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July 12, 2024

Began at Home

Washington Township Medical Foundation Welcomes New Endocrinologist

 Jean Huang, MD, grew up in a family of health care professionals who influenced how she chose her career in internal medicine. Her grandfather was a surgeon, her father an endocrinologist and her mother a nephrologist. “That was literally my background already,” said Dr. Huang. 

Washington Township Medical Foundation (WTMF) warmly welcomes Dr. Huang to its endocrinology care team where she will examine patients, determine means of testing, provide diagnoses, and decide the best treatment methods for a variety of disorders including diabetes, thyroid disorder and metabolic syndrome (or known as obesity). 

Dr. Huang credits her family for guiding her along a path towards medicine, but she revealed another career-defining event in her life that happened years later. 

“I went to Africa on a medical service trip,” she recalled. “I thought about what happens when resources are stripped away in a third-world country and what I could do to be the most helpful. It was eye-opening. Medicine offers ways to connect with people even though we speak different languages or come from different cultural/ethnical backgrounds. I knew I wanted the opportunity to make an impact in other lives.” 

Dr. Huang did her undergraduate work at the University of California, San Diego, where she also earned her master’s degree in biology, graduating magna cum laude. Dr. Huang is a graduate of the University of Illinois School of Medicine at Rockford. She completed her internal medicine residency at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center and went on to serve her fellowship in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at Harbor-UCLA, City of Hope. 

As a specialist on the disorders of endocrine glands, which impact our bodies on different systems and its functionalities, she said she finds her work both demanding and rewarding. “I love to dig deep and do my research so I can really connect with a patient. I find Endocrinology fascinating because it is such an intricate system. That’s a stimulating challenge.” 

One such challenge Dr. Huang notes is when treating a thyroid disorder where diagnostic tests cannot fully reflect a patient’s symptoms, and also the management may involve more than prescribing medications. Thyroid is sensitive and responds to the stress or change of health condition/environment/life events. The treatment plan often extends into integrating lifestyle change or stress management. An endocrinologist will look beyond laboratory tests and mindfully explore collaboratively with patients on how to improve their health. 

Another challenge Dr. Huang sees is the early occurrence of diabetes in young patients. It can occur earlier than some may expect. 

“Diabetes can start in the very young and the trait can be genetic,” she pointed out. “While so many are focused on diabetes in adults, it must be emphasized that diabetes can also affect children as young as 3 years and even infants.” 

An endocrinologist generally treats diabetes through a combination of medication, lifestyle changes, consistent monitoring and education. Care is individualized, depending on a patient’s type of diabetes and overall health. 

In her expertise as an endocrinologist, Dr. Huang has found it important to speak out on the definition, or term for obesity, a condition increasing rapidly that leads to diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and other complications which can result from diabetes. She prefers to use metabolic syndrome instead of obesity. 

“We have a different name because obesity is labeled as taboo and if you look into it, it’s a lot more than extra fat accumulating in our bodies due to excessive calories. Cardiovascular complications are also associated with it. It’s not just calories going in and out. Stress levels come into play. Sleep disorders also can happen. The impact of the condition is also way beyond the cosmetic look.” 

Dr. Huang believes it is likely that more autoimmune or allergy development diseases are on the rise and that thyroid dysfunction is becoming more commonplace. Stress and lifestyle can be contributing factors. “Eventually our bodies become more and more inflamed. We know the thyroid is a very sensitive organ essential to our metabolism,” she noted. 

Dr. Huang has received a warm welcome at WTMF and looks forward to meeting new patients and helping provide them with a healthy future. 

For more information on the Endocrinology and Metabolism services at Washington Township Medical Foundation, visit mywtmf.com/services/endocrinology-metabolism or call 510.248.1550. 


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