Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Children

Zone B, Level 1 First Floor
Paediatric Medical Day Unit (PMDU)
Children’s Hospital
800 Commissioners Road East
London, ON N6A 5W9

Driving and Parking:

Driving Directions to Children's Hospital

Park in P8 located on the north side of the hospital.  This lot is accessible at the Wellington and Baseline Road entrance.

Contact:

Tel: 519-685-8177
Fax: 519-685-8105

Contents

 

Our Program

The section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition offers comprehensive care for a variety of paediatric gastrointestinal diseases. Our physicians work in collaboration with surgeons, dietitians and other specialties to provide patient and family centered evaluation and treatment.

We have several subspecialty clinics, including:

  1. The Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic that 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.
  2. The Enteral Feeding Clinic that provides a team-based approach with a skilled nurse practitioner and registered dietician to the management of children with G-tube or GJ tube feeds. This includes tube maintenance, optimization of growth and nutrition and management of feeding issues.
  3. The Liver Clinic specializes in taking care of children with all types of liver disorders. These include bile duct problems, autoimmune disorders as well as metabolic and genetic conditions that can affect the liver. We are a physician-led team that diagnoses liver problems through blood tests, imaging and other specific diagnostic modalities. When a new liver diagnosis is made, we access our dietitian, social worker, and nursing supports to provide comprehensive care for your child. 
  4. The Liver Transplant Clinic offers specialized care to children who have undergone a liver transplant. Recovery and return to regular routines after a liver transplant can be daunting. Our collaborative team approach, which includes the involvement of a pediatric nurse practitioner with special expertise in post-liver transplant care, will monitor and manage your child’s treatment and progress. 
  5. We also participate in other multi-disciplinary clinics at Thames Valley Children’s Hospital including the clinic for children with cerebral palsy and Rhett syndrome.
  • We are in the process of developing such clinics for other GI disorders.

We are committed to:

  • Keep the patient's best interest in mind in everything we do
  • Generously educate our young patients and their families about their illnesses and coping mechanisms
  • Remain at the forefront of all the recent scientific developments and healthcare delivery methods in the field
  • Remain connected to the community we serve
     

Our Team

Dr. Dhandapani Ashok Physician, GI/Hepatology/Nutrition
Dr. Kevin Bax Physician, GI/Hepatology/Nutrition
Dr. Eileen Crowley Physician, GI/Hepatology/Nutrition/ Clinician Researcher in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Dr. Jessica Woolfson Physician, GI/Hepatology/Nutrition
Dr. Andréanne Zizzo Physician, GI/Hepatology/Transplant/Nutrition
Melanie Watson RN (EC), Paediatric Nurse Practitioner
Patti Geurtjens RN, Case Manager
Sandy Williams RN, MScN., NP, Post-Transplant Nurse Practitioner
Danielle Heibein NP, Enteral Feeding Clinic and Intestinal Failure
Sarah Denomme Registered Dietician, Enteral Feeding Clinic and Intestinal Failure
Marika Vanden Elzen Registered Dietitian
Darlene Kristiansen Unit Clerk
Brandy Straub Child Life Specialist
Erika Clements Child Life Specialist
Carrie Charters Social Worker
Melanie Schmidt Research Coordinator
Rebecah Wyllie Medical Secretary to Dr. Kevin Bax
Deb Tait Medical Secretary to Dr. Eileen Crowley
Janet Goulbourne Medical Secretary to Drs. Dhandapani Ashok, Jessica Woolfson, & Andréanne Zizzo

 

What to Expect

We are a family-centered program. We rely on our partnerships with you to provide the best care possible. 

Each patient is scheduled for the expected amount of time your condition will take to assess and arrange appropriate treatment. Sometimes, unforeseen circumstances could cause delay to you. We apologize if you are made to wait, however we do our best to ensure the clinic remains on time. As courtesy to other patients and families, please aim to be on time for your appointments.

Tips to get the most out of your clinic visit:

  1. Bring a list of questions or concerns
  2. Bring a list of medications and supplements your child is taking with the dose requirement
  3. Check if you need any prescription refills
  4. When checking in, notify us if you are coordinating your appointment with another health care professional.  I.e. Dietitian, Child Life Specialist, Social Worker.

What to bring to my appointment?

