About Us

At USC Westside Center for Diabetes, we change lives —  daily. Led by internationally respected diabetes expert Anne L. Peters, MD, we specialize in treatment of diabetes in adolescents and adults.

As part of a leading research University and supported by our philanthropic partners, we offer:

• Intensive diabetes management for type 1 and type 2 diabetes

• Cutting-edge insulin pump therapy and continuous glucose monitoring

• Diabetes education and nutritional counseling

• Access to the latest research studies

Our involvement in cutting-edge clinical trials and technologies is changing how diabetes is treated, and our community outreach is bringing new tools to residents of underserved areas.

Anne Peters, MD

Director, USC Westside Center for Diabetes

Professor, Keck School of Medicine of USC

Director, USC Clinical Diabetes Programs

Anne L. Peters, MD is one of the world’s leading diabetes clinicians and clinical researchers and influential advocate and policy advisor for new diabetes treatment guidelines and increased access to care. Dr. Peters is dedicated to bringing cutting-edge diabetes care to all walks of life, including an underserved lower-literacy population.

She works with the L.A. County Department of Health Services on a countywide diabetes program, and she established the Community Diabetes Initiatives Research Center (CDI) with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Dr. Peters received the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Outstanding Physician Clinician Award and the Bernardo Houssay Award from the National Minority Quality Forum for her work with the underserved.

She earned her medical degree from Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, and completed an internal medicine residency at Stanford University and an endocrinology fellowship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Dr. Peters has been a Principal Investigator on multiple clinical trials, including two current grants supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and several active foundation-funded grants. She also serves as special consultant to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration on the development of devices for diabetes treatment.

A sought-after speaker and thought leader, she plays a central role in developing national guidelines for diabetes care, serving on the American Diabetes Association (ADA)/European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Guidelines Committee for Management of Type 1 Diabetes. She also participates on the ADA Guidelines Committee for Management of Type 1 Diabetes and the EASD/ADA Committee on Device Safety, and chairs the Endocrine Society Committee on the Use of Devices in Treatment of Diabetes.

Dr. Peters has authored more than 200 articles, reviews and abstracts in peer-reviewed medical journals, as well as three books on diabetes. These include the patient-centered Conquering Diabetes: A Cutting-Edge, Comprehensive Program for Prevention and Treatment and the ADA/JDRF Type 1 Diabetes Sourcebook for health professionals. On track for 2017 is The Type 1 Diabetes Self-Care Manual: A Complete Guide Across the Lifespan for People with Diabetes, Parents, and Caregivers.

In addition, Dr. Peters is a regular contributor to Medscape (the professional side of WebMD) with her video series “Peters on Diabetes.

 

Mark Harmel, MPH, CDE

Certified Diabetes Educator
Research Coordinator

 

Valerie Ruelas, MSW, LCSW

Director, Community Diabetes Initiative (CDI),

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and USC Keck School of Medicine

Meg Werner Moreta, MS, RD, CDE

Registered Dietitian/
Certified Diabetes Educator

Donna Miller, MSN, FNP-C, CDE

Nurse Practitioner/
Certified Diabetes Educator

Mark Harmel, MPH, CDE

Certified Diabetes Educator

Research Coordinator

Mark Harmel earned his Master of Public Health at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. His roles at the USC Westside Center for Diabetes are to provide diabetes education and is the coordinator of new research studies from at the Westside office. He also manages the ongoing TrialNet and T1D Exchange Registry and TrialNet studies.

Mark has a BA in Social Sciences (and studied photography) from Thomas Jefferson College at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, where he grew up. He started his career in 1985 as a photojournalist for newspapers and magazines and evolved to being a professional  healthcare photographer.

“I get to help patients with their current diabetes management and work on research that can change policies and move the science forward to improve care,” he says.

Anne Peters, MD

Director, USC Westside Center for Diabetes

Professor, Keck School of Medicine of USC

Director, USC Clinical Diabetes Programs

Valerie Ruelas, MSW, LCSW

Director, Community Diabetes Initiative (CDI),

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and USC Keck School of Medicine

Meg Werner Moreta, MS, RD, CDE

Registered Dietitian/
Certified Diabetes Educator

 

Donna Miller, MSN, FNP-C, CDE

Nurse Practitioner/
Certified Diabetes Educator

 

 

Valerie Ruelas, MSW, LCSW

Director, Community Diabetes Initiative (CDI),

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and USC Keck School of Medicine

 

Valerie Ruelas manages research grants and projects for the Community Diabetes Initiative and the Westside Center for Diabetes. She’s an expert in community participation research, assessing local needs to reduce obesity and related chronic conditions like diabetes, primarily among low-income Latinos.

Valerie earned her Masters of Social Work at California State University, Fresno, and is a licensed clinical social worker. Prior to joining WCD, she worked at the L.A. County Department of Health Services, including for LAC+USC Medical Center, the Office of AIDS Programs and Policy and the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Programs.

