Jon Oden is both physician and patient, which gives him a special insight in his role as associate professor of pediatric endocrinology at Arkansas Children’s.
Oden is the section chief of the Pediatric Endocrine, Diabetes and Obesity Division. His clinical practice includes seeing children in an outpatient and inpatient setting and he is working with both the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s staff to build a stronger program, including expansions of clinic space, nursing staff and community outreach.
Oden is uniquely positioned to know better than most about the needs of diabetics.
“I have diabetes myself and wanted to share my experiences with my patients,” Oden said.
The goals of the division are to provide consultation and clinical care for children and adolescents with a broad spectrum of endocrine disorders and to advance research that will improve the quality of life for children affected by endocrine disease.
Additionally, Oden works with the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute to examine its summer camp for diabetes programs — determining if it is an effective measure to help families and patients learn about their disease and improve outcomes.
Oden is actively involved in teaching residents and students about the field of Endocrinology and attempting to open a new fellowship program within the Endocrine Division.
He is also involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Oden, who earned his medical degree and served his residency at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, finds that meeting productivity metrics is the most challenging part of the job while patient care is the most rewarding. He said his most memorable moments always come from the initial visit for children newly diagnosed with diabetes.
It is a bittersweet meeting to discuss the difficulties in treating the disease, but also the important advances in its treatment, Oden said.
By explaining to children the various treatment options available, Oden gives them not just information but hope and a path forward in living with diabetes.