Professor of Pediatrics
Chief, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology
Chair, Solomon A. and Maria M. Kaplan Chair of Pediatric Endocrinology
Dr. Steven Mittelman is a Professor of Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. After earning his BS in Biochemistry from UCLA, he went on to earn his PhD in Physiology and a MD at Keck School of Medicine, USC. He completed both his pediatric residency and pediatric endocrinology fellowship at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. At CHLA, Dr. Mittelman was the Director of the Diabetes & Obesity Program, as well as the Donnell Society for Pediatric Scientists. He also served as Director of the USC/Caltech Combined MD/PhD Program.
Dr. Mittelman has an interest in the associations between obesity and cancer mortality, specifically that of childhood leukemia. He is an accomplished researcher and is involved in a number of other obesity-related research projects, primarily working on understanding the causes and treatments of childhood obesity and how adiposity alters physiology and leads to long-term consequences. His research program is funded by the NIH and private foundations, and has resulted in over 50 publications. Dr. Mittelman also has extensive clinical experience and enjoys working with patients to improve their quality of life.
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Assistant Professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Alvarez received her medical degree from the Charles R Drew/UCLA Medical Education Program. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland and her fellowship in Pediatric Endocrinology at UCLA Medical Center. Her clinical interests include diabetes, in particular type 2 in youth, insulin resistance/ prediabetes, and diabetes care technology.
Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
Program Director, Pediatric Endocrinology Fellowship
Dr. Dennis Chia is a Health Sciences Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Chia earned his BA degree from Cornell University with a major in Biology and his MD from the Boston University School of Medicine. He completed his residency training in Pediatrics at the UC Irvine program and his subspecialty training in Pediatric Endocrinology at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). Dr. Chia has held academic positions at OHSU, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, before his current position at UCLA. Dr. Chia has had an active basic and translational research interest in his career with a specific focus on molecular mechanisms underlying growth. He has been the recipient of several research grants and awards sponsored by the NIH, Pediatric Endocrine Society, and other foundations. Dr. Chia has had a longstanding interest in fellowship training, and served as the Fellowship Program Director at Einstein prior to taking on the position at UCLA. He has diverse clinical interests spanning the breadth of Pediatric Endocrinology, from common presentations such as diabetes to more esoteric conditions.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Program Director, Pediatric Thyroid Program
Dr. Harvey K. Chiu is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. After graduating from the University of North Carolina with Honors and the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Dr. Chiu pursued combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics residency training at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and then completed separate fellowships in both Adult and Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of Washington. Dr. Chiu became double Board-Certified in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine and subsequently double Board-Certified in both Pediatric and Adult Endocrinology subspecialties, and has served as a Reviewer of Endocrinology Board questions for the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Dr. Chiu has an interest in pediatric thyroid cancer, is active on the UCLA Endocrine Surgery Team, and directs the UCLA program for the biopsy of pediatric thyroid nodules. With experience in both pediatric and adult endocrinology, Dr. Chiu has a unique appreciation for the lifelong implications of endocrine problems such as lipid issues, diabetes, or thyroid concerns.
Clinical Instructor of Pediatrics
Dr. Fallah is a Health Sciences Clinical Instructor at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Her research interests involve iodine nutrition and thyroid metabolism. She sees patients affected by a variety of diabetes and endocrine disorders with specific interest in endocrine neoplasms and transgender health. Previously, Dr. Fallah was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at USC Keck School of Medicine and worked as a Bone Marrow Transplant Hospitalist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She received her M.D. degree from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran. After receiving a Master of Public Health degree in maternal and child health from Loma Linda University, Dr. Fallah completed her residency in Pediatrics at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles and her fellowship in Pediatric Endocrinology at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.
Medical Director of Pediatric Endocrinology Service at Miller Children’s Hospital
Dr. Hicks received a B.S. in Biochemistry and a Minor in English at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she participated in the College Honors Program. After working as a Validation Engineer for two years, she earned her degree in Medicine from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and was selected for membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society. She then completed her Pediatrics residency and Chief residency at the University of California, Irvine, followed by a Pediatric Endocrinology fellowship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California. During her fellowship, she was selected to participate in a two-week Endocrine Fellows Foundation preceptorship at the National Institutes of Health.
After completing her fellowship, Dr. Hicks became an attending physician at Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital, Long Beach, where she now serves as the Medical Director of the Pediatric Endocrinology service. Dr. Hicks’ clinical interests include the use of insulin pumps and sensors in diabetes, pubertal and growth disorders, pituitary disorders, and disorders associated with genetic syndromes.
Xingxing Kong, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Dr. Xingxing Kong is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. After completing her PhD from Peking Union Medical College, the top medical school in China, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. Her research is focused on the transcriptional pathways that underlie metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, with a specific investigation of the role of IRF4 in thermogenesis. She was first-author of an article in Cell in 2014 and received an NIH-K99 grant in 2015. Many studies have demonstrated that muscle plays a very important role during exercise, as the benefits of exercise are thought to result from improve tissue metabolism in a cell-autonomous and tissue-autonomous fashion with tissue crosstalk. However, there a paucity of research on other tissue involvement during exercise. As fat and muscle are two of the most abundant organs in the body, Dr. Kong’s research investigates the crosstalk between muscle and fat. Does fat tissue secrete any adipokines to regulate muscle? Do metabolites build up a bridge to link the two? Are there any other tissues involved in this metabolic activity, such as the liver, brain, or other tissues? Dr. Kong’s exciting lab research is focusing on uncovering the molecular mechanisms of exercise-induced health benefits.
