Five Questions With: Dr. Jose Bernardo Quintos

Dr. Jose Bernardo Quintos is director of the Diabetes Outpatient Education Center and division chief of pediatric endocrinology and diabetes at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. He is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric endocrinology, and specializes in growth disorders, puberty, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, thyroid disorders and diabetes. He’s also an associate professor of pediatrics at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Providence Business News recently spoke with Quintos about Hasbro Children’s Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes Center’s new independent clinical office space on Plain Street in Providence (joining locations in East Greenwich and Fall River) housing clinical services and research in one facility.

PBN: This will be the third location for your program – is there an increasing demand for pediatric endocrinology and diabetes treatment, or is the need for combining clinical services and research very pressing?

QUINTOS: Due to increased provider referrals from Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut, a bigger clinical space with more examination rooms was needed. The center has seven clinical rooms, as well as a conference room and ample free parking.

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Recognized by the American Diabetes Association for meeting national diabetes self-management education standards, the space offers diabetes education rooms for our children and families with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Additionally, we have satellite clinics in East Greenwich and Fall River.

PBN: Please describe the scope of pediatric endocrinology and diabetes.

QUINTOS: The Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at Hasbro Children’s [Hospital] provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment for infants, children and adolescents with acute and chronic diseases or disorders of the endocrine system. This includes Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, short stature due to growth-hormone deficiency, early or precocious puberty, delayed puberty, hypo- and hyperthyroidism, and other deficiencies and excesses of the different endocrine glands and hormones.

Our team includes board-certified pediatric endocrinologists, pediatric endocrine fellows and specially trained endocrine and diabetes nurses, pediatric-diabetes specialists, certified diabetes educators, a registered dietitian and a clinical social worker. We have more than 4,000 outpatient visits a year. We treat diabetes, obesity and associated metabolic disease, growth and pubertal disorders, thyroid disease, pituitary and adrenal problems, disorders of sexual differentiation, abnormal weight gain, Turner syndrome, and bone and calcium disorders.

PBN: Please outline the benefit to putting the combined research and clinical services under one roof.

QUINTOS: Our newest Outpatient Endocrinology and Diabetes Center offers clinical and administrative services and research facilities all in one place, allowing us to expedite care and follow-up of our patients and ensure better communication among providers, as well as clinical, research and administrative staff.

PBN: What would you say is the most interesting and/or promising research in your field today?

QUINTOS: The Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes Center is a site for the TrialNet Diabetes Screening Program,  a global network of researchers exploring ways to prevent, delay and reverse Type 1 diabetes. Hasbro Children’s [Hospital] is the only center in Rhode Island participating in an international NIH [National Institutes of Health] study to screen relatives of children with Type 1 diabetes. Family members of children with Type 1 diabetes are at higher risk for developing diabetes, making early detection important to their treatment.

The overall prevalence of Type 1 diabetes is about one in 300 children, but the risk among those with a sibling with diabetes is about one in 20 children. This study is looking at our patients’ siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. These family members are screened and monitored closely to diagnose and begin treatment as early as possible. Trial Net offers a blood test that can identify increased risk for Type 1 diabetes up to 10 years before diabetes symptoms appear.

PBN: Please tell us something about your work that is often misunderstood.

QUINTOS: There is a misconception about the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is not caused by eating too much sugar or carbohydrates. The risk factors that cause Type 1 diabetes are genetic factors (inherited) from certain cell types called HLA, self–allergy or autoimmunity and environmental damage (from a virus or a chemical).

In Type 2 diabetes, the main risk factors are being overweight, insulin insensitivity and genetics. However, adolescents and young adults with Type 2 diabetes do not have the same association with the HLA genes as those with Type 1 diabetes.

Children and adolescents who are overweight can also have Type 1 diabetes. Therefore, children and adolescents with new onset diabetes should be evaluated and managed by endocrine and diabetes specialists.

Rob Borkowski is a PBN staff writer. Email him at