Melrose Free Press
July 18, 2013
By Jessica Sacco
There’s a new Joslin Diabetes Affiliate Center at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital — Hallmark Health System’s second location to open in the area.
Joslin Diabetes Center is considered the world’s top diabetes research and clinical care organization. It’s dedicated to ensuring people with diabetes have long, healthy lives while working toward finding a cure.
“Hallmark really wanted to do something to provide the best quality of care, [so] we went to the best,” said Melissa Roberto, Hallmark Health’s director of ambulatory services, of partnering with Joslin.
The new center opened at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital in April, with a ribbon-cutting event on June 28.
It offers the latest advances for treating diabetes as well as patient education and support services for adults 18 and older.
These include diabetes screenings, care and management, prevention and treatment, nutritional counseling, medication management and more.
A board-certified endocrinologist, diabetes nurse educators, registered dietitians and other medical professionals are readily available at the center for patients in need of their services.
This is the second diabetes center location for Hallmark Health. They opened their first Joslin affiliate at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford in 2011.
Roberto said the organization wanted to partner with Joslin Diabetes given the number of people affected by Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
She told the Free Press that in Hallmark Health’s service area alone, there are an estimated 20,000-plus people with diabetes. That doesn’t take into account those who are living with the disease but haven’t been diagnosed.
“It truly is an epidemic,” Roberto said.
She added that since opening the diabetes center in Medford, the hospital has seen a significant increase in the number of patients staff are able to treat.
“We’ve been growing and we realized we needed to have a second location with additional physicians,” Roberto said.
Hallmark Health’s Dr. Sunita Schurgin said having this diabetes center at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital will give patients access to other resources — like a kidney specialist, cardiologist and educators.
The affiliate provides these services at a single nearby location, for a one-stop shopping experience.
“Because it is a chronic disease that requires repeated visits, it’s hard for patients to go into [Boston],” Schurgin said. “Even though it’s not far by miles, it’s a hassle. By being in the community, people feel much more comfortable coming out and having their regular checks. So, that’s a huge advantage that we’re local.”
Roberto added that this team-like approach to treatment is essential in assisting diabetes patients in their journey with the disease.
“When someone is diagnosed with diabetes it’s life-altering,” she said. “It’s a lot of behavioral changes. They not only need medical support, they need education, emotional support. Diabetes and Joslin go hand-in-hand, and you don’t have to go to Boston anymore.”