Health Sciences Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Okawa is a Health Sciences Clinical Assistant Professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Okawa received her medical degree from the Sidney Kimmel Medical College (formerly Jefferson Medical College) in Philadelphia. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center and her fellowship in Pediatric Endocrinology at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Joslin Diabetes Center. Her clinical interests include type 1 diabetes, monogenic diabetes, and hyperinsulinism.
Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology, Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics
UCLA Graduate Programs In Bioscience | Faculty
Dr. Maureen A. Su is a Professor of Microbiology/Immunology and Medical Genetics at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Su received her combined bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard College and her M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School. She completed her pediatrics residency and fellowship in endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She became a Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology/Immunology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) in 2010. After eight years in North Carolina, she moved to UCLA in the Summer of 2018.
As a physician-scientist, her long-term goal is to understand what causes autoimmune diseases with the goal of developing therapeutics to prevent and treat the underlying immune condition. Her work has focused on understanding Autoimmune Polyendocrinopathy Syndrome (APS1), autoimmunity against the peripheral nervous system (GBS/CIDP), and Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). Using knowledge gained from studying autoimmunity, she is developing ways to harness the autoimmune response to fight off cancer.
Director Endocrine Surgery Program - Associate Professor in Residence - General Surgery
Dr. Michael W. Yeh established the UCLA Endocrine Surgery Program in 2006. Under his leadership, the Program has gained national and international recognition for clinical excellence in the management of complex endocrine diseases. Dr. Yeh is an expert in minimally invasive parathyroid surgery, thyroid cancer, and adrenal tumors, including pheochromocytoma and adrenocortical carcinoma. He has published more than 100 scholarly articles and book chapters on these topics.
Karishma Gounder BSN, RN, PHN
Karishma Gounder is a Registered Nurse at the David Geffen School of Medicine. Ms. Gounder received her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from California State University, Fullerton. Her previous pediatric experience includes working in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Acute Care Unit at the Ronald Regan Medical Center. She is a member of the American Diabetes Association and American Association of Diabetes Educators. She is a Certified Public Health Nurse and is studying to become a Certified Diabetes Educator.
Debbie Olson, RN, CDE
Debbie Olson is a Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator at the David Geffen School of Medicine. Debbie has worked at UCLA Health since 1996, in both the inpatient and outpatient areas. She has enjoyed providing Diabetes Education to adults, children, and families living with diabetes since 2013. Debbie is a certified insulin pump trainer and welcomes the changing technologies to help increase safety and decrease burden on the lives of those with diabetes. She is passionate about diabetes being a self-managed condition that necessitates the Diabetes Care team to include the patient and family at the center, and the health professionals working to provide excellent education so that those living with diabetes may better manage their condition and live to their fullest desire and potential.
Patty Beckwith, RD, CDE, MS
Patty Beckwith has worked at UCLA since 1991 providing nutrition and diabetes care at various times in the student health center, the department of athletics, the center for human nutrition, high risk obstetrics, as well as inpatient and outpatient pediatric care.
Sabah Akmal, LCSWSabah Akmal received her MSW from University of California, Los Angeles. Her previous experience includes working as an adult oncology social worker and as a clinician in private practice. She currently works closely with pediatric endocrinology, pulmonology/cystic fibrosis and cardiology patients and their families at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital.
Sylvia Villaseñor, LCSWSylvia Villaseñor received her MSW in Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs in 2006. Sylvia is honored in working with our Endocrine patients and families by providing supportive counseling, psychoeducation, and resources as patients move through the course of their medical condition.
Jennifer Chou, LCSWJennifer Chou is a Clinical Social Worker at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital. She was a UCLA undergraduate and proceeded to receive her Masters of Social Welfare from UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Passionate about music, she volunteers at the UCLA Medical Center in the Music at the Bedside Program, playing her guitar and singing for patients and families spending time at the hospital.
Natacha Emerson, PhDNatacha Emerson is a Pediatric Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow. She earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Loma Linda University where her research focused on self-efficacy, health disparities, and family-based interventions for medically-ill children. Her clinical interests include adherence to medical regimens and transition to adult healthcare for adolescents and young adults. She is currently working as an integrated behavioral health clinician in pediatric hematology-oncology, neurology, and endocrinology.
Kanchana Wijesekera, PhDKanchi Wijesekera is an attending psychologist for the new Pediatric Psychology Outpatient Program at UCLA where she provides family-centered consultations for youth and families seen in various pediatric clinics, including pediatric endocrinology, cardiology, as well as kidney and heart transplant. She received her doctorate degree from Loma Linda University and completed her pre-doctoral internship at CHOC Children’s Hospital. She specialized in trauma and pediatrics during her post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA.
Rose Healy, RN, MSN, CNSInpatient Diabetes Nurse Educator
Nancy Lee, PharmD, CDEInpatient Diabetes Pharmacist Educator
Debora Nagata, RN, CDEInpatient Diabetes Nurse Educator