Five-Prong Approach to Celiac Disease

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

1) Meeting Physical Needs

The only treatment for celiac disease at this time is to remove gluten from the diet. For some patients, starting a gluten-free diet can result in improvement in as little as two weeks. Our Program will:

  • Screen children with any of the broad range of celiac disease symptoms who are seen in all specialties at Children’s National
  • Offer nutritional education and practical solutions for patients beginning a gluten-free lifestyle

2) Meeting Psychological Needs

As maintenance of a gluten-free diet can prove to be a significantchallenge, especially for adolescents and young adults, we offerpsychological support as part of our clinic. Our Celiac DiseaseProgram includes a psychologist to help children and their familiesadjust to the lifestyle changes associated with celiac disease. Westrongly believe the mind and the body must be treated together toinsure the best outcome for our patients. Our Program:

  • Employs integrative medical techniques, such as biofeedback, tohelp children deal with the stress associated with their lifestylechange
  • Empowers children to feel confident when explaining their dietaryneeds to others
  • Treats feelings of isolation and depression resulting from theirdiagnosis
  • Creates support groups for children and their families

3) Education and Training of Health Professionals

A crucial component of our approach is our Continuing MedicalEducation Program which teaches the best practices for diagnosingand treating children with celiac disease to other health careprofessionals in the community. Our Program:

  • Increases awareness of celiac disease and its potential formisdiagnosis
  • Organizes educational seminars for all groups of health careproviders
  • Hosts yearly conferences to discuss new knowledge and bestpractices
  • Encourages doctors to test all family members of affected childrento identify anyone who has the atypical form of the disease

4) Community Outreach and Advocacy

Building awareness of the disease and its symptoms among ourpatients and the general public will help prevent the dangerousconsequences of ignorance or misdiagnosis. Our Program:

  • Visits schools to educate nurses, teachers, and students about celiac disease

5) Research

An active basic and clinical research program will bring us closer todeveloping new diagnostic tools and treatments for children with celiac disease.Our Program will:

  • Establish a Fellowship Program to recruit researchers, engage inclinical projects, and create new approaches to diagnose, treat andsupport patients with celiac disease
  • Foster collaborative, interdisciplinary research projects that willincrease the understanding of this complex disease and define newapproaches to diagnosis and care
  • Promote a celiac registry for education and research efforts