The number of pediatric endocrinologists in the U.S. is growing. That said, there’s still a shortage compared to the volume of patients with diabetes and thyroid or hormone issues.
Amy Jean, MD, is a pediatric endocrinologist with UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She has a passion for connecting with and empowering families.
Dr. Jean provides patient-centered care in areas including type 1 and 2 diabetes and weight management. She also provides care for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid dysfunction, and growth disorders.
She completed her residency at UPMC Children’s in 2005. She also completed her fellowship at Columbia University at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in 2009.
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Before joining UPMC Children’s Division of Pediatric Endocrinology in 2018, Dr. Jean was in private practice in Wheeling, W.V., her hometown. She currently sees children and teens at clinics in Washington, Pa; Wheeling; and Cumberland, Md.
Dr. Jean also serves as the co-medical director for Camp Courage. Camp Courage is a western Pennsylvania diabetes camp. Dr. Jean is also a member of the Pediatric Endocrine Society.
Q: What initially motivated you to pursue pediatrics?
A: I have always liked kids. My mom will tell you from day one I was volunteering to babysit my neighbors and work in the nursery at my church. But even more so, my father was a general pediatrician in the Ohio Valley for 47 years. He retired at age 80.
When I first started my private practice in Wheeling in 2010, he was in his last few years of practice. He’s now 90 years old, and when I see families in Wheeling and they hear ‘Dr. Jean,’ they still ask if he’s my dad. He probably took care of three generations of families.
Q: Why endocrinology, specifically?
A: When I did my residency at Children’s, Dr. Dorothy Becker was my faculty mentor. She is our retired chief of pediatric endocrinology and diabetes. She encouraged me to attend diabetes camp, which was at Slippery Rock University back then.
It was incredible. I had never really had interactions with children with diabetes up to that point, and I just thought it was amazing — you’re watching these kids wearing insulin pumps playing games, hiking through the woods, jumping in mud pits. It just put me down this path.
I really liked more specialty care, where you’re with a family and you get to see them and empower them through a chronic disease like diabetes. So, I applied to a fellowship and went to New York City for four years and ended up volunteering my time to work the diabetes camp based in New Jersey. Taking care of kids with juvenile diabetes was — and still is — my passion.
When I moved back to Wheeling in 2010 and opened a private practice, I started doing diabetes walks. With type 1 diabetes, you really need a community. It’s more than seeing your doctor every three months. You empower these kids. We did holiday get-togethers, guest speakers, activities for kids, and held EagleRider benefits to raise funds for kids in the Ohio Valley who needed strips or insulin pumps.
Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your roles within UPMC Children’s?
A: Definitely clinical care. I become alive working with families. As a mom of three boys in the midst of tweens and teens, I’m very comfortable working with teenagers. I’m good at getting kids motivated for wellness issues, whether it’s weight management, puberty issues, or thyroid concerns. I’m very passionate about working with children with type 1 diabetes.
I also took over diabetes camp for Dr. Becker. So, since 2019, I’ve been involved as one of the co-medical directors for the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Camp of Western Pennsylvania. We call it Camp Courage; it occurs every summer for one week in Rockwood, Pa.
We have kids ages 8 to 15 who attend as campers and, once they graduate as campers, they come back as counselors. It has been really rewarding watching these kids grow up and into leadership roles.
Q: What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of your roles at UPMC Children’s?
A: I have two dogs that go everywhere with me: a small Yorkie that was rescued from Kentucky and a senior bichon who joined our family after his owner passed away.
Another big thing is my faith. I’m very involved in my church. I love getting to know families and getting to be part of the community.
To learn more about UPMC Children’s Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, visit CHP.edu/Our-Services/Endocrinology.
From nutrition to illnesses, from athletics to school, children will face many challenges growing up. Parents often will make important health care decisions for them. We hope to help guide both of you in that journey. UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is a national leader in pediatric care, ranking consistently on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll. We provide expert treatment for pediatric diseases, along well-child visits, urgent care, and more. With locations across Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia, you can find world-class care close to home. We also work closely with UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, a national leader in care for newborns and their mothers. Our goal is to provide the best care for your children, from birth to adulthood and beyond. Visit our website to find a doctor near you.