Your child's Ontario Health Card, blue Hospital Card, and a list of any medications they are taking including dosages.

Tip:  Bring nut-free food and snacks as well as things to do for your children as you wait for your appointment.

Who should attend?

Your child is the patient of the program. It is a requirement that your child come to every clinic appointment.  If you want to meet with a physician as a non-patient, please recognize that this is not covered by OHIP and a separate appointment for counseling can be arranged.

When you arrive, you will be assessed by a variety of health care team members. Each team member should introduce themselves to you. This team may include a dietician, a social worker and/or a psychologist. We are also recognized for advancing clinical care. You may be asked to volunteer to participate in clinical research.

To get to know us better, here is a description of each team member's role.

Paediatric Gastroenterologist

  • Dr. Kevin C. Bax, MD joined the Department of Paediatrics at the Children’s Hospital London Health Sciences in February 2009. He was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He trained at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He served as pediatric resident, as well as a pediatric gastroenterology fellow at James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children. He is passionate about communicating with children about their health. He believes that clinical research improves Children’s care. He has expert skills in therapeutic endoscopy. He has a special interest in inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract.   
  • Dr. Dhandapani Ashok, MBBS, MD, FRCPCH (UK) joined the Department of Paediatrics at the Children's Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre in October, 2012.  Dr. Ashok graduated from Madras University and completed postgraduate pediatric training in the Institute of Child Health, Dr. MGR Medical University, Chennai, India. Since 1999, he trained as a pediatric resident in United Kingdom and completed pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology & transplant fellowship in Birmingham Children's Hospital in 2008. He served as a consultant pediatric gastroenterologist in UK for two years before moving to Canada. His clinical and research interests are Pediatric IBD, Pediatric Liver disease and Eosinophilic Esophagitis. He also maintains a broad interest in a wide range of pediatric gastrointestinal disorders and expertise in therapeutic endoscopy.
  • Dr. Andréanne Zizzo, MD, MSc, FRCPC joined the Department of Paediatrics at Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre in June 2015. She obtained her Bachelor of Health Sciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. She graduated medicine from the University of Ottawa and Paediatrics from Western University in London, Ontario. Her training in paediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at the Hospital for Sick Children was combined with a Master’s in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Zizzo’s clinical specialty includes paediatric liver disease and post-liver transplant care. She also maintains proficiency in general paediatric gastroenterology and endoscopy. Dr. Zizzo is passionate about further advancing the care of children with liver diseases in the London area.
  • Dr. Jessica Woolfson MD FRCPC joined the division as full-time faculty in October 2019 after a year of locum coverage. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in biology at Queen’s University and a Master’s of Science in molecular biology at The University of Waterloo. She graduated with her doctor of medicine from the University of Toronto and completed her pediatric residency at McMaster University. She completed her fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology at British Columbia Children’s Hospital and did a second fellowship in advanced hepatology and liver transplant at the Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Woolfson’s area of clinical interest includes complex feeding and nutrition, including swallowing dysfunction, failure to thrive, disorders of malabsorption, intestinal failure and cholestatic liver disease. She also maintains interest and expertise in general pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition and endoscopy. She partakes in the enteral feeding clinic for G-tube and GJ feeding and is commitment to developing a focused nutritional program at LHSC. 
  • Dr. Eileen Crowley, MB BCh BAO, MRCPI, DCH, MSc completed her honours medical degree at the National University of Ireland. Subsequently, she undertook Higher Specialist Training with the Royal College of Physicians, Ireland. Moving to SickKids, Toronto for fellowship training in Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, she further attained a subspecialty fellowship and Master’s degree in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel disease. Dr. Crowley’s area of clinical specialty includes pediatric IBD. She also maintains a broad interest and proficiency in general pediatric gastroenterology and endoscopy.  Dr. Crowley is dedicated to further developing the Pediatric IBD program and establishing a Pediatric IBD research program.  Dr Crowley serves as a member of the Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Committee of the North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.  Dr Crowley is committed to advancing the care for children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease in South Western Ontario.

