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Slowing Down Diabetes
Camp Hickory Hill

MU Children's Hospital's Pediatric Diabetes Center is world-renowned for its clinical expertise, leading-edge research and exceptional care of children with diabetes.


Our diabetes program began in the 1950s with Children's Hospital's first pediatric chair, Robert L. Jackson, MD, who came to mid-Missouri with a background and specific interest in nutrition. He theorized that controlling a patient's blood sugar could control help control a patient's diabetes. He also believed the team approach to diabetic care was the best way to ensure his young patients were controlling their blood sugars appropriately. At the time, those were radical and unproven ideas. Yet Children's Hospital's Diabetes Center was achieving amazing results for its patients and the world began to take notice, including one physician who would go on to help put Jackson's theories through the rigors of peer reviewed, scientific testing.

David Goldstein, MD, was a young pediatric endocrinologist who wanted to join Jackson in his groundbreaking work with diabetic children. He came to Children's Hospital, began working with Jackson, and in 1978 became the division director of the Diabetes Center. During his tenure Goldstein lead a landmark research study called the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, or DCCT. He helped the University of Missouri and Children's Hospital become one of the original 21 clinical centers for the trial. The ten-year study followed nearly 1,500 Type 1 Diabetes patients across the country and looked at whether intensive blood glucose control could stave off the onset of complications such as eye, kidneys and nerve disease.

The results revealed conclusive evidence that an intensive regimen of blood sugar regulation slows the onset and progression of health complications such as eye, kidney and nerve disease in patients with Type 1 Diabetes. In essence, the study scientifically proved what Jackson had believed in the 50's; the key to giving his young patients the best chance at avoiding health issues caused by diabetes was to help them control their blood sugar.

Goldstein still follows the original DCCT patients and notes that even though some are in their late 60's, they are still managing to avoid many of the common health issues other Type 1 diabetics now face. The intensive blood glucose control they went through as children is still having a positive effect on their overall health, nearly 20 years after the study was complete.

Our Diabetes Program Today

Today, Children's Hospital's Diabetes Center remains one of the world's best pediatric diabetes care centers. Led by mid-Missouri's only board certified pediatric endocrinologists, our clinic continues to be on the forefront of pediatric diabetes care. The team's physicians and researchers continue to participate in leading-edge research.

Amie VanMorlan, MD, a pediatric diabetes and endocrinology specialist, is currently splitting her time between her clinical practice and research projects looking at possible ways to stop or slow the onset of Type 1 Diabetes at the cellular level. 

Additionally, Michael Gardner, MD, also a pediatric diabetes and endocrinology specialist, is involved in clinical research looking at new therapies for children with Type 1 Diabetes in an effort to help them gain even better glycemic control. Our team members are also often involved in research conducted through TrialNet, an international network of researchers who are exploring ways to prevent, delay and reverse the progression of Type 1 Diabetes.

Lab Expertise That Set International Standards

Another critical piece of our Pediatric Diabetes Program is the Diabetes Diagnostic Laboratory. Located within the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia, the lab is the primary reference lab for the international standardization of glycated hemoglobin HbA1c testing. This lab is also home to the administrative core and two secondary reference laboratories that work with the NGSP, the organization that oversees the standardization of the hemoglobin A1c test. The hemoglobin A1c test is an extremely important diabetes test that measures a patient's average blood sugar over three to four months at a time. The test result gives physicians critical information about how well a patient's blood glucose levels are being controlled over a three to four month time period. Our DDL lab is the place that sets the international standard, meaning it insures the accuracy of the test done in different labs all over the world. To read more about the hemoglobin A1c test, its purpose and how it works, as well as more about the standardization process, visit NGSP.

The DDL has also served as the central laboratory for diabetes tests for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services NHANES studies since 1985 (NHANES III and IV).

