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Because childhood should be simple ...

Joel W. Steelman, MDPlay video biography
Cook Children's Physician Network

Joel W. Steelman
Education:Texas A&M Health Science Center, College Station TX
Residency:Keesler USAF Medical Center, Biloxi, MS
Fellowship:University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver, CO
Board Certified:General Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology

Dr. Joel Steelman grew up a military brat, on the move every three to four years, to a new home, in a different state. Nevertheless, his family roots remained in Texas, where he finished high school and developed a love for writing, working on the school newspaper and yearbook. He attended Texas A&M University both for his undergraduate and medical degrees.

During his second year of medical school, Dr. Steelman realized he had a passion for caring for children. He joined the U.S. Air Force while in medical school, and spent the next seven years as a general pediatrician, providing healthcare for the youngsters of military personnel. While serving at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Dr. Steelman made the difficult decision to leave the military to pursue training in endocrinology--a highly specialized field with only 1,000 practicing endocrinologists in the U.S. today. His work with diabetic children, as well as encouragement from endocrine mentors, sparked this life-altering decision. 

He trained in endocrinology at the University of Colorado Children’s Hospital in Denver, where the magnificent setting turned Dr. Steelman into a lifelong outdoor sport enthusiast, with a strong desire to lead a healthy life. On his rare days off, he could be found skiing, mountain biking and trail running. He loves to go back to the Rockies as often as possible, and just a few years ago, he ran the Pike’s Peak ascent half marathon. He continues to run for exercise regularly.  During his tenure in Colorado, where he met his future wife, Dr. Steelman trained at the internationally renowned Barbara Davis Diabetes Center, one of the world’s largest and most esteemed diabetes medical facilities for adults and children, specializing in type 1 diabetes research. Along the way, he discovered another strong research interest in the area of bone disorders, and Dr. Steelman began to treat children with osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease-- a rare, crippling malady. After completing his training, Dr. Steelman left the West to enter academic medicine at Vanderbilt Children’s hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. Over the next seven years he focused on research projects and medical education.

The birth of his daughter, in 2005, and the desire to be closer to family, brought Dr. Steelman back home to Texas, and to Cook Children’s. Today, he provides endocrine care for children living in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area, as well as Denton and West Texas.  He expanded his practice, after arriving at Cook Children’s, to include the care of childhood cancer survivors, collaborating with the neuro-oncology program and Life After Cancer programs.

As a self-described ‘techie,’ Dr. Steelman has a keen interest in the wise use of technology to improve medical care. Since 2001, he has helped implement electronic medical recordkeeping in two endocrine practices. He still loves to write, and he is a regular contributor to the Physician Perspective  page on the Cook Children’s website.


1500 Cooper St.
Fort Worth , TX 76104
(682) 885-7960
Driving directions
209 Bonnie Brae, Suite 100
Denton, TX 76201
940-243-0104 (Fax: 940-320-3680)
Driving directions
120 E. Harris
San Angelo, Texas 76903
(432) 570-5693
Driving directions


Playing by the rules
Lance Armstrong evokes strong feelings in many people. Admirers point to his impressive athletic career beginning as a teen and culminating in seven Tour de France victories. More influential to admirers and even those casually aware of Armstrong is his 1996 battle with aggressive testicular cancer which has spread to other parts of his body.

Diabetes care at your fingertips
Many healthcare organizations including Cook Children's now have apps providing families with useful health information. A growing number of diabetes care apps are appearing to meet the needs of children and families dealing for this chronic condition.

A new tradition of health
Important research on childhood obesity was published a week after Thanksgiving, a holiday ironically known for food indulgence. The study peers deeply into the problem of obesity, looking at the very roots of the issue beginning in infancy.

'The Discovery of Insulin'
Insulin achieved a significant milestone this year. Ninety years have passed since insulin was first successfully purified and used to treat children with type 1 diabetes.

Being a late bloomer
The stress of being different from peers is a problem shared in both delayed and precocious puberty. The lack of visible changes of puberty such as deeper voice for boys or breast development for girls can lead to loss of self-esteem or teasing from peers.

Do the math: BMI works
Keeping your child healthy shouldn't be a complicated matter. Body mass index (BMI) is a helpful tool to screen for unhealthy weight.

A national epidemic – Expert panel recommends new cholesterol screenings
From cardiologists to endocrinologists to pediatricians, the physicians at Cook Children's are seeing children with adult-sized problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Cardiovascular disease is a national epidemic.

Young adults experience a new high…blood pressure
I am very concerned about newly released medical information that shows a dangerous rise in the number of cases of hypertension among young adults.

