conducting very high quality diabetes research for many years," he said.  "Their specialty is identifying and developing practical monitoring technologies and treatments for diabetes (both for outpatients and inpatients).  These approaches include new methods for blood glucose monitoring, continuous glucose monitoring, assessing retinal health,  creating decision support software, and introducing a wide range of telemedicine tools to the practice of diabetes. One recent important study that he designed looked at the outcomes of using a real time continuous glucose monitor in Type 2 diabetes.  Whereas this tool had been reserved for only Type 1 diabetic patients, Dr. Vigersky demonstrated that Type 2 patients also benefit from this technology," Klonoff said. "He showed that the benefits are sustained, not only while the device is being used, but also after use, which is known as a legacy effect."

Vigersky is excited about a number of advances in diabetic care and research across the country. One advancement he cites as being extremely life-changing for diabetics is the artificial pancreas. It will measure blood sugar and deliver the right amount of insulin automatically; it is currently being investigated by leading diabetes experts. Vigersky predicts it may come to fruition in the next five years or so.

Vigersky stresses the fact that diabetes is a major health concern in this country and the Army population isn't immune to the epidemic. Amongst retirees and family members, diabetes is prevalent at a rate that mirrors the civilian population. 

"It is devastating for quality of life and life expectancy," he said. 

Endocrinology is the key to staving off the effects of this disease and Vigersky sees his specialty in general as an "intellectual and professional challenge."

Vigersky and his team rely on military and family member patients to further research, education, and diabetic care initiatives.  Vigersky prefers working with this population. 

"We are very fortunate to have willing volunteer patients. The military community is very geared towards giving back and helping out with research," he said.

Having experienced both civilian and military medical protocol and care, Vigersky strongly believes the Army has given him the means of practicing medicine and pursuing research in a way that he just couldn't do in the civilian world.

"You are allowed to practice medicine at its best. You can make decisions based on what is best for the patient, and then take the time to execute those decisions," he said. "It allows you to do what every medical student intends to do. There is a huge amount of professional satisfaction you don't necessarily hear about in the civilian community,  particularly in specialties," he said.

Vigersky considers the work of his fellow Army endocrinologists and the multi-disciplinary approach of the Diabetes Institute to be cutting edge and the gold standard of care for anyone dealing with diabetes. Endocrinology is one medical specialty in which Army medical professionals are changing the way the disease is researched and patients are treated all over the world.

Dr. Klonoff says, "The contributions of Dr. Vigersky and other US Army medical professionals has improved the way that diabetes is treated in both military and civilian facilities in the U.S. and abroad."

For more information on Army medical careers, call 1-888-710-ARMY, or visit healthcare.goarmy.com/h873

This release was written by Karri L. Moser

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140814/136290

SOURCE U.S. Army Medical Recruiting Brigade

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
Verizon Enterprise Solutions is simplifying the cloud-purchasing experience for its clients, with the launch of Verizon Cloud Marketplace, a key foundational component of the company's robust ecosystem of enterprise-class technologies. The online storefront will initially feature pre-built cloud-based services from AppDynamics, Hitachi Data Systems, Juniper Networks, PfSense and Tervela. Available globally to enterprises using Verizon Cloud, Verizon Cloud Marketplace provides a one-stop shop fo...
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additional...
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com...
We are all here because we are sold on the transformative promise of The Cloud. But what good is all of this ephemeral, on-demand infrastructure if your usage doesn't actually improve the agility and speed of your business? How must Operations adapt in order to avoid stifling your Cloud initiative? In his session at DevOps Summit, Damon Edwards, co-founder and managing partner of the DTO Solutions, will highlight the successful organizational, process, and tooling patterns of high-performing c...
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from ha...
Software-driven innovation is becoming a primary approach to how businesses create and deliver new value to customers. A survey of 400 business and IT executives by the IBM Institute for Business Value showed businesses that are more effective at software delivery are also more profitable than their peers nearly 70 percent of the time (1). DevOps provides a way for businesses to remain competitive, applying lean and agile principles to software development to speed the delivery of software that ...
Docker offers a new, lightweight approach to application portability. Applications are shipped using a common container format and managed with a high-level API. Their processes run within isolated namespaces that abstract the operating environment independently of the distribution, versions, network setup, and other details of this environment. This "containerization" has often been nicknamed "the new virtualization." But containers are more than lightweight virtual machines. Beyond their small...
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's

An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Ar...
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the ...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...