In her community work, Valerie has helped to open a farmer’s market in Watts, teach nutrition and healthy cooking in East L.A., and develop bilingual, low-literacy educational materials about diabetes. She says, “With powerful community-based research, we can reduce obesity and diabetes and improve quality of life.”

Anne Peters, MD

Director, USC Westside Center for Diabetes

Professor, Keck School of Medicine of USC

Director, USC Clinical Diabetes Programs

Mark Harmel, MPH, CDE

Certified Diabetes Educator
Research Coordinator

 

Meg Werner Moreta, MS, RD, CDE

Registered Dietitian/
Certified Diabetes Educator

Donna Miller, MSN, FNP-C, CDE

Nurse Practitioner/
Certified Diabetes Educator

 

 

Meg Werner Moreta, MS, RD, CDE

Registered Dietitian/Certified Diabetes Educator

 

Meg Werner Moreta has guided people toward healthy choices for more than two decades. She earned her Master of Science in Human Nutrition at the University of New Haven and a BS in Nutritional Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She completed a Dietetic Internship at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

At WCD, she is responsible for nutritional counseling, pre-pregnancy planning, behavioral therapy and insulin therapy. Meg, who grew up in Manhattan Beach, first joined the WCD staff in 2001 and has also worked in the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Diabetes Center and served as a nutritional consultant for TV shows, restaurants and in private practice.

“After working in a hospital environment for five years,’ she says, “I wanted to leave acute care and change direction to outpatient diabetes, where I could make a difference in people’s lives.”

Anne Peters, MD

Director, USC Westside Center for Diabetes

Professor, Keck School of Medicine of USC

Director, USC Clinical Diabetes Programs

Mark Harmel, MPH, CDE

Certified Diabetes Educator
Research Coordinator

 

Valerie Ruelas, MSW, LCSW

Director, Community Diabetes Initiative (CDI),

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and USC Keck School of Medicine

Donna Miller, MSN, FNP-C, CDE

Nurse Practitioner/
Certified Diabetes Educator

 

 

Donna Miller, MSN, FNP-C, CDE

Nurse Practitioner/Certified Diabetes Educator

Donna Miller is dedicated to teaching her patients at the USC Westside Center for Diabetes the self-management skills they need to live successfully with diabetes. Born in Hollywood, Donna grew up in Hawthorne. Prior to joining us as Nurse Practitioner and Certified Diabetes Educator, she gained invaluable experience in heart health (and its links with diabetes). She established and managed the Congestive Heart Failure/Hypertension Center at Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital.

Her current clinical interests include the physiology and treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes across the lifespan. Donna sees a wide range of patients, from pre-teens to geriatric patients and every age in between. One of her areas of expertise is working with women who have type 1 diabetes throughout their pregnancies, from pre-conception on.

“My No. 1 goal is to keep people healthy,” says Donna, “and enjoying the best possible quality of life.”

Anne Peters, MD

Director, USC Westside Center for Diabetes

Professor, Keck School of Medicine of USC

Director, USC Clinical Diabetes Programs

Mark Harmel, MPH, CDE

Certified Diabetes Educator
Research Coordinator

 

Valerie Ruelas, MSW, LCSW

Director, Community Diabetes Initiative (CDI),

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and USC Keck School of Medicine

Meg Werner Moreta, MS, RD, CDE

Registered Dietitian/
Certified Diabetes Educator

Academic Publications

Research and Advocacy

We work on several fronts to change the future of diabetes care, from testing innovative medications and devices to developing preventive strategies that stop diabetes from developing.

Backed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), we are a study site on the benefits of Vitamin D on diabetes prevention. In addition, we are in our 12th year in the LookAHEAD study, an Intensive Lifestyle Intervention focused on weight loss achieved through healthy eating and increased physical activity in overweight and obese individuals with type 2 diabetes. We have been able to contribute contribute to these major national studies by enrolling residents from the Latino resident population we serve at Roybal Comprehensive Health Center in East Los Angeles.

Access  Other studies give our patients early access to new solutions. These include the T1D Exchange Network, which is testing a closed-loop insulin delivery system, along with clinical trials that are analyzing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) in seniors and in family members without diabetes. We are one of the first centers to test the new Dexcom G6 CGM sensor, and we’re part of TrialNet, an international network exploring how type 1 diabetes can be prevented. We are also currently conducting a study on a potentially better way of using inhaled insulin and a study using a closed-loop CGM/insulin pump system is scheduled for next year.

Advocacy   Dr. Peters is leading an effort to change the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) policy for insulin pump approval for seniors and has lobbied to convince CMS to fund CGMs for seniors and people with Medicaid.

