Having the best interests of its patients at heart is what drives the mission of the Gastroenterology/Hepatology and Nutrition program at Children's Hospital. Education about the child's disease and the provision of coping mechanisms for both the patients and their families are paramount. Providing information at a child’s level is a focus of our GI program. Professionals in the program strive to remain at the forefront of all scientific developments and healthcare delivery methods within the field and to stay connected to the communities they serve.

The staff of the Gastroenterology/Hepatology program provides consultation and endoscopic services for children with acute and chronic gastrointestinal diseases and complex nutritional disorders. Many of these children are faced with complex medical conditions that require continuous access to specialized child health services.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a major focus of the program. Children who are diagnosed with either Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis can receive the full range of diagnostic testing necessary for the diagnosis and monitoring of the disease, as well as all the nutritional, psychological, medical and surgical treatments available necessary to return them to a normal life.

Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario / Schulich School of Medicine Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic

The New Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario / Schulich School of Medicine Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic provides a team approach to comprehensive, individualized diagnosis and treatment for patients with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. This allows your experience with Inflammatory Bowel Disease to be managed by a team each visit you make to Children’s Hospital.

We combine a multidisciplinary approach with the latest diagnostic methods, evidence-based treatments to develop effective, customized approaches for each patient. The goal of the clinic is to provide focus on all aspects of caring for those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

  • Evaluation and ongoing therapy including personalized medicine
  • Quality-of-life issues
  • Helping children and teens learn to self-manage their conditions
  • Treating complex side effects of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease, such as growth and bone health issues

This new clinic allows us to commit to young people under the age of 18 with inflammatory bowel disease. They face unique challenges, such as growth, hormonal and bone health issues.

Because of this, paediatric patients often need more aggressive treatments than adults. Our paediatric team is the best resource to turn to when faced with these unique issues.

Our team members include – paediatric gastroenterologists, clinical pharmacologist, paediatric nurse practitioner, nurse case manager, paediatric dietitian,  social worker and a clinical psychologist. They are part of a team needed to optimally provide care. Our interdisciplinary approach to inflammatory bowel disease means that we treat more than just the condition; we focus on all aspects of caring, including the overall quality-of-life issues facing our patients every day.

The Team:

  • Dr. Dhandapani Ashok, GI/Hepatology/Nutrition
  • Dr. Kevin Bax, GI/Hepatology/Nutrition
  • Dr. Eileen Crowley, GI/Hepatology/Nutrition 
  • Dr. Melanie Schmidt, GI
  • Dr. Andréanne Zizzo, GI/Hepatology/Nutrition/Transplant
  • Melanie Watson, RN (EC), Paediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Sandy Williams, RN/NP, Post-Transplant Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Patti Geurtjens, RN, Case Manager
  • Jessica Cane, Registered Dietitian
  • Suzanne Ratko, Registered Dietitian, Short Bowel Syndrome and TPN Dependent Patients
  • Dr. Erica Gold, Child Psychologist
  • Erika Clements, Child Life Specialist
  • Brandy Straub, Child Life Specialist
  • Darlene Kristiansen, Unit Clerk
  • Carol Walton, Admin. Assistant, GI/Nutrition


The Facts:

  • First paediatric liver transplant in Ontario performed in 1984;
  • First successful bowel transplant in the world in 1989;
  • First living related liver transplant in Canada in 1993;
  • 3000 visits related to GI and Nutrition seen annually


Children's Hospital - Gastroenterology