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Mary Ellen Vajravelu, MD, MSHP
Mary Ellen Vajravelu
Instructor of Pediatrics

Mary Ellen Vajravelu, MD, MSHP, is a pediatric endocrinologist in the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She treats all pediatric endocrine conditions, but she has special expertise in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents.



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Dr. Vajravelu's research focuses on pediatric obesity and type 2 diabetes. She studies best practices for using mobile health to improve patient care and health outcomes. Additionally, Dr. Vajravelu combines her training in epidemiology, biostatistics, qualitative research, and quality improvement to study and improve clinical effectiveness of therapies for children with endocrine-related diseases.

Motivated by the challenges of translating interventions into practice, Dr. Vajravelu completed a Master of Science in Health Policy Research degree with a concentration in Healthcare Quality Improvement and Patient Safety at the University of Pennsylvania. During fellowship, under the mentorship of Dr. Diva De Leon-Crutchlow, she investigated the use of novel and widely used therapies for congenital hyperinsulinism and received an Endocrine Fellows Foundation grant to investigate the impact of pancreatectomy and intragastric dextrose on the gut microbiome in infants with congenital hyperinsulinism.

Dr. Vajravelu’s clinical experience caring for youth with obesity and prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, as well as her interest in health services research, led her to shift her research focus to addressing youth-onset type 2 diabetes, a disease with lifelong consequences and an increasingly large societal burden. At the end of fellowship, she assembled a large retrospective cohort of youth followed in the CHOP Primary Care Network who were at risk for type 2 diabetes to explore factors associated with appropriate diabetes screening, as well as the impact of hemoglobin A1c test results on body mass index trajectory.

She is also a co-investigator on the NIDDK-funded TODAY (Treatment Options for type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth) study and has been a mentor for the NIDDK Medical Student Research Program in Diabetes.

In addition to her research efforts, Dr. Vajravelu has led her Division’s quality improvement work since 2017.

Education and Training

BS, Johns Hopkins University, (Biomedical Engineering), 2008

MD, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 2012

MSHP, (Healthcare Quality Improvement and Patient Safety) University of Pennsylvania, 2018

Titles and Academic Titles

Instructor of Pediatrics

Core Faculty, CHOP Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness

Quality Improvement Lead, Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes

Professional Memberships

Pediatric Endocrine Society, 2015-

Endocrine Society, 2015-

Society for Pediatric Research, Junior Section, 2019-

Professional Awards

Endocrine Society Early Investigator Award, 2018

Publication Highlights

Shah AS, El Ghormli L, Vajravelu ME, Bacha F, Farrell RM, Gidding SS, Levitt Katz LE, Tryggestad JB, White NH, Urbina EM. Heart rate variability and cardiac autonomic dysfunction: prevalence, risk factors, and relationship to arterial stiffness in the treatment options for type 2 diabetes in adolescents and youth (TODAY) study. Diabetes Care. 2019 Nov; 42(11):2143-2150. Epub 2019 Sep 9. PubMed PMID: 31501226; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6804614
Webster J, Vajravelu ME, Choi C, Zemel B, Verma R. Prevalence of and risk factors for low bone mineral density in children with celiac disease. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019 Jul; 17(8):1509-1514. Epub 2018 Oct 26. PubMed PMID: 31230659
Vajravelu ME, Keren R, Weber DR, Verma R, De León DD, Denburg MR. Incidence and risk of celiac disease after type 1 diabetes: A population-based cohort study using the health improvement network database. Pediatr Diabetes. 2018 Dec; 19(8):1422-1428. Epub 2018 Oct 9. PubMed PMID: 30209881; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6249123
Vajravelu ME, Lee JM. Identifying prediabetes and type 2 diabetes in asymptomatic youth: Should HbA1c be used as a diagnostic approach?. Curr Diab Rep. 2018 Jun; 18(7):43. Review. PubMed PMID: 29868987