Pediatric Divisions

Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition


Pediatric Faculty

Dr. Reed Dimmitt
Director | Professor

Dr. Nick CaJacob
Assistant Professor

Dr. Cary Cavender

Dr. Adam Cohen
Assistant Professor

Dr. Mitch Cohen

Dr. David Galloway
Associate Professor

Dr. Marissa Gowey
Assistant Professor

Dr. Helena Gutierrez
Assistant Professor

Dr. Traci Jester
Associate Professor

Dr. Rachel Kassel
Assistant Professor

Dr. Jeanine Maclin
Associate Professor

Dr. Diana Montoya Melo
Assistant Professor

Dr. Jose Mestre

Dr. Henry Shiau
Assistant Professor

Dr. Amanda Soong
Assistant Professor

Featured Research

The UAB Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition focuses on research that mirrors our growth in developing specialty programs. Specific highlights include:

  • Our Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Program continues to be a significant member of the multi-institutional collaborative ImproveCareNow (ICN). This collaborative is developed to assist caregivers in benchmarking patient outcomes. We continue to excel in clinical outcomes compared to programmatic benchmarks. In addition, our IBD Program has spearheaded several ICN multi-center research projects.

We continue to be a site investigating a novel medication for the treatment of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). This research will provide the first FDA-approved ready-to-administer oral topical corticosteroids for EoE.

  • The Intestinal Rehabilitation (IR) Program is part of an international network developing a database of patients with intestinal failure. As part of that effort, we are studying quality of life in our patients and have developed a novel quality instrument. Over the past year, we have established an IR collaborative in the Southeast to study outcomes and specific therapies.
  • Marissa Gowey, Ph.D., and Reed Dimmitt, M.D., are studying functional abdominal pain in children. This novel study exams quality of life as well as pain processing in pediatric patients.
  • Rachel Kassell, M.D., and Dr. Dimmitt are investigating dysphagia utilizing the clinical database of patients in the Aerodigestive Program.
  • David Galloway, M.D., is studying changes in the intestinal microbiome in patients with short bowel syndrome and intestinal failure. In addition, he is studying the role of ethanol locks for central venous catheters used for the delivery of parental nutrition.
  • Mitch Cohen, M.D., has completed a quality improvement project to standardize the approach for a bowel management program in patients with spina bifida, and by so doing, increase the percentage of children (ages 5 to 14) to who were continent for stool.
  • Dr. Cohen and Nick CaJacob, M.D., completed a study of intestinal guanylate cyclase C (GC-C) mRNA expression in children. They found uniform levels of expression providing reassurance that GC-C agonists can be studied in children less than 6 months of age.

2021 Publications

High-Impact Publications

Am J Surg. 2021 Mar 20;S0002-9610(21)00105-7. Effectiveness of a central line associated blood stream infection protocol in a pediatric population. John S Graham‏, Michelle Shroyer‏, Scott A Anderson‏, Cecelia Hutto‏, Kathy Monroe‏, Linda Wilkinson, David P Galloway‏, Colin A Martin‏.

Ann Surg. 2021 Oct 1;274(4):e370-e380. Initial Laparotomy Versus Peritoneal Drainage in Extremely Low Birthweight Infants With Surgical Necrotizing Enterocolitis or Isolated Intestinal Perforation: A Multicenter Randomized Clinical Trial. Martin L Blakely‏, Jon E Tyson‏, Kevin P Lally‏, Susan R Hintz‏, Barry Eggleston‏, David K Stevenson ‏, Gail E Besner‏, Abhik Das‏, Robin K Ohls‏‏, William E Truog‏, Leif D Nelin‏, Brenda B Poindexter‏, Claudia Pedroza‏, Michele C Walsh‏, Barbara J Stoll‏, Rachel Geller‏, Kathleen A Kennedy‏, Reed A Dimmitt‏, Waldemar A Carlo‏, C Michael Cotten‏, Abbot R Laptook‏, Krisa P Van Meurs‏, Kara L Calkins‏, Gregory M Sokol‏, Pablo J Sanchez‏, Myra H Wyckoff‏, Ravi M Patel‏, Ivan D Frantz 3‏rd‏‏, Seetha Shankaran‏, Carl T D'Angio‏, Bradley A Yoder‏, Edward F Bell‏, Kristi L Watterberg‏, Colin A Martin‏, Carroll M Harmon‏‏, Henry Rice‏, Arlet G Kurkchubasche‏, Karl Sylvester, James C Y Dunn‏‏, Troy A Markel‏, Diana L Diesen‏, Amina M Bhatia‏, Alan Flake‏, Walter J Chwals‏, Rebeccah Brown‏, Kathryn D Bass‏, Shawn D St Peter‏, Christina M Shanti‏, Walter Pegoli Jr, David Skarda‏, Joel Shilyansky‏, David G Lemon‏, Ricardo A Mosquera‏, Myriam Peralta-Carcelen‏, Ricki F Goldstein‏, Betty R Vohr‏, Isabell B Purdy‏, Abbey C Hines‏, Nathalie L Maitre‏, Roy J Heyne.