Prevention   We are committed to studying how lifestyle approaches —  diet, exercise and weight loss —  may improve long-term health outcomes. Our team conducts on-the-ground research to help whole neighborhoods become healthier, including establishing and studying the impact of farmer’s markets.

 

For women with type 1 diabetes (T1D) planning a family, the best time to see your endocrinology team is before you get pregnant, not after — at least three to six months before, says Donna Miller, MSN, FNP-C, CDE, Nurse Practitioner and Certified Diabetes Educator at the Westside Center for Diabetes.

One of Donna’s specialties is working with women who have T1D throughout their pregnancies, from pre-conception on. For many years, women with T1D were advised not to get pregnant, she notes. Although it represents more challenges for women with T1D, a healthy pregnancy is entirely possible with careful preparation. “It’s important to create a plan to minimize the risk of complications and maximize the health of the mother and the baby,” says Donna.

High blood glucose at conception and throughout pregnancy can spell added dangers for the baby, including miscarriage and potential birth defects. However, these complications can largely be avoided by intensive glucose management.  “The mothers we see are able to do an amazing job at controlling their blood sugar levels in order to have a successful pregnancy.  We consider it a joy to be able to help mothers bring healthy infants into the world.”

Donna advises her patients to use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and insulin pump to get the most accurate, convenient monitoring and delivery of insulin. “Using these devices, the woman can make insulin decisions based on the trending blood glucose,” she says. For women who decide against CGM and a pump, Donna offers other options for managing their pregnancy.

She also works with her patients to develop a nutritional plan, critical for managing the demands of pregnancy. “In some cases, meals you’ve always eaten might not work during pregnancy because they tend to raise your glucose too high.” Exercise — walking and yoga, for example — are also important.

Each pregnancy plan is highly individualized. But one recommendation Donna makes applies to all, she says: interview your potential OB/GYN and perinatologist. “Find out their comfort level and understanding of type 1 diabetes.” The WCD maintains referral lists and can help you find one that works for you.

To begin planning for your healthy pregnancy, contact Donna at the WCD.

New developments in diabetes happen slowly, yet at this year’s annual American Diabetes Association 77th Scientific Sessions there were many glimmers of hope, particularly in the area of new technologies and medications.

Oral, faster, smarter and all-around better insulins were discussed and positive data came out on the safety of the long acting insulin known as degludec (Tresiba) in the DEVOTE Trial.

The biggest news was on the cardiovascular benefits of a medication known as canagliflozin (Invokana) which showed benefit in terms of reducing heart disease risk.  This supports the previous findings for empagliflozin (Jardiance) suggesting that all the medications in this class known as “SGLT-2 inhibitors” may have cardiovascular benefit.

Dr. Peters presented on four topics; updating the diabetes guidelines, continuous glucose monitoring safety, the new diabetes medication known as sotagliflozin (for people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes) and the restrictive nature of current CMS rules regarding insulin pump therapy. Reporting for Medscape, Mark covered the news from the ADA and his videos can be found on-line.

Our WCD team, led by Dr. Peters, is grateful to be able to play a role in the process of advancing treatment for diabetes. We remain hopeful to develop new methods of care and establish higher levels of education for this underrepresented, life-threatening condition.

 

We lost one of our very special patients recently—Don Rickles —who was a beloved patient, friend and benefactor. Although he was known as an “insult” comic he was the singularly kindest man I have ever known.  Off stage, he made me laugh and always feel loved and valued.  He would, however, admonish me to “leave the jokes to him” if I joked back. I miss him very much. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. If you would like to donate in honor of Don Rickles and his memory here at WCD, please visit www.keck.usc.edu/donatewcd and write “Don Rickles” on the in memory line. We will share your gift by sending a notification letter to his wife Barbara and family in your honor.

— Anne

 

The first version of the House ACHA health bill just stalled and the Presidential budget with major cuts in health research funding was released right before Mark made his first trip joining the American Diabetes Association’s Call to Congress lobbying event in Washington D. C. The agenda in March was filled with pressing topics from rising insulin prices to increasing concerns about insurance coverage for people with preexisting conditions, and the risk of major cuts in funding for medical research and diabetes prevention.

Attending with our patient Doris Gilbert and other ADA Los Angeles advocates, we were joined by over 180 other patient advocates and researchers from 33 states. Our LA group met with staff members from the offices of Senators Harris and Feinstein, plus Representatives Bass, Cardenas, and Barragan to ask for policy changes to prevent diabetes and to improve the lives of our patients.

A highlight happened during one of our policy talks, with a policy staffer from Rep. Cardenas’ office who seemed to be distracted by series of text messages on his phone. We shortly discovered that he was texting his girlfriend – a newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes staffer working in another office who had never met another person with T1D. Policy questions melted in face of personal concerns about living with T1D, but in the process we created two new diabetes advocates.

