The endocrine system, which controls our hormones, can affect all aspects of our health; similarly, endocrinology intersects with practically all other fields of medicine. Cindy Bredefeld, D.O., knows that better than anyone. As attending physician in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, as well as director of diabetes clinical trials at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., she is exploring the boundaries of the field and finding ways to treat patients with endocrine disorders.
Bredefeld’s interest in science led to her becoming a doctor—but what led her to becoming an endocrinologist? Choosing endocrinology was one of the easiest decisions of my life. In my pre-clinical years, I took a class with endocrinologist Cheryl Rosenfeld (D.O. ’91); I was immediately attracted to the complex pathophysiology of endocrinology. I thought it was so interesting how a defect in one aspect of a pathway could lead to downstream hormonal abnormalities and ultimately disease.
Many titles, many hats: What I love about my career is that I am a clinician, a clinical researcher, and a clinical educator: I teach trainees of all levels—internal medicine residents as well as endocrinology fellows.
And her career is still progressing: I recently received board certification in lipidology. [Lipidologists specialize in cholesterol and other lipid disorders along with related metabolic diseases like diabetes.] I currently work in the Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute at Winthrop-University Hospital, and I recently became the director of the diabetes clinical trials at Winthrop. Ultimately, I want to develop a specific niche in endocrine focusing on the management of diabetes and lipidology. Given the prevalence of cardiovascular disease, the relevance of the field is massive. My most pressing goal is to develop a lipid curriculum within the endocrinology fellowship that elevates the management of lipid disorders.
Making a difference: I think the primary reason I can make an impact in my patients’ lives is because I am part of the diabetes team. My work as an endocrinologist can reach much further because of our team’s comprehensive approach.
Wise words for current osteopathic students: Choose a discipline that aligns with what you like to read about and explore. Medicine is constantly evolving and fields change. Finding what you like is crucial.