The Team Approach to Caring for Kids

Our specialists fully believe that the best way to care for their young patients is through a comprehensive team approach. We offer each of our patients and their families access to a vast array of medical experts who are individually trained in pediatric diabetes care. Our team consists of physicians, nurse practitioners, RNs, nutritionist and social workers who work seamlessly to provide the best standard of pediatric diabetes care possible.

This team approach gives the patients and their families a set of health care experts who are all communicating and working together to reach the same goal; to ensure that each of our young patients leads a long, happy and healthy life. It enhances the effectiveness of medical, educational and adaptation process for each family. Our team can discuss medical needs, nutrition, social issues and other concerns and address every concern a patient might have on a multi-disciplinary level.

Individual, Patient-Centered Care

Our team begins treating each diabetic patient with a comprehensive in-patient program. During that three to four day hospital stay, the young patient is able to stay in a room with his or her primary caregivers while learning how to live with and manage their diabetes. Our physicians and nurses teach glucose level and medical control, our nutritionists show kids and their families how to plan meals and snacks and our social workers help our patients and families adjust to what can be an overwhelming diagnosis. We also help families manage day-to-day concerns like navigating insurance issues and finding the best places to purchase diabetes supplies.

After the initial in-patient program, our team sets up follow-up visits and will continue to work with each family and care for each child until they turn 18 years old. Our team routinely sees each child and their families every three months until they become adults.

If any complications or concerns should arise, a member of our diabetes team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our team members are also available by phone and e-mail to address non-emergent questions. Our team's goal is to give our families around the clock access to their health care team.

We Know Kids

In all we do, we never forget that our patients are children. Our team members are pediatric specialists, which means they love working for and with kids. They know how to adapt their education styles to best help children of any age. They use play therapy, modeling and other kid-friendly techniques to help in the education process. Additionally, they are highly skilled in addressing a child's changing needs as they grow from a toddler, through adolescence and into young adulthood. One of our endocrine specialists, Michael Gardner, MD, is the medical director of Camp Hickory Hill, a summer camp created specifically for kids with Type 1 Diabetes.

Some Therapies We Offer

  • Glucose testing/monitoring
  • Insulin injections
  • Insulin pumps
  • Nutrition Education

Who We Are

Bert Bachrach, MD, Pediatric Diabetes and Endocrinology, Division Director
Randy Blue, MD, Pediatric Diabetes and Endocrinology
Michael Gardner, MD, Pediatrics and Endocrinology
David Goldstein, MD, Pediatric Diabetes and Endcrinology; Professor Emeritus
Amie Van Morlan, MD, Pediatric Diabetes and Endocrinology
Kiran Choudhry, MD, Pediatric Diabetes and Endocrinology

Diabetes Diagnostic Lab
Randie Little, PhD, Lab director

Advanced Practice Nurses
Danita Rife, RN, FNP-BC
Jan Todd, RN, PCNS
Elizabeth Freeman, RD, LD, CDE
Kayla Otteson, RD, LD
Andrea Friedrich, Senior LPN
Chelsey Huffman, RN, BSN
Jolene Chartkov, RN/BSN
Social Work
Amber Huffman, MSW
Administrative assistants
Stephanie Gerlach
Angie Melloway
Shianna Coleman

Where We Are

Children's Hospital Specialty Clinic
404 Keene St., Suite 101
Columbia, MO 65201
(573) 882-6921


Physicians: Bert Bachrach, MD
Where: Ferguson Medical Group, 1012 North Main, Sikeston, MO 63801
Phone: 573-471-0330
When: Twice yearly

Physicians: Bert Bachrach, MD
Where: St. John's Children's Specialty Clinic, 1965 S. Fremont, Suite 220, Springfield, MO 65804
Phone: 417-820-2229
When: Monday & Wednesday of the week of the Third Wednesday of each month

Physicians: Bert Bachrach, MD
Where: Smith Glynn Callaway, 3231 S. National Avenue, Springfield, MO 65807
Phone: 417-841-0228
When: Tuesday & Thursday of the week of the Third Wednesday of each month

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