2021 Top Doctor: Micah Olson, M.D.

Editorial StaffMay 5, 2021
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Photography by Steve Craft
Photography by Steve Craft

Pediatric Endocrinology

Med School/Year Graduated: University of Arizona College of Medicine/2003

Years in Practice: 11

What is your favorite thing about working with children?

I love getting to know the kids and their families. It sounds corny, but I see myself in my patients. And I see myself in their parents. I have three kids of my own, so there is such a shared experience.

Endocrinology as a field encompasses the full sweep of human glands and hormones. In what way does your pediatric subspecialty most differ from the adult version?

Adult endocrinology tends to have a higher number of patients with thyroid or parathyroid tumors that, thankfully, we do not see as much in children. In children, we see a higher percentage of congenital disorders, such as congenital hypothyroidism and congenital pituitary disorders. And in adults, diabetes is more likely to be type 2 than it is type 1, whereas in children the opposite is true.

What new research is being done on pediatric diabetes?

It’s a really exciting time. The technology used in insulin pumps and continuous glucose meters has grown by leaps and bounds, which has been a game-changer for many patients. There are medications in the research phase that have effectively normalized blood sugars without need of insulin.

What are the most common cholesterol disorders you diagnose? What does treatment entail?

By far the most common cholesterol problem we see in kids is a combination of high triglycerides and low HDL-c.  It is a clinical picture that is a precursor to what in adults is called metabolic syndrome, which is strongly associated with both diabetes and heart disease. The most effective treatment is dietary, especially reducing simple carbs. When kids can make those changes, the problem basically goes away. But it is easier said than done.

You’re a third-generation Phoenician. Any favorite local restaurants, shops, etc.?

I love old-school Mexican food. Places like Manuel’s, Carolina’s, Macayo’s – so many great family memories.

What was the last book you read?

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Shelley wrote it when she was 18, which is astonishing to me. So many great questions are raised. The classics bring up the great questions of life, stuff we don’t spend much time thinking about today.

Do you have any hobbies or interests you pursue in your spare time?

My spare time is spent with my family. I love reading with them. We love getting outside, traveling.

“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be…”

I always wanted to be a basketball coach. I love the X’s and O’s, and screaming my head off on the sideline. I get to coach my kids’ teams, so I get my fix that way.

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