Willa Hsueh

Leading Diabetes Researcher at Methodist Hospital

About Willa Hsueh

Certified as a specialist in endocrinology by the American Board of Internal Medicine, Dr. Willa Hsueh began her career as a clinical researcher and medical school instructor at USC, advancing to the position of professor of medicine. After her long career at USC, she was recruited by UCLA and appointed professor of medicine, a position she held for a decade. Dr. Willa Hsueh also served as a staff physician at the UCLA Medical Center.

In 2008, the Methodist Hospital of Houston hired Dr. Willa Hsueh as a staff physician and as director of the Diabetes Research Center of The Methodist Hospital Research Institute (TMHRI). As chief of the Division of Diabetes, Obesity, and Lipids in the Department of Medicine, she directs clinical outpatient services and she teaches endocrine and renal physiology classes. Because 40% of patients admitted to the hospital have diabetes or hyperglycemia, Dr. Willa Hsueh helped establish the Methodist Diabetes and Metabolism Institute, and she now serves as its director. The mission of the institute is to prevent and treat diabetes and obesity by conducting research and developing the latest techniques and technologies in clinical care. In this endeavor, Dr. Hsueh serves as principal investigator for several grant-funded research projects.

The Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes

Dr. Willa Hsueh serves as the director of the Diabetes Research Center at the Houston, Texas-based Methodist Hospital Research Institute. Much of Dr. Willa Hsueh’s work involves researching, preventing, and treating diabetes among Houston residents.

While the cause of type 1 diabetes is thought to be an interaction between genetic and environmental triggers, type 2 diabetes is a fully preventable condition caused by several risk factors. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include physical inactivity, older age, obesity, and race and ethnicity. Latin Americans, African Americans, and American Indians are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes.

Certain lifestyle changes can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, excess weight is the primary cause of type 2 diabetes, and weight loss significantly decreases chances of developing the disease. Recommended dietary changes including avoiding sugary beverages, swapping out processed carbohydrates for whole grains, and eating less red and processed meat.

Many local and national initiatives, including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, offer community lifestyle programs to help people make changes to prevent type 2 diabetes.

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