Gastroenterology and Nutrition

Welcome to Pediatric GI

The Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at The Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center provides multidisciplinary care in both the outpatient office and inpatient setting.  Our patients benefit from comprehensive, high-quality care delivered by our staff of faculty physicians, pediatric nurses, pediatric nurse practitioner, registered dietitian, social worker, and medical assistants.  We offer excellent general pediatric gastroenterology care with subspecialty interests and expertise in the diagnosis and management of inflammatory bowel disease, eosinophilic disorders, celiac disease, abdominal pain, growth and nutrition, and liver disorders.  We provide family-centered care in an environment which empowers our pediatric patients in the management of their diseases.

Meet Our Team

The Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at The Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center is home to pediatric subspecialists with a variety of backgrounds and areas of focus.  It is this diversity which allows us to be best prepared to care for your child’s individual needs.


Co-Section Chiefs
Wendy Jeshion, M.D.
Elaine Moustafellos, M.D.

Sharon D'Mello, M.D.
Karen Francolla, M.D.
Melissa Leyva-Vega, M.D.
Francine Samuels, M.D.

Denise Crosta, RN, MSN, APN

Pediatric Advanced Practice Nurse
Nelly Gavalakis, RN, MS, APN

Diagnostic Services

Our division offers state of the art diagnostic studies preformed in the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Hackensack University Medical Center’s Center for Ambulatory Services.  Among the array of procedure and services offered are:

  • Diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy (including upper endoscopy and colonoscopy)
  • Capsule endoscopy
  • Esophageal pH probe study
  • Lactose intolerance breath test
  • Small bowel bacterial overgrowth breath test
  • Suction rectal biopsy
  • Liver biopsy (in conjunction with Interventional Radiology)
  • DEXA bone density measurements (in conjunction with Radiology & Pediatric Rheumatology)
  • Magnetic Resonance Enterography (in conjunction with Pediatric Radiology)

Our division also offers pre-procedural preparation through the Child Life Services of the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital.  Related divisions can offer assistance to the young child in learning how to take oral medications.  Pediatric anesthesiologists provide support to our gastroenterologists in administering anesthesia for those procedures requiring sedation.

In collaboration with our infusion center, we offer infusion-based medications, such as Infliximab (Remicade).  Gastroenterology nurses provide education and training for self-administered injection medications, such as Adalimumab (Humira).

The division also offers nursing education, nutrition support, community outreach, and social support services, such as the Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, and Celiac Disease support groups.

Our goal is to identify a patient’s problem, as quickly and as accurately as possible, and establish a management plan to speed each child on his or her way to recovery.  Partnership with the child’s family and primary care pediatrician is essential to meeting this goal.

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