Vivian Pao, 34

Endocrinologist, St. Joseph Medical Center When people drop weight without trying, when their hearts race for no reason, when they've got the shakes or their thirst is weirdly unquenchable -- Vivian Pao might discover the reason in their hormones, a wayward thyroid. "People can't put a finger on [what's wrong]. They just don't feel right," Pao says. "Patients tend to feel better with what I do to them. That's very rewarding." Pao spends about half of her time treating diabetes, which is becoming more common because of the obesity epidemic. Though diabetes is a hormone disease, it can wreak havoc with other parts of the body. "It's a disease with humongous ramifications," she says. "I can prevent all of that if I can get them treated well." When she's not working, Pao, who's married and lives in Towson, likes to spend time with her kids, hitting museums and parks. "I would spend every other free moment I have with them," she says. "They make life interesting, and they're only young once."
Doug Kapustin, Special to The Baltimore Sun
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