 

Obesity and diabetes are highly prevalent problems, which cannot be solved within our walls alone. Dr. Peters’ team has worked with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) to adapt the evidenced based Kids N Fitness© (KNF) program to provided nutrition and physical activity education in the camp setting.  KNF for Camp was successfully implemented last summer for the ADA’s Camp Strong, which led to a three-year partnership to take KNF for Camp national! This summer we will train ADA staff to conduct 9 summer camps across the country!

 

Whether you attend for the family fun or for the TrialNet screening, this annual JDRF summer event is always a great event for Type 1 diabetes families. Family members are 15 times more likely to develop type 1 diabetes and a simple screening test is accurate at detecting the early stages and provides the gateway for prevention trials.

 

(There will be another JDRF picnic & screening event in the summer of 2018).  

You can contact Mark Harmel for screening throughout the year.

mark.harmel@med.usc.edu

310-546-6509

 

News of
the Center

We are recruiting for three studies for people with type 1 diabetes and one for people without diabetes at all. Let us know if you want to participate. Contact Mark Harmel at 310-546-6509 or Mark.Harmel@med.usc.edu

STAT Study - Study Comparing Novolog vs Technosphere (inhaled) Insulin

This is a 5-week study of inhaled insulin (Afrezza). We are looking for people aged 18   –   70 years with type 1 diabetes on injection therapy who will be randomized to either staying on shots or switched to inhaled insulin before meals. All participants will wear a Dexcom G5 CGM.

CGM NDS - Assessing Continuous Glucose Sensor Profiles in Healthy Non-Diabetic Subjects

We are looking to figure out what “normal” blood sugars look like in people without diabetes or prediabetes. We need anyone 18 and older who is willing to wear a Dexcom CGM for 10 days and calibrate with a blood glucose meter twice a day. This is a great way for friends and families with diabetes to learn empathy and show support while helping research.

WISDM - Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) in people with T1D over 60 yrs old.

We are looking for people 60 and over with type 1 diabetes who have not used a CGM in the past 3 months and would like to be on one. In this 12-month study people will be randomized to continuing fingersticks or using the Dexcom CGM for the first 6 months. Everyone will be on CGM for the last 6 months.

Sence Study with Bigfoot Biomedical – Automated insulin delivery system

This study uses the Bigfoot Biomedical smartloop automated insulin delivery system in people with type 1 diabetes. The system uses an insulin pump, CGM and smartphone to read glucose levels and control the delivery of insulin to increase the time spent in a target glucose range. More details to follow, enrolling late Fall/Winter.

 

$10,000,000

endows the program and continues

our work indefinitely

$1,500,000

trains 5 physician fellows in

diabetes over 10 years

$500,000

supports our programs for

families and youth for three years

$200,000

develops and disseminates

our type 1 diabetes tools

Make an on-line donation at:
www.keck.usc.edu/donatewcd
or send a check to:
USC Westside Center for Diabetes
150 N. Robertson Blvd.
Suite 210
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Valerie Ruelas,

Program Director, 323-361-8416

Thank you for your interest and your support.

 

Our Funding Goals

Make a Difference

Support for diabetes treatment and prevention is precarious. Funding goes disproportionately to cancer and heart disease. Yet uncontrolled diabetes is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and early death.

In Los Angeles, people in the poorest parts of town have the highest rates of diabetes, obesity and heart disease, as well as fewer doctors and a life expectancy 12 years less (73 vs. 85 years) than those in the wealthiest parts of L.A. These disparities are largely due to diabetes and its related complications.

As our philanthropic partner, you can help improve diabetes care and prevention now and set the stage for future breakthroughs. No gift is too small.

We are currently seeking support for these priority programs:

• Continued development, testing and dissemination of culturally sensitive, lower-literacy diabetes educational tools

• Innovative pilot projects in the communities of East and South L.A. aimed at reducing rates obesity and diabetes

• Development of a training program for nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician fellows to treat patients with diabetes — vitally important given a growing shortage of expert practitioners

• Research into an artificial pancreas for type 1 diabetes, which has the potential to free patients from the roller-coaster cycle of high and low blood sugar

• Advocacy work to: 1) convince health insurers (including Medicare) to pay for needed diabetes tools and treatments, 2) persuade the FDA to adopt more realistic outcome goals for developing diabetes medications, and 3) meet with Congressional Representatives to influence research and healthcare policy

“We hope that those who can afford it will pay it forward to help us in our efforts to improve outcomes for all.”  
— Anne Peters, MD

 

Contact Us/Make an Appointment

We want to hear from you.

If you have any questions or want to make an appointment, please use this form. Or simply call us at 310-272-8222 or email us.

Submitting Form...

The server encountered an error.

Form received.

USC Westside Center for Diabetes

9033 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 406

Beverly Hills, CA 90211

tel. 310-272-8222 ext. 0

fax. 310-272-8206

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center

News of
the Center