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UC Davis Children’s Hospital

UC Davis Children’s Hospital

Gastroenterology and Nutrition

UC Davis Children’s Hospital Gastroenterology and Nutrition services diagnose and manage gastrointestinal (digestive) disorders and nutritional problems in infants and children. We use a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to treat a number of problems, including:

  • Pediatric gastroesophageal reflux
  • Recurrent abdominal pain
  • Diarrheal disorders
  • Constipation encopresis
  • Malabsorptive conditions - food cannot pass properly from the small intestine to the rest of the body (celiac disease)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Crohn's disease
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Biliary tract disease
  • Inherited metabolic and immunological defects involving the intestine
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Allergic enteropathy
  • Intestinal failure
  • Short bowel syndrome

We also treat children with digestive or nutritional disorders that result from other diseases.

Heading up the program is Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology David Kawatu, a specialist in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders in children. He recently joined the UC Davis faculty from Hasbro Children’s Hospital/Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he was associate director of pediatric gastroenterology. He previously was the director of the pediatric gastroenterology fellowship training program at Brown University.

Kawatu is a specialist in treating such conditions as abdominal pain, gastrointestinal reflux disease, Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and celiac disease. He also specializes in rehabilitating children who are malnourished and treating children who require gastrointestinal feeding tubes and intravenous nutrition.

Kawatu completed his undergraduate and medical training at the University of Zambia School of Medicine in Lusaka, Zambia, and earned a master’s degree in community health and epidemiology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, where he also interned.

Joining Kawatu in the Section of Pediatric Gastroenterology is Johann Peterson, who recently completed a fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University. Peterson received his medical degree at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Also on the pediatric gastroenterology service is Allison Wong, who completed her residency at UC Davis and a fellowship at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Rounding out the group is Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Linda Tennyson.

Among the distinguished faculty members in the UC Davis division of General Pediatrics who are actively involved in both clinical care and research are Ian Griffin, a pediatric nutrition expert who has co-authored papers on such topics as nutrient-enriched formula, nutrition of pre-term infants after hospital discharge, and magnesium retention in 12- to 48-month-old children. Ulfat Shaikh, director of healthcare quality integration at the UC Davis School of Health, leads projects focusing on pediatric nutrition, obesity, and patient satisfaction.