Psychologist

Paediatric psychologists specialize in working with children and adolescents and their families who are dealing with a medical condition that affects the young person’s psychological adjustment or with psychological adjustment issues that affect the young person’s health. The psychologist is available by referral from the team to provide treatment to assist children, adolescents and their families with:

  • medically-related stress and anxiety
  • adjustment to medical conditions and treatment
  • management of physical symptoms such as pain and nausea
  • behaviour problems at home or in hospital related to the child's medical condition or treatment.

Paediatric GI Nurse Case Manager

  • The Nurse Case Manager is a University prepared Registered Nurse who has additional expertise is in Pediatric Gastroenterology  
  • Actively participates in your child’s Gastroenterology team by acting as a liaison between you and your child’s Gastroenterology team members
  • Coordinates your child’s Endoscopy, testing and consultations to ensure they are carried out in the best possible time frame
  • Provides information to you and your child about Endoscopy preparation along with what to expect during your child’s scope day
  • Identifies the health needs of your child and provides information and education regarding GI issues such as constipation and cecostomy tube care
  • Provides guidance to families navigating the healthcare system
  • Partners with community agencies to assist in addressing your child’s relevant needs in the community

Paediatric IBD Nurse Practitioner

  • Masters prepared Registered Nurse with additional expertise in pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

  • Provides health services to pediatric IBD patients in collaboration with the Pediatric Gastroenterologists

  • Coordinates timely access to health care via telephone triage and rapid access to clinic appointments when necessary

  • Education and ongoing support for disease management

  • Medication information

  • Disease prevention

  • Troubleshooting symptoms

  • Disease monitoring via laboratory services and other tests

  • Navigating the health care system

  • Link to community and hospital resources

Paediatric Liver Transplant Nurse Practitioner

  • The nurse practitioner/transplant coordinator is involved in your child's care before and after the transplant
  • The nurse has experience working with children and adults who need liver, bowel or multi-organ transplants
  • The nurse practitioner works with the transplant team to assess and treat your child's condition and provides your family with the information you will need throughout the transplant process

Paediatric Dietitian

  • Each Paediatric Dietitian is registered dietitian (RD) with a university degree in clinical nutrition and a member of the College of Dietitians of Ontario and the Dietitians of Canada
  • The RD provides nutrition support for acute and chronic illness, and the ongoing nutrition education to caregivers and patients for normal growth and development
  • The dietitian can assess, treat and prevent disease/physical conditions using food, vitamin/mineral supplements, and/or nutrition support
  • The RD provides dietary advice and information to patients and families with conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, Celiac's disease and constipation, and also address the nutrition issues of our transplant recipients.

Clerk

  • The clerk will make any clinic appointments that you require.  Make sure you book your next appointment each time before you leave the PMDU (Paediatric Medical Care Unit)
  • If you need to reschedule a clinic appointment, call the clerk.

Social Worker

  • The social worker is available to provide emotional support and counselling to patients and their families
  • You may find it helpful to discuss personal, financial and family concerns that arise. The social worker can give you information about community resources to help with living expenses and the cost of medications.

Child Life Specialist

  • Child Life Specialists Strive to support the emotional, developmental, and cultural needs of our patients and families.
  • Child Life Promotes effective coping through play, self-expressive activities, age-appropriate medical preparation, and procedural support.

Resident, Fellow, MD

  • We are a teaching hospital so a resident or fellow is often a part of our team and may participate in your care.
  • They will be taking the patient's medical history and will be doing an initial assessment.

Research 

We are part of London Children’s Hospital, The University of Western Ontario and The Child Health Foundation and committed to enhancing knowledge and making an impact in childhood gastrointestinal and liver disorders through clinical and basic science research. We have many research studies in progress. You may be asked to be a part or learn more of a research study. You are at no pressure to join and this will not affect the care you receive. If you are interested in learning more or participating in research projects, please ask your team at your appointment. 

Proud Partner with Children’s Health Foundation

Our Gastroenterology Program at Children’s Hospital is committed to ensuring our patients enjoy the highest quality of life. Children’s Health Foundation partners with us to ensure we can remain on the cutting-edge of medicine and provide exceptional care. If you’re looking to express gratitude for your health care team, we encourage you to connect with our philanthropic partner, Children’s Health Foundation. Visit https://childhealth.ca/grateful-families/ to learn more!

 

Links & Resources

Kid’s Tummies, Paediatric Gastroenterology website designed to help children and their parents understand some of the common problems that affect their gut.