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Our Mission


Pediatric Endocrine Society of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas (PESTOLA) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. PESTOLA is dedicated to research and treatment of children with endocrine disorders; reproductive, bone, thyroid, diabetes, obesity, growth, pituitary, and adrenal. PESTOLA works to promote the continuing education of its membership and to increase awareness of endocrine and metabolic diseases of young people from conception to adolescence, as well as to provide resources, education, and advocacy within the PESTOLA Membership Region and across the country.

Our Leadership Team

Joel Steelman, MD 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 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 worked as a general pediatrician for four years after completing his pediatric residency. His work with diabetic children, as well as encouragement from endocrine mentors, sparked his decision to leave the military and pursue endocrine subspecialty training.


He trained in pediatric endocrinology at the University of Colorado Children's Hospital. While in Colorado, Dr. Steelman developed an interest in care and research in the area of bone disorders, and he began to treat children with osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease - a rare, crippling malady. After completing his endocrinology training, He left the West to enter academic medicine at Vanderbilt Children's hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, continuing his work in patient care, teaching, and research.


The desire to be closer to family brought Dr. Steelman back home to Texas in 2008 to Cook Children's. The growth in the endocrine team has allowed him to expand his emphasis in the care of special pediatric endocrine populations in subspecialty clinics including the endocrine bone health clinic, endocrine cancer survivor clinic, growth hormone clinic, and Di George (22q) clinic.


Outside of Cook Children's, Dr. Steelman is involved in pediatric endocrine advocacy and education. He serves on the board of directors for the non-profit organizations Human Growth Foundation and PESTOLA. He regularly speaks and organizes educational programs on behalf of these organizations.


Dr. Steelman is married and enjoys spending time with family, especially spending time outdoors.

Ricardo Gómez, MD is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA, and a member of the division of Pediatric Endocrinology at Children’s Hospital of New Orleans. He is the Director, of the Pediatric Endocrinology Fellowship. He obtained his MD degree in 1990 at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana School of Medicine in Bogotá D.C. Colombia. He did his pediatrics residency in Colombia at the Pediatric University Hospital “Lorencita Villegas de Santos” University of El Rosario, and in New Orleans at Children’s Hospital and Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Department of Pediatrics. He did Fellowship in Pediatric Endocrinology at Children’s Hospital and Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Department of Pediatrics. 

Melissa Ham, MD is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas and a member of the division of Pediatric Endocrinology, providing care to patients at Children’s Health Dallas.  She also serves as an associate fellowship program director for the pediatric endocrinology fellowship program.  While enjoying all of the pediatric endocrinologies and seeing patients with a variety of endocrinologic problems, Dr. Ham also has a strong interest in cystic fibrosis endocrinology including cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, growth and puberty problems associated with CF, and bone health.  Dr. Ham is a graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and completed a pediatric residency at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine/ Richland Memorial Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina.  She completed a pediatric endocrinology fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center/Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.  

Jeanie B. Tryggestad, MD is an associate professor of pediatrics in the section of diabetes/endocrinology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and holds the Paul and Ruth Jonas Chair in Diabetes/Endocrinology. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Oklahoma Christian University. She completed her medical school education at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center graduating with distinction. Dr. Tryggestad completed her residency in pediatrics and fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center as well. She is board certified in pediatrics as well as pediatric endocrinology.

Dr. Tryggestad’s research interest focus on the impact of maternal diabetes on the future cardiometabolic health of the offspring and the impact of obesity and diabetes on vascular function. She has been awarded a 4 year grant through the NIH to understand the impact of maternal diabetes on miRNA expression and protein regulation in infants. She is a Co-Principle Investigator for the NIH funded TODAY trial and serves on the Comorbidity Assessment Committee. 

Dr. Tryggestad’s clinical interests are in the areas of Turner Syndrome and type 1 and type 2 diabetes with special focus on Native American populations. She serves as the director of the Turner Syndrome Clinic OU Children’s and serves as the co-director of the type 2 diabetes comprehensive clinic in youth.

Dr. Tryggestad has been elected to the Society of Pediatric Research (SPR) and serves on the Board of Directors for PESTOLA. In addition to her professional responsibilities, Dr. Tryggestad enjoys traveling and reading. She and her husband have two young girls ages 11 and 6. She also has been involved with medical mission efforts both locally and internationally.

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