William C. Hsu, M.D. is Vice President at Joslin Diabetes Center leading the International Programs to extend Joslin's mission to prevent, treat and cure diabetes. As founder of the International Programs, Dr. Hsu leads a multidisciplinary team to establish culturally relevant diabetes programs, support local needs and objectives, implement sustainable health care delivery model and create innovative, enduring solutions in countries such as Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Japan, China, India, Pakistan, Barbados, Bahamas and the Dominican Republic.
Despite having a leaner body habitus, Asian Americans (AAs)have higher rates of diabetes than the general population. For fifteen years, Dr. Hsu has worked on key projects that advanced our understanding of diabetes in the AA population. He conducted experiments to demonstrate that insulin resistance is a key feature in type 2 diabetes in AAs despite the absence of apparent obesity. Thereafter he found that the transition from a traditional Asian diet to a westernized diet reduced insulin sensitivity in this at-risk population more than in Caucasians. To explore the social and psychological determinants of disparities, he confirmed the direct relationship between linguistic barriers and diabetes disparities among Chinese immigrants and found that patients from ethnic communities and their family members experienced higher psychological distress. Dr. Hsu is recognized for his expertise in the diabetes field through the publication of key articles addressing the unique needs and the pathophysiologic differences of diabetes in AAs. Dr. Hsu collaborated with other researchers around the country to determine the optimal body mass index (BMI) cut points to screen AAs for type 2 diabetes. He then led the effort at the American Diabetes Association to publish a new national clinical recommendation using a lower BMI cutpoint to screen Asian Americans for diabetes.
As his focus naturally evolved from understanding determinants of disparities to developing new solutions, he led a team to design and implement diabetes care programs in different countries using novel approaches such glucometrics to improve hospital wide glycemic control in China and training community pharmacists to improve diabetes care in Saudi Arabia. More recently, Dr. Hsu collaborated with MIT's Media Lab to develop new solutions to overcoming challenging areas in diabetes care. His most recent publication reported the utilization of a cloud-based diabetes management program for insulin initiation and titration which enabled collaborative decision making between health care providers and patients. The intervention resulted in a greater glucose improvement and more satisfaction of care, while requiring less interaction time with the healthcare providers than the controls. As mobile health technology evolves and becomes more relevant in tomorrow's healthcare, Dr. Hsu will continue to develop and test new care solutions integrating cultural, physiological and technological considerations to diabetes care.