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Lisel Hope

Lisel Hope, MD, MPH, FACE

Attending Physician
NYC Health + Hospitals/McKinney

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Battling Diabetes in Brooklyn and Beyond

As an Endocrinologist at NYC Health + Hospitals/McKinney, Dr. Lisel Hope says she is motivated by her patients every day.

“Seeing their blood sugars go from life threatening levels to becoming optimally controlled, leading to decreased risk of eye, kidney and heart disease…keeps me coming back every day,” she said.

It’s why she has supplemented her work at NYC Health + Hospitals/McKinney with a Caribbean Diabetes Initiative, a pop-up clinic that she has brought to Belize, Jamaica, Martinique, St. Vincent, Tobago, and her native Trinidad, which she left when she was 8 years old.

On the trips, she will usually see 500 people over five days — three days of screening, one day of educational outreach for local doctors and nurses, and one day of team-building.

“I have seen patients in the Caribbean where part of the rounds was ‘oh, did your family get enough money to pay for the casket yet?’ I saw patients waiting for antibiotics to treat meningitis which should have been treated immediately,” she said. “Being back in the United States, I have an appreciation for where these patients are coming from and what limited resources they had in their own countries. It’s an appreciation for each patient as a person — an appreciation that is also respect.”

She is sometimes overwhelmed by her patients’ struggles. “They walk here from Venezuela. They walk! Take boats. Get driven. The least I can do is help them take care of themselves,” she said. “The circumstances of their own country are so dire that they are willing to take these extraordinary risks. I just hope that the care I give them matches the care they have given themselves.”

She understands the message of her name — Dr. Hope — and finds joy in explaining to patients that it’s never too late for health to be improved by lifestyle shifts. “You don’t need rehab to know,” she said, “that any day can be the start of a new life.”

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