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Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: A newly revitalized Division.


Floating Hospital’s new chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Jyoti Ramakrishna, MD is energized to build on the hospital’s history of outstanding care for children with GI problems.

“We’re in a huge growth phase, and there’s nothing but growth ahead of us,” says Ramakrishna, who joins Floating from the faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital and was a fellow in Floating Hospital’s pediatric GI program in the early 1990s.  Since arriving in March of this year, Ramakrishna has recruited three additional physicians and a physicians’ assistant, providing a breadth of expertise for kids throughout the region. “We’re all broad-spectrum pediatric gastroenterologists, but each of us also has a niche,” she notes. “Together, we cover all of the main GI issues that arise in children.” 

Ramakrishna’s clinical focus is on acid reflux, food allergy related GI manifestations and Pediatric inflammatory bowel disease. Other new clinicians and their specialties include:

  • Marcella Radano, MD has worked in the area of food allergies in children and is part of the pediatric  Food Allergy Center. She completed her pediatrics residency at Hasbro Children’s Hospital and her Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. Before coming to Floating Hospital, she practiced at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.
  • Garrett Zella, MD also completed his pediatric GI and nutrition fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and has served on the faculty there since 2008. “He has a great interest in medical education in addition to being a strong clinical gastroenterologist,” Ramakrishna says. He also has roots at Floating Hospital, completing his residency here after earning his medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine. He has a special interest in GI manifestations of 15q Duplication syndrome and other associated genetic conditions, as well as inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Khoa Tran, MD, who finished his pediatric GI fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital in July, specializes in motility issues. He received his medical degree from UMass Medical School and completed his residency at the University of Connecticut.

In addition, the division has recruited a new physician assistant, Jeanne Plasse, PA. “She has 12 years of experience in pediatric gastroenterology, working with chronically ill children who have GI and nutritional issues,” Ramakrishna says. “She is particularly adept at one-on-one teaching for families who must learn about feeding tube placement, for example, or how to manage newly diagnosed inflammatory bowel disease.

“We also were extremely fortunate to have two excellent clinical nurses already in place,” she adds, referring to Linda Sullivan, RN, BSN and Melissa Quinn, RN, BSN. “They are an invaluable part of what we do, taking care of a range of patient needs from answering parents concerns over the telephone, to prescription refills, running infliximab and other infusions and educating parents about home care.”

Pediatric Dietitian Christianna Moran, RD rounds out the division team. “She is wonderful in dealing with the spectrum of nutritional issues our patients face, including celiac disease, food allergies, tube feeding, or a child at home with IV nutrition,” Ramakrishna says.

Importantly, this array of Floating Hospital pediatric gastroenterology expertise is available not only in Boston, but also many surrounding communities.  Floating Hospital for Children has established Pediatric Specialty Centers – through affiliations with respected local hospitals – in several communities to the north, west and south of the city. As a result, young patients can be seen on an outpatient basis in a convenient, closer-to-home setting – and busy parents don’t always have to take their child to Boston to see a subspecialist.

Floating’s new pediatric gastroenterologists have begun seeing patients at satellite locations in Chelmsford, Framingham, Woburn, Lawrence and Easton.

“For patients in these areas, there’s a lot we can do locally,” Ramakrishna says. “Usually a trip to Boston is necessary only if a special test or advanced procedure is required.”

This emphasis on convenience, accessibility and service extends to the referring physician.

“We’re here to collaborate with them on the care of their patients,” she says. “We not here to simply tell people what to do, but to listen. All they need to do is pick up the phone and call us; we’re here.

Also, we try to be extremely prompt in getting back to the referring pediatrician after we see their patient. Patients don’t fall into a black hole here like at some other facilities.”

“We really do take care of the range of GI (including liver and pancreas) and nutritional disorders, and the collaboration we have with other specialists here at Floating is remarkable,” Ramakrishna adds, citing surgery, radiology, neurology, pulmonary and ENT in particular. “We’re constantly touching base with each other to take care of the patient as a whole. It’s an intimate environment that enhances collaboration – including with the referring physician.”  

Having completed her fellowship at Floating Hospital, Ramakrishna was familiar with the environment, and it’s one of the factors that drew her back after nearly two decades at UMass and MGH. “It’s a very special place, the people are friendly, and it feels like I’m home,” she says.

To refer a patient to Floating Hospital’s Gastroenterology and Nutrition program, call 617-636-3266.