Eat your vegetables!
Every parent has probably used that line on their child at some point. Almost everyone would agree that eating more vegetables, as well as fruits, has health benefits. However, few people could list off specific health benefits of eating more vegetables and fruits in the diet.

Start slow and stay loose – children's running injuries on the rise
As appealing as running is either as a stand-alone activity or as part of an overall conditioning program, there are risks for children. Runners, coaches, and athletic trainers are aware of injury risk with running. In addition, this injury risk is even greater in children compared to adults.

Demystifying Childhood Thyroid Problems
Abundant information concerning thyroid problems in adults is available on the internet and in books. However, child-specific, validated information about thyroid conditions is less commonly found in the public domain. In addition, an ongoing challenge exists in discerning the quality of available thyroid information.

Out of the Pool, Back into School
Though water safety is not a primary focus in my life as a pediatric endocrinologist: as the father of a young child, a pediatrician, and advocate for all children; I feel a responsibility to emphasize safety and accident prevention. The pediatric community, as well as most of the public at large, is aware that the incidence of childhood drowning spikes during summer months.

Vitamin D – new discoveries in an old vitamin
While at the beach, the idea of writing about the importance of vitamin D crossed my mind. As a fair skinned person, I learned quickly that sunscreen is the only thing that stands between me and a painful sunburn. Though sunscreen is great to prevent sunburn, sun-related skin damage, and skin cancer, it does have the negative effect of slowing down the production of essential vitamin D that all humans make with sunlight exposure.

Paths We Choose
Direction-not intention-determines our destination. This single sentence, I believe, illuminates a very powerful key life lesson. There are paths we follow in our lives that have somewhat predictable outcomes. The decisions we make, about how we live, whether conscious or unconscious, move us toward or away from these predictable outcomes.

The Role of a Pediatric Endocrinologist in Childhood Brain Tumor Treatment
I spoke to a group of families earlier this month for the program Evenings with Neuro-oncology. I think it was a great experience for all involved to gain insight on the often unseen role of pediatric endocrinology in care of children with brain tumors.

Recent News on Childhood Obesity
Lately, there seems to be a flurry of news reports about childhood and adult obesity and new information about links between the two. The topic is certainly on my 'radar screen.'

Persistent Organic Pollutants and Diabetes
The effects of environmental chemicals (both natural and human-produced) are of great concern within the endocrine community today. I decided to review the current information about this growing problem more closely, and share my impressions with you.

Incidence of Type 1 Diabetes Doubles in 20 Years
Mr. Hurley's book highlights important diabetes medical research from the past several years including research reported as recently as 2009. A trend of increasing incidence of type 1 diabetes has been recognized both in the US as well as worldwide.

Diabetes: Brains Required
CGMS continues to be an expanding tool in diabetes care. There have been a couple of recent articles in the journal Diabetes Care covering use of CGMS. The first article reported successful use of CGMS in adults with type 1 diabetes. The second article looked at factors that predicted consistent use of CGMS technology.

Childhood Cancer Survivors
Endocrinology has a lot to offer childhood cancer survivors. The effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments used to cure cancers can damage several endocrine systems in the body and lead to multiple consequences.

Curious Case of Caster Semenya
Pediatric endocrinology has a strong presence in medical fact finding and decision making in cases like Caster Semenya's. Disorders of sex development (DSD) is the medical term that refers to individuals who don't clearly classify as male or female. Evaluation and management of Disorders of Sex Development has become a hot topic.

Jumping on Childhood Obesity
There's a business near our house that has multiple rooms full of all kinds of bounce houses. While bouncing and/or sliding for nearly 2 hours of sweaty, laughing fun with my daughter, I started thinking about the importance of exercise and activity in preventing obesity in children.

Quest for the Happy Meal™ Toy
I learned a few things from all my trips to McDonalds, besides the extra calories from portions of Kate's uneaten Happy Meals™. I had the opportunity to view McDonald's from the standpoints of parent, patron, and pediatric doctor.

MAGIC of Families
Information, support, and advocacy make a huge difference in the quality of care that I am able to provide to children and their families.

For Parents of Children with Type 1 Diabetes
Children with type 1 diabetes and their families require comprehensive healthcare and support from a team of specialists, working in concert, that includes a pediatric endocrinologist, a dietician, a pediatric nurse practitioner, and a nurse diabetes educator.

The Diagnosis Is Skin Deep
It may be surprising to learn that examination of the skin, which is the human body's largest organ, or fingernails can reveal a wealth of information about a patient's case in endocrinology.

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