Meet Dr. Calvin Wu, triple board-certified endocrinologist and diabetes specialist at Tono Health

Discover how a triple board-certified endocrinologist is transforming diabetes care through telehealth and innovative technology, with insights on patient empowerment and the future of chronic disease management.
April 17th, 2024 · 4 mins
Meet Dr. Calvin Wu,  triple board-certified endocrinologist and diabetes specialist at Tono Health

Provide your academic and professional background

I majored in bioengineering at UC Berkeley, attended medical school at USC Keck School of Medicine, completed a combined internal medicine-pediatrics residency at LAC+USC Medical Center, and finally subspecialized in adult endocrinology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. I am board-certified in all 3 medical specialties and am deeply passionate about thoughtfully integrating technology into healthcare to improve the experience for patients and providers alike

I began my endocrinology career in private practice but then joined the founding team of Steady Health, a completely virtual full-service diabetes clinic leveraging continuous glucose monitoring, telemedicine, and a novel multi-disciplinary care model to provide patients with a more personalized, data-driven, and connected care experience. After Steady Health was acquired by Carbon Health, I served as its Medical Director of Virtual Endocrinology and helped develop and implement programs addressing diabetes, metabolic health, weight management, and a variety of endocrine disorders. My latest role is as Clinical Product Strategy Director of Chronic Disease Management at Teladoc; meanwhile, I enjoy actively seeing patients on the side.

What aspects of telehealth in endocrinology excites you the most?

So much of diabetes is about numbers, and fortunately a lot of that data can be collected and monitored remotely (particularly with continuous glucose monitors), then reviewed at visits to inform shared decision-making. Telehealth enables me to extend my geographic reach and it has been incredibly convenient for both me and my patients, who no longer have to drive long distances only to wait in a waiting room - they can instead take their visits in their office or home. That doesn’t obviate the need for patients to have a primary care provider, and there are definitely things that do require an in-person evaluation, but I’m able to address the vast majority of my patients’ needs in this manner.

What excites you about working with Tono?

I’m excited to be able to seamlessly continue my long standing relationships with existing patients and referring colleagues, and I love that Tono Health is trying to expand access to high-quality specialty care, which is often limited to more populated geographic areas and locked behind long wait times.

What made you decide to go into endocrinology and diabetes management?

During my medical training, I became fascinated by the elegance of the body’s hormonal feedback loops and appreciated that most endocrine issues could be neatly explained through a solid understanding of the underlying physiology and related pharmacology. I believe that being able to explain the reasoning behind my assessment and treatment recommendations helps patients become more active stakeholders in their own care and that makes my job all the more interesting and engaging.

What is your favorite part of working in this specialty?

I love how quickly my patients and I can see the difference a new behavior/strategy or change in the treatment plan can make. With diabetes in particular, the impact of an intervention can be seen in hours to days, and a complete clinical transformation can happen in mere days to weeks. I’ve had the privilege of seeing many of my patients take back control of their health and lives and it’s deeply gratifying work.

What is an exciting development in your area of medicine?

This is a very exciting time to be caring for people with diabetes - there have been many remarkable advances in diabetes technology and therapy in just the last decade or so, and an ongoing dire need to improve broader access to these incredible tools and options. Some notable examples of these advances include medications (mostly once weekly injectables, but with more oral options in the pipeline) that can lower A1c >2% and contribute towards >15-20% weight loss; automated insulin delivery systems with algorithms that use data from continuous glucose monitors to adjust insulin delivery from a pump in real time; and investigational stem cell therapy showing early promise in substantially reducing insulin requirements for people with type 1 diabetes

What advice do you have for people looking to manage their diabetes?

Managing diabetes can be complicated, relentless, and sometimes just plain hard. As with all things in life, though, it’s about balance - we want to normalize blood glucose levels as best we can and manage related things like blood pressure and lipids to prevent long-term complications, but at the same time we can’t let it take over our lives. Diabetes distress is real, so it’s about learning what matters, figuring out sustainable habits and strategies, and using the right tools to not only achieve our health goals, but also maintain them long-term.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy board games, piano, travel, and biking with my family.