Anthony L. McCall, MD ’72, PhD
Anthony L. McCall, MD ’72, PhD, said a major influence in his decision to pursue a career in diabetes treatment, research, and education was Dr. Ronald Kalkhoff, an endocrinology professor at The Medical College of Wisconsin when Dr. McCall was a student in the early 1970s.
“He presented a complex subject in an interesting way,” said Dr. McCall, now the James M. Ross Professor of Diabetes in Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia (UVA), Charlottesville.
Dr. McCall is also Director of Diabetes Clinical Service in the UVA Health System, Medical Director of the Virginia Center for Diabetes Professional Education, Medical Director of the Diabetes Education & Management Program, and Medical Director of the UVA Islet Cell Transplant Program.
“Sometimes when you wear a lot of hats you get a headache,” he said chuckling. “I still perform three to four clinics a week, often with cardiologists because diabetes has many connections to heart and circulatory diseases. I’m a big believer in interdisciplinary care and helping patients over the long term.”
Dr. McCall is involved in a consortium that is working on an artificial pancreas. The group developed an algorithm that is customized, based on a computerized simulation of patients, to run an insulin pump. “It’s the first approved for use in humans,” he said. “We’ve finished two small trials and it has produced good glucose control, with highs that are less high and fewer lows. Glucose averages are in a good range and that’s tremendously important.”
As medical director of the UVA Islet Cell Transplant program, he heads an effort that is investigating removing beta cells from the pancreases of deceased donors and implanting them in patients with type 1 diabetes. “These cells produce insulin but unfortunately, we’re finding this is not going to be a quick fix cure—it’s not as promising as we once thought,” he said. “But it’s still worth exploring.”
Along with educating medical students, Dr. McCall provides instruction to the general public through the UVA Office of Telemedicine. “We have a wonderful telemedicine center that uses broadband to transmit instructional videos across the state, including Appalachia and other economically disadvantaged areas,” he said. “We try to instill better eating habits and educate people about diabetes’ many complications, including hypertension. Basically, it’s survival skills for diabetics, and we’re funded by a Virginia Department of Health grant.”
His outreach efforts have also taken him to Africa, China, India, Mexico, the Middle East and other international locations. “A downside of increasing food supplies is a rise in lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes,” he said.
Dr. McCall has appeared in a number of continuing medical education (CME) programs on Discovery Health, a broadcast service of the Discovery Channel. These accredited programs have potential for audiences of about two million, attracting health care professionals seeking CME credits as well as the general public.
Over his long career, Dr. McCall, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, has published scores of abstracts, chapters, and papers, been invited to join numerous professional organizations, and won many honors and grants.
In addition to his medical degree, Dr. McCall has a PhD in neural and endocrine regulation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His bachelor’s is from Clark University, Worcester, Mass.
He was born in Rockville Centre, N.Y., but recollected growing up “in many places because my dad didn’t have a real job—he was a psychology professor.”
We welcome your comments about this article and also invite you to share your own experiences. Comments are subject to approval. The Medical College reserves the right to edit comments for length, grammar, clarity and appropriateness.
Please include your first and last name. Alumni, please also feel free to include your class year(s). Your e-mail address will not be published.