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Celiac Disease Program

Contact number | 202-476-3032

Children’s National Hospital 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 and Multidisciplinary Celiac Disease Clinic bring together a team of expert physicians, nurses, nutritional consultants and psychologists dedicated to developing a national model for detecting and treating celiac disease in children. 

Choosing Children's National for Celiac Disease Care

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

  • State-of-the-art clinical care
  • Meeting psychological needs
  • Education and training of health care professionals
  • Community outreach and advocacy
  • Research

Celiac Disease Basics

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 people 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. Children with celiac disease are also at increased risk of experiencing mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and ADHD, as well as poorer quality of life.

If left unchecked, damage can occur in nearly every system in the body, such as:

  • Skeletal
  • Reproductive
  • Neurological
  • Dermatologic

Although the common belief is that gluten is found only in foods, the protein is used in many everyday products including:

  • Medications
  • Vitamins
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cosmetic products such as lotion, shampoo and lipstick

Celiac Disease Program Team

  • Vahe Badalyan

    Vahe Badalyan
    Director, Celiac Disease Program

  • Children's National Hospital

    Lauren Pavone
    Registered Dietician

  • Dr. Shayna Coburn

    Shayna Coburn

  • Lori Stern

    Lori Stern
    Nurse Practitioner

  • Children's National Hospital

    Joyana McMahon
    Community Education Specialist

  • Children's National Hospital

    Kate Raber
    Program Coordinator