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Celiac Disease Program

Contact number | 202-476-3032
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Tools for Families

Our experts created resources to help families enjoy themselves without worrying about gluten.

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Children’s National is helping to improve the way pediatric celiac disease is diagnosed and treated. Working in partnership with concerned members of our community, our Celiac Disease Program brings together a team of expert physicians, nurses, nutritional consultants and professional counselors dedicated to developing a national model for detecting and treating celiac disease in children.

Our goal is to attack celiac disease aggressively through improved diagnosis, treatment and awareness, using a five-pronged approach.

Celiac disease is a genetic, autoimmune digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food. About one in 100 children has celiac disease, making it one of the most common conditions in children.

People who have celiac disease are permanently intolerant to gluten, a protein found in all forms of wheat, rye, and barley. When ingested by affected individuals, an autoimmune reaction causes inflammation and damage to the nutrient-absorbing villi in the small intestine. If left unchecked, damage can occur in nearly every system in the body: skeletal, reproductive, neurological, and dermatologic to name a few.

Although the common belief is that gluten is found only in foods, the protein is actually used in many everyday products including medications, vitamins, adhesives used for stamps and envelopes and cosmetic products such as lotion, shampoo and lipstick.

Multidisciplinary Celiac Disease Clinic at Children's National

The Multi-Disciplinary Celiac Disease Clinic at Children’s National allows children diagnosed with celiac disease and their families the opportunity to schedule one integrative multidisciplinary appointment, where they will be seen by a gastroenterologist as well as the clinic’s nutritionist, education team, psychologist, neurologist and neuropsychologist.

Our approach is to care for not only the physiological symptoms and concerns associated with celiac disease, but to also evaluate the neurological and psychological problems that may arise as a result of the condition.

All patients at the Multidisciplinary Celiac Disease Clinic will have the benefit of a care coordinator dedicated to ensure an optimum experience in the clinic and care in accordance with published best practice guidelines. Every family will have the opportunity to consult with a nutritionist specialized in ensuring a well-balanced, gluten-free diet and a psychologist to teach patients skills such as coping and adjustment, and resolve tensions related to having a chronic condition.

Finally, all families will have access to extensive educational resources including nutrition education classes, a bi-weekly podcast, web-based cooking videos, peer mentor activities for varying age groups and parents and several other recurring activities to help patients live a happy and healthy gluten-free lifestyle.

The clinic meets on the second and fourth Fridays of each month at the Friendship Heights Outpatient Center (5028 Wisconsin Ave NW, Suite 310, Washington, DC 20016). Additional appointments with individual providers are also available at other times during the week at other Children's National facilities.

What to Expect at the Multidisciplinary Celiac Disease Clinic

  • The appointment will last approximately 2.5-3 hours.
  • Please plan to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time for registration and triage.
  • During the appointment your family will participate in a group education session in addition to meeting with each of the providers individually.
  • Gluten-free snacks are available in the clinic, but many families find it helpful to bring snacks they know their child will definitely like. 

To schedule an appointment at the clinic, please email celiacintake@childrensnational.org.

For questions relating to resources available through the program or for help setting up a 504 plan for your child's school, please contact celiac@childrensnational.org.

Learn more about the Annual Gluten-Free Education Day and Expo, taking place on October 6, 2019.

Treatment for Celiac Disease

A gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease. If you are concerned that your child may have celiac disease, a diagnosis should always be confirmed with the help of an experienced physician. Our specialists have the expertise to make the diagnosis and help families manage the disease.

To diagnose celiac, physicians usually test blood to measure for higher than normal levels of certain autoantibodies in their blood. Fortunately, the disease is well managed with a change in diet. Because treatment for celiac is nutritional, the program emphasizes patient education, and we offer a range of patient and family-centered programs about living with and managing celiac disease.

Our team includes experts in gastroenterology (digestive disorders), laboratory medicine (testing and monitoring), and pathology (disease treatment evaluation). Counseling support is available through the Division of Psychiatry and the social work team at Children’s National.

Newsletter

For more information on celiac disease, sign up to receive our Celiac Disease Digest, which provides helpful information for patients with the autoimmune disorder.

Published 6 times/year.

Celiac Disease Program Team