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New Pediatric Endocrinologist Joins Pediatric Alliance

Jadranka PopovicEarlier this summer, Dr. Jadranka Popovic joined the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at Pediatric Alliance, PC, the largest independent medical physician group in the Pittsburgh region.

As a pediatric endocrinologist, Dr. Popovic will diagnose, treat, and manage disorders affecting the endocrine glands including:

  1. Growth problems, such as short stature
  2. Pubertal disorders, like early or late puberty
  3. Underactive or overactive thyroid gland
  4. Diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2
  5. Adrenal gland problems
  6. Disorders of sexual differentiation

"We are a relatively small and primarily cognitive specialty that is truly an essential part of the pediatric sub-specialty field," she explains. "When a patient has a pediatric endocrine condition such as a hormone deficiency or an excess of hormones, we can improve their life through treatment. We do very little procedures; instead our emphasis is on clinical assessment and diagnostic evaluation using blood work, imaging, and X-rays."

For someone to become a pediatric endocrinologist, it requires dedication, passion and a lot of hard work. It's a long process, Dr. Popovic notes. She attended medical school at the University of Zagreb, Croatia. Later, she completed her pediatric residency training at St. Luke's — Roosevelt Hospital of Columbia University in New York City and pediatric endocrinology fellowship training at Weill — Cornell Medical College in New York City. Since 2008, Dr. Popovic has served as attending pediatric endocrinologist at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. During that time, she also held the position of Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine.

Dr. Popovic initially wanted to study dentistry but in the eighth grade, one of her distant relatives, who was staying with her family, was undergoing specialty training in hematology.

"Having him around for extended periods of time started my interest in medicine," recalls Dr. Popovic. "I would listen to his medical stories, witness his hard work and passion, and see how much his care improved the life of his patients. That solidified my desire to study medicine and become a physician."

arly on, she knew she wanted to become a pediatrician because dealing with that age group interested her the most. During her third year of medical school, she had an opportunity to work with a group of pediatric endocrinologists in Croatia. The work was on newborn screening for congenital hypothyroidism, an inborn error of thyroid function. While this screening had started in the United States in the 1970s, during this time—in the mid-80s—it was not being performed in other parts of the world yet. Dr. Popovic was one of the authors on the paper that published the data from the study, and screening became universal in Croatia.

"If that condition is not diagnosed in time—and symptoms are very subtle—those babies will develop severe mental disabilities and have major issues later on in life," she says.

That experience is what really persuaded Dr. Popovic to specialize in pediatric endocrinology.
Dr. Popovic has more than 18 years of experience teaching medical students, pediatric residents, and pediatric endocrinology fellows in addition to her extensive clinical experience.

She continues to be active in clinical research. Her recent emphasis is on Turner syndrome, as well as the use of aromatase inhibitors in pediatric endocrinology. She has presented her research at national and international meetings. She has also published extensively in the prominent medical journals. Most recently, she has participated in a work on revised Turner syndrome consensus guidelines. She is also a member of Turner Syndrome Global Alliance Group. Dr. Popovic serves as a member on a number of committees of the European Society of Pediatric Endocrinology and Pediatric Endocrine Society of North America. Dr. Popovic served as a volunteer for Life for A Child and as a tutor for Pediatric Endocrine Training Center for West Africa.

In her spare time Dr. Popovic trains in martial arts and has a blue stripe belt. She likes to cook and entertain with friends. She is an avid reader and traveler, and she enjoys spending time with her 11 year old daughter.

She was thrilled to join Pediatric Alliance because of its amiable and compassionate work environment.

"The Pediatric Alliance is a friendly group of physicians, other health care providers, and ancillary staff," she says. "The practice also provides a less stressful work environment and flexible work schedules. This allows for a nice professional and personal life balance.

For more information or to make an appointment, visit www.pediatricalliance.com.

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