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2021 Aug 6;150:110874. Optimal timing and technique for endoscopic management of dysphagia in pediatric aerodigestive patients. R E Wineski‏, E Panico‏, A Karas‏, P Rosen‏, B Van Diver‏, T G Norwood‏, J W Grayson, G Beltran-Ale‏, R Dimmitt‏, R Kassel‏, A Rogers‏, M Leonard‏, A Chapman‏, L Boehm‏, B Wiatrak‏, W T Harris‏, N Smith‏.

J Pediatr. 2021 S0022-3476(21)00758-7. Pediatric Chair Turnover and Demographics. Mitchell B. Cohen, MD, Inmaculada Aban, Ph.D., Michael Artman, MD, Geoffrey Binney, Jr., MD, MPH, Abigail Blake, Charlotte Boney, MD, Lewis First, MD, Morris Gessouroun, MD, Bruce K. Rubin, MD, Mary Taylor, MD, Patricia Emmanuel, MD.

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2021 Sep 9. Intestinal guanylate cyclase-C mRNA expression in duodenum and colon of children. Mitchell B. Cohen, Benjamin D. Gold, Stavra A. Xanthakos, Nicholas CaJacob, Taryn Weissman; Ramesh Boinpally, Madhuja Mallick, David S. Reasner, Christopher R. O’Dea, Hanna Kwak, Pei Ge.

Extramural Awards, Recognition & Leadership Roles

Mitch Cohen, M.D.

  • Dr. Cohen serves on the board of directors of ImproveCareNow and is on the Governance, Nominating and Executive Committees.
  • He serves on the External Advisory Committee of the Consortium of Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Researchers.
  • He is chair of the Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (SOGHN) of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and ex officio member of the Board of the Alabama Chapter of the AAP.
  • He is editor of the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs (AMSPDC) Pages of the Journal of Pediatrics.
  • In AMSPDC, he is vice chair of the New Chairs Committee, member of the Education Committee and representative to Council of Pediatric Subspecialists (CoPS).
  • He was acting chair, NIDDK Special Emphasis Panel for P30 grant reviews.
  • He serves on the NASPGHAN Awards Committee and Past President’s Committee.

Traci Jester, M.D.

  • Dr. Jester is the co-chair of the Pediatric Affairs Committee for the National Scientific Advisory Committee of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
  • She serves on the Digital Asset Governance Committee for ImproveCareNow.

Rachel Kassel, M.D.

  • Dr. Kassel is a member of the NASPGHAN Nutrition Committee is the co-leader in a study focused on the weaning of enteral tube feeding in children.

Reed Dimmit, M.D.

  • Dr. Dimmitt elected president-elect to the Bell Center Board of Directors for 2021–2022.

New Faculty 2021

Cary Cavender, M.D.

Adam Cohen, M.D.
Assistant Professor

Henry Shiau, M.D.
Assistant Professor

Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition Fellowship Program

The UAB Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Fellowship Program is designed to provide fellows with the background and experience to diagnose and manage patients with acute and chronic diseases of the digestive system (esophagus, stomach, intestines, liver and pancreas), including those that are life-threatening, and to conduct research in this specialized field. The patient population is sufficiently varied and complex diseases and volume ensure that residents have the opportunity to become clinically competent in the management of common as well as uncommon gastrointestinal, hepatobiliary and pancreatic diseases in patients ranging from infancy through young adulthood. Fellows will be guided in developing clinical judgement and decision-making skills in cost-effective, efficient evaluation and management of a wide variety of presenting complaints. Our program offers fellows the opportunity to train and develop skills in appropriate laboratory testing, procedures including indications, preparation, techniques and interpretations. During their training, fellows are provided mentoring and opportunities for clinical or laboratory-based research with support from division faculty.

2021–2022 Fellows

Irene Gamra, M.D.
First-Year Fellow
Residency Training: Morehouse School of Medicine

Stephanie Saaybi, M.D.
First-Year Fellow
Residency Training: Medstar Georgetown University Hospital

Gabriel Lugo, M.D.
Second-Year Fellow
Residency: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Ana Coronado Reyna, M.D.
Second-Year Fellow
Residency: State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn

Claire Keith, M.D.
Third-Year Fellow
Residency Training: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Carter Wallace, M.D.
Third-Year Fellow
Residency Training: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Program Directors

Jeanine Maclin, M.D.
Program Director

Diana Montoya Melo, M.D.
Assistant Program Director

Program Coordinator

Bonnie Hawkins