July 13, 2017
Tulane Health System has opened the area’s first dedicated center for pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (PIBD) patients at Tulane Lakeside Hospital for Women and Children in Metairie. The center offers complete care for children with chronic disorders that cause pain, swelling and inflammation of the small and large intestine such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
“This is the first clinic of its kind in Louisiana,” said Dr. Uwe Blecker, section chief of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at Tulane University School of Medicine. “Bowel disease is so much more than just chronic tummy trouble, which is why our center provides expert care to treat every aspect of inflammatory bowel disease by combining medical, nutritional, emotional and social support.”
The Tulane Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center has a multidisciplinary care team located together in a convenient setting, so there is no need to make multiple appointments with multiple specialists. The team consists of a pediatric gastroenterologist, nurse coordinator, dietician, psychiatrist, psychologist, and social worker. The care team works together to create an individualized treatment plan for each patient that may include medication, nutrition therapy, counseling, and social support. The Center also provides access to clinic trials for some patients.
According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, there may be as many as 80,000 children in the United States with inflammatory bowel disease. In children, inflammatory bowel disease needs specialized, life-long care. The transition from childhood to a young adult is a critical time for anyone with a chronic condition like PIBD. Tulane’s PIBD center makes that transition seamless by equipping young patients to understand the importance of continuing to monitor their condition and connecting them with an adult gastroenterologist that understands their unique needs and medical history.
The creation of Tulane’s dedicated PIBD center was the concept of Drs. Uwe Blecker and Stacy Drury. Dr. Blecker is a board-certified in general pediatrics and pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in medical sciences in 1986, Dr. Blecker earned his medical degree magna cum laude from Free University of Brussels, Belgium, in 1990. He then completed a pediatric residency from at Academic Children's Hospital in Brussels, followed by pediatric gastroenterology fellowships at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia and Wyler Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago. Dr. Blecker has served as co-principal investigator or principal investigator for numerous studies and is the author of more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed publications, four books, six book chapters and nearly 300 communications at national and international meetings.
Dr. Stacy Drury is board certified in child and adolescent psychiatry. Her research focuses on the interaction between genetics, early life experiences and stress response systems and how they shape the long-term health and development of children. She is the vice chair of research in Pediatrics at Tulane, the associate director of the Tulane Brain Institute and the director of Tulane’s Behavioral and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Laboratory. Her clinical interest is focused on addressing the mental health needs of children with chronic illnesses. Dr. Drury received her MD and her PhD in genetics from Louisiana State University Medical Center and completed her residency in child and adolescent psychiatry at Tulane University School of Medicine. She directs numerous studies focused on early childhood health and development and the role of the early environment, including the family, on child health trajectories.