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Hallmark Health System is affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center, the world's preeminent diabetes research and clinical care organization.

The Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at Hallmark Health System, led by Sunita Schurgin, MD offers the latest advances for treating diabetes and its complications as well as patient education and support services. Hallmark Health is one of 47 national and two international Affiliate locations and the only Joslin Affiliate in Boston's northern suburbs.

The Center at Hallmark Health System offers advanced clinical care for the treatment of diabetes for patients age 18 and older, as well as patient education and support services. These include diabetes screening, comprehensive diabetes care and management, weight management and nutrition counseling. Along with expert diabetes care, these physicians will continue to provide treatment for a wide variety of other endocrinology diagnoses.

Small changes to diet and lifestyle can make an impact on your risk for developing Type II diabetes.

Health Minute welcomes Dr. Bindiya Thakkar, an endocrinologist at the Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at Hallmark Health at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. In this video, Dr. Thakkar will help to define diabetes and discuss causes, prevention and treatment options.

What sets us apart

Our Center is a hospital-based program that will work with a persons' needs and respond to those needs with compassion, caring and knowledgeable decisions. Unlike other hospital programs in the area, our Center gives you access to full-time, board-certified employed physicians and access to certified diabetes nurse educators and nutritional support services. We also offer a goal-oriented self-management and treatment program. All of which is supported by the full depth of services offered at Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital.

Our Center is dedicated to helping adult patients with:

  • Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Thyroid diseases
  • Osteoporosis
  • Other endocrine disorders

The overall goal is to help people with diabetes have a better quality of life by preventing any complications that often arise from diabetes including: early stage heart disease and strokes, blindness or greatly reduced vision, kidney failure and loss of nerve sensations that can interfere with mobility and loss limbs.

Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at Hallmark Health System at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital
585 Lebanon St.
Melrose, MA
(781) 979-3400
Alice DiCenzo, RN, BSN, CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator/Pump Trainer
Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at Hallmark Health System at Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford
170 Governors Ave.
Medford, MA
(781) 306-6370
Rena LaVasseur, RN, CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator)

Diabetes self management program

Did you know that diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the US and that 22 million people have diabetes? The sad truth is 11 million people don’t know it!

The good news is, when it comes to diabetes, knowledge really is power! The power to live life your way starts with good diabetes control. Taking control of diabetes is the key to improving your quality of life.

Keeping your blood sugar (also called blood glucose) levels in the normal range can make a big difference now and in the future. In the short run, you will feel better, stay healthy and have more energy. And in the long run you will lower your chances of having diabetes related problems such as eye disease, kidney disease and nerve damage. Ultimately, you will enjoy a better quality life.

We offer an outstanding diabetes education program that has been nationally recognized by the American Diabetes Association for its excellence in patient teaching methods! Our program teaches you how to manage your diabetes with immediate results that will lower your blood sugar and help you achieve long-term results. We offer outpatient programs at both campuses of Hallmark Health: the Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, as well as other programs and services in the community.

A comprehensive approach

There are many steps you can take to control your diabetes for life. Our action plan helps get your blood sugar under control through diet and exercise and making healthy lifestyle choices. We work with our patients and their doctors to address all aspects of diabetes management, from lifestyle and emotional issues to medical treatments and long-term health concerns.

We provide a variety of treatments and services, including:diabetes education

  • Consultation and treatment with board-certified endocrinologists
  • A nationally recognized American Diabetes Association (ADA)  diabetes education program
  • Instruction in nutrition, medication, insulin and insulin pump therapy
  • Instruction in the 72 hour continuous glucose monitoring (CGMS) device
  • Care for adult patients with either Type I, Type II, or Gestational Diabetes

The Diabetes Management Team

In addition to your primary care physician or specialist, you will work with our team of diabetes experts:

  • Board-certified endocrinologists
  • Certified diabetes nurse educators
  • Certified diabetes dietitians
  • Ophthalmologists
  • Podiatrists

Diabetes Education for Self-Management

To learn and take control of your diabetes, the Diabetes Self Management Program includes group classes or 1:1 sessions that teaches you:

  • What type of diabetes you have and how it affects you and your treatment
  • Weight loss techniques and up to date methods to prevent diabetes
  • Meal planning and learning about carbohydrates and their effect on you
  • Weight loss strategies for both Type I and Type II
  • How to test your blood sugars (or update your meter) and what do the results mean
  • How to safely exercise and how much to do (with more than 25 ideas!)
  • How to prevent and treat both high and low blood sugars
  • How to read a food label and the “manufacturers deceptions”
  • Restaurant eating issues
  • How to prevent diabetes complications
  • How diabetes medications work
  • What to do when you are sick
  • How to deal with stress of having diabetes
  • General healthcare tips for feet, eyes, skin and dental care
  • How to take care of yourself if you have gestational diabetes
  • How to use an insulin pump
  • The timing and correct use insulin

Our services

Our Center helps adults 18 and over who have been diagnosed by their primary care physicians with Type 1, Type 2 or gestational diabetes. We respond very quickly to any woman diagnosed with gestational diabetes, usually within 24 hours. We work together, as a team, with you, your family and your primary care physician to help build the most up to date medical and nutritional treatment plan for you and provide you with the information and resources you need to control your diabetes. The services we offer include:

  • Diabetes nutrition management

  • Blood sugar testing and monitoring

  • Exercise instruction and guidance

  • Medication review and education

  • Insulin administration

  • Travel and sick day planning and adjustments

  • Insulin pump instruction, management and assistance

  • Morning and evening educational classes

  • Gestational diabetes nutrition and insulin teaching

Our physicians and staff


SchurginMD 125Sunita Schurgin, MD

HamiltonMD 125Tara J. Hamilton, MD


Alice DiCenzo, RN, BSN, CDE Mary Ann Tillotson, RN, BSN, CDE Rena LaVasseur, RN, CDE

How to make referrals

Primary care providers may refer patients to the Center for any combination of services they desire. A referral request should be made to the patient's insurance carrier. Please refer to contact information below to make a referral.

Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at Hallmark Health System at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital
585 Lebanon St.
Melrose, MA
(781) 979-3400
Alice DiCenzo, RN, BSN, CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator/Pump Trainer
Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at Hallmark Health System at Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford
170 Governors Ave.
Medford, MA
(781) 306-6370
Rena LaVasseur, RN, CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator)

Educational Classes and Support Groups

Educational Classes

Classes are offered at:

  • • Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford, Mondays from 10 a.m. – Noon and Thursdays from 5 - 7 p.m. 
  • • Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, 585 Lebanon St., Melrose on the first three Tuesdays of each month from 10 a.m. - Noon and 5 - 6:45 p.m.

Diabetes Support Group

The Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at Hallmark Health System provides a support group to people living with diabetes to help them and their loved ones better cope with the daily challenges of managing their disease. People with diabetes and their families are encouraged to attend a meeting to discuss and share their concerns with a Joslin affiliate healthcare provider and each other.

Joslin Diabetes Affiliate
at Lawrence Memorial Hospital
Johnson Conference Room, 1st floor
170 Governors Ave., Medford
Call (781) 338-7759 to confirm group schedule and location. Registration is not required.

Insurance Information

To join the Diabetes Self Management Program; you must be referred by your primary care physician. For more information regarding coverage, please call your health insurance company prior to your first visit.


To schedule an appointment or for more information, please contact us.

Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at Hallmark Health System at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital
585 Lebanon St., Melrose
(781) 979-3400
Alice DiCenzo, RN, BSN, CDE
(Certified Diabetes Educator/Pump Trainer)
Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at Hallmark Health System at Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford
170 Governors Ave., Medford
(781) 306-6370
Rena LaVasseur, RN, CDE
(Certified Diabetes Educator)


Additional information about diabetes is available by following the links below.

Joslin Diabetes Center

Asian American Diabetes Initiative - Joslin Diabetes Center

American Diabetes Association


Running Through Type 1 Diabetes

Putnam runner 300c

Gregory Putnam has been a competitive athlete all of his life – a runner. So when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 28, he couldn’t believe it.

   “Something just all of a sudden happened,” he said. “I was constantly thirsty and going to the bathroom. My housemate, whose mother was a nurse, told me that my symptoms were related to diabetes. I thought, ‘This can’t be true. I’m really healthy. I’m athletic.’”

   Sure enough it was true. Putnam was able to keep his Type 1diabetes in check by lowering his carbohydrate Intake and taking the right amount of insulin to match his carbohydrate Intake." He became a patient at what he called “the place for diabetes” – the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

   Putnam, who lives in Stoneham, has seen various doctors over the years. Most shook their heads when he said how much he ran and told him it was too much. It wasn’t until Putnam came to Hallmark Health that he finally felt that someone got it, got him.  “Going to Melrose-Wakefield Hospital was a tremendously positive change,” said Putnam. “That was the first time I felt someone was listening to me. I appreciate that so much.”

   For more than five years, Hallmark Health has provided an exceptional level of care through the Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate and Endocrinology Center at both Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. These two Joslin Centers offer the most up to date and comprehensive care and management for all types of diabetes in adults.  These include anyone living with Type 1, Type 2 or gestational diabetes.>

   Now 46, Putnam runs about 60 miles a week, both on his own and in races with his running team. The extensive and intense training makes managing his diabetes difficult. He frequently has to make adjustments based on how much he runs and what he eats. He is not willing to let diabetes take running away from him.

   “I’m very stubborn about my running and my competition,” said Putnam, who was recently named the 2015 Massachusetts Masters runner of the year by New England Runner magazine. “It’s really difficult at times to get my numbers correct when I’m racing.”

   Putnam works closely with Alice DiCenzo, BSN, RN, CDE, a certified diabetes educator at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. This fall he began using an insulin pump along with his continuous glucose monitoring system, or CGMS, instead of injections, which has been an ongoing adjustment. DiCenzo worked with him every step of the way. When he first made the switch, he and DiCenzo worked very closely making the necessary adjustments.

   What Putnam appreciates most is DiCenzo’ s acceptance of his running. “Alice really values what matters most to her patients like me, and that says a great deal about who she is as a person as well as what she provides as a diabetes educator,” he said. “The caregivers, doctors and administrative staff, definitely work in what’s important in your life and make the diabetes fit around that.”

   For Putnam, those important things are his family, running and teaching high school English. With the help of Hallmark Health he has learned livable strategies for managing his Type 1 diabetes so he can enjoy all of these to the fullest!

News & Events

  Radiation oncologist Phillip Gray, MD, has joined Hallmark Health and will practice at the Center...


Not to be missed... 


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