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Staff Spotlight: Stella Lopez, PsyD

Health Psychologist

Dr. Lopez joins the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence (DCOE) care team to support people as they navigate this often overwhelming and frustrating disease.  Specializing in child and family psychology, she provides bilingual therapy (English and Spanish) and takes pleasure in helping people of all ages to achieve measurable outcomes. 

- Favorite Band: Maná - Mexican pop rock band
- Favorite Movie: All of the Marvel films
- Activities: Hiking, biking and swimming
- Enjoys listening to podcasts
- Best Part of New England: The seasons

Dr. Lopez has experience living in various regions of the US and abroad. Her doctoral internship was at UMass Memorial’s Community Health Link Youth & Family Services and she’s resided in Worcester for the past 5 years. 

“We’re excited to have her join the Diabetes Center of Excellence because she has broad training across the lifespan and can work with our young adult patients seamlessly as they transition from pediatric to adult care,” said Kristin L MacGregor, PhD, Director of Health Psychology at UMass Memorial Medical Center. “She’s a wonderful addition to our growing health psychology team.

Why did you choose diabetes?  

“There’s tremendous potential for people living with both type 1 and type 2 to make minor modifications yet experience dramatic improvements,” says Dr. Lopez.  “I’ve supported many people who were feeling helpless and we worked together to successfully lower blood sugars into a healthy range.”

The American Diabetes Association recommends integrating behavioral health in diabetes care.  The UMass DCOE is one of a small number of diabetes centers in the United States which offers behavioral psychologists as part of the adult and pediatric care team. 

What makes the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence special? 

The team approach applied by the UMass DCOE to personalize care for each individual living with either type 1 diabetes (T1D) or type 2 diabetes (T2D) is something that Dr. Lopez appreciates.  “Discussing the needs of each patient amongst the staff to develop a comprehensive care plan is very different from other places I’ve worked,” she said.  “Communicating with the endocrinologists, nurse practitioners, diabetes educators, social work, child life specialists, and all of the specialists within the DCOE to develop a cohesive strategy is a huge benefit for the patients.”

Helping all people living with diabetes achieve their goals

Training and experience taught Dr. Lopez that each age group encounters unique challenges.  She’s able to provide proper guidance and support for those in each developmental group.  

“Burnout is common in people with T1D,” says Dr. Lopez. “But all people must often cope with anxiety, and many struggle to incorporate necessary diabetes management into their busy and stressful lives.” 

Dr. Lopez helps people create manageable and S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely).  “Once I hear what they’re looking to achieve and determine the obstacles, we begin by incorporating small changes,” she said.  “That’s when we see the most progress.  Most people know what they need to do, however, putting it into action is not easy.”

How to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lopez

Learn more about the Behavioral Health Care program at the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence here.  Schedule a consultation by calling (508) 334-3206 or ask your care team for a referral.