History of Diabetes Care at Mount Sinai

The Mount Sinai Diabetes Center has a long and esteemed history of outstanding clinical care, research, and education. Our continued commitment to our patients and our community grows out of this longstanding tradition.

The first standard test for detecting sugar in the urine was devised by Mount Sinai’s Dr. Julius Rudisch in 1875. In 1917, under the direction of Dr. Arthur Bookman, a Diabetes Clinic was formally established at The Mount Sinai Hospital, "to give intensive treatment along the most scientific lines to patients suffering from diabetes, nephritis [kidney disease], and other chronic disorders."

At that time, the only treatment used for diabetes was severe dieting, allowing patients to eat just enough food for their bodies to metabolize. As a result, most patients died from malnutrition within a year of beginning ‘therapy.’ In 1922, the function of insulin production in the pancreas was discovered by Canadian physicians and a viable treatment for diabetes was developed.

In 1946, Mount Sinai Diabetes Clinic Director Dr. Henry Dolger, who also founded the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, published a controversial paper stating that injected insulin only treated the symptoms of diabetes, but did not explain its root cause. In the paper, Dolger also identified the correlation between the duration of diabetic disease and its negative effect on vision. This paper was responsible for prodding physicians internationally to continue their research into the cause of diabetes and to develop better treatment strategies.

In the 1960s, Rosalyn Yalow, Ph.D., and Solomon Berson, MD, both joined the faculty of Icahn School of Medicine. They had developed the radioimmunoassay (RIA), a groundbreaking technique that enabled doctors to measure insulin and other hormones in the blood. Dr. Yalow went on to win the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1977 for their discoveries.

Another milestone was reached when Max Ellenberg, a Mount Sinai specialist in the neurological complications of diabetes, wrote what would later become the ’bible‘ of diabetes care: ‘Diabetes Mellitus: Theory and Practice’ together with Harold Rifkin. In 1974, Dr. Ellenberg became president of the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

In later years, Mount Sinai physician Stanley Mirsky championed diabetes self-management and wrote the best-selling ‘Diabetes Survival Guide: Understanding the Facts about Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention’ for patients. His legacy lives on in the Dr. Stanley Mirsky Education Unit, which is the backbone for Mount Sinai’s ADA-recognized Center of Excellence in Diabetes Self-Management Education with the largest number of sites in the New York Metro area.

As head of the Endocrinology division from 2005 to 2011, Dr. Derek LeRoith redefined Mount Sinai’s role as an international point of reference in research and clinical care. A world-renowned expert on diabetes and cancer, he has authored more than 500 peer-reviewed articles and continues to inspire as the Director of Research for the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease.

Today, Dr. Yaron Tomer, Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease and an expert on autoimmunity in thyroid disease and diabetes, is working to further expand the Diabetes Center. The Center’s strong focus on patient care and education is maintained by Dr. Ronald Tamler, Clinical Director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes Center. Dr. Tamler’s vision of patient empowerment is reflected in his background as a certified diabetes educator (CDE) and nutrition-support physician.

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Tel: 212-241-3422
Fax: 212-423-0508

Mount Sinai Diabetes Center
5 East 98th Street, 3rd floor
New York, NY 10029