RDs In Practice – Specialized Diets and Nutritional Management of Gastrointestinal Issues

Boy and girl eating bananas

RDs In Practice is an educational program aimed at advancing clinical knowledge and ideas in specialty areas of pediatric nutrition. All dietitians throughout southern California are welcome, whether you’re a clinical pediatric RD or just have an interest in learning about pediatric nutrition topics. This is an opportunity to network with dietitians and learn from experts in the field. The goal is to offer education on a different topic each time and try to meet a few times throughout the year.

Date: May 13, 2015

Program Objectives:

Upon completion of this program, participants should be able to:

  1. Discuss the use and implementation of blenderized tube feedings for pediatric gastrostomy tube dependent patients.
  2. Identify nutrition considerations and management in children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
  3. Discuss management strategies of gastrointestinal and nutritional issues in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  4. Explore specialized diets for gastrointestinal issues (Low-FODMAP, Specific carbohydrate diet, Gluten-free, casein free diet.

Target Audience: Pediatric GI dietitians. 

This program is also appropriate for dietitians working in other areas of practice as well as registered nurses.

Program Faculty

Katherine Bennett, Clinical Dietitian

Katherine Bennett, MPH, RD, CLEC
Clinical Dietitian, CHOC Hospital

Katherine Bennett is a Registered Dietitian at CHOC Hospital. She completed, her Dietetic Internship at the University of Virginia and began a career in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. Looking for cooler weather, Katherine moved to California and continued her work in neonatology and pediatric nutrition at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach. Katherine received her Master’s Degree in Public Health from UCLA and also completed her CLEC. She currently works in the Gastroenterology outpatient setting and the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

Lindsay Rypkema, Clinical DietitianLindsay Rypkema, RD, CSP, CLEC
Clinical Dietitian, CHOC Hospital

Lindsay Rypkema is a Registered Dietitian at CHOC Hospital. She completed her Dietetic Internship at the University of North Dakota and has worked as a pediatric dietitian for 10 years including Mayo Clinic, Rady Children’s, and UCSF. Lindsay has a wide variety of experience working with GI patients, most recently at a multidisciplinary IBD clinic at UCSF. Lindsay also has credentials in Pediatric Nutrition (CSP) and is a Certified Lactation Educator (CLEC). She has been published in Nutrition Connection/PNPG Building Block for Life and Support Line.


Carol Henderson, Medical AdvisorCarol Henderson, PhD, RD, LD
Medical Advisor, Autism, Nutricia North America

Dr. Henderson graduated cum laude in Human Nutrition and Food Sciences at Ohio University,
Athens, OH (B.S.), and received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH. She previously served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition at Georgia State University, Atlanta and an adjunct Assistant Professorship appointment in the Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Dr. Henderson’s previous work has included both clinical and research efforts focused on understanding the nutritional issues related to a variety of chronic medical diseases including obesity, rheumatic conditions and eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders at both Emory University and Cincinnati Children’s. Within the past year, Dr. Henderson accepted the position in the Medical & Scientific Affairs Division at Nutricia North America in Rockville, MD. As a Medical Advisor, she focuses on increasing the awareness and appropriate assessment/management of gastrointestinal issues/disorders that frequently occur in children with autism.

Elizabeth English, Clinical DietitianElizabeth A. English, RD, CLC
Clinical Dietitian, Rady Children’s Hospital

For the past 20 years, Elizabeth has been practicing pediatric clinical nutrition with an emphasis on gastrointestinal diseases/conditions, allergy/EoE, childhood obesity and nutrition for the pediatric special needs population. She has enjoyed being actively involved in the ongoing expanding RD role of working with chronically ill children. The dietetics profession and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have been continually evolving and promoting the importance of the dietitian in maintaining the health and well-being of the pediatric population.


Patricia.Novak, Clinical DietitianPatricia Novak, MPH, RD, CLE
Clinical Dietitian, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Consultant, Professional Child Development Associates

Patricia has over 30 years of experience working with children with autism, developmental disabilities and chronic illness. She has worked in a variety of programs including interdisciplinary feeding clinics at the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and Professional Child Development Associates (PCDA), Pasadena; outpatient specialty clinics at CHLA ,Sierra Vista Hospital, San Luis Obispo and UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute; and school based California Children’s Services (CCS) clinics. She has published in the areas of feeding, food allergies and autism.

Cindy Kim, Pediatric PsychologistCindy Kim, PhD, ABPP
Pediatric Psychologist, CHOC Hospital

Dr. Kim is a board-certified clinical psychologist at CHOC Hospital with expertise in the areas of pediatric feeding disorders, autism spectrum disorder, infant and toddler assessment, anxiety, depression, and family and behavior therapy. She earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Rosemead School of Psychology/Biola University after receiving a bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of California, Riverside, and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from San Diego State University. Dr. Kim completed an APA-accredited internship and post-doctoral fellowship at USC/Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Kim has several ongoing research projects involving pediatric feeding disorders and has recently coauthored Successful Gastrostomy Tube Weaning Program Using an Intensive Multidisciplinary Team Approach in JPGN.

Leigh Volker, Clinical Social WorkerLeigh Volker, LCSW
Clinical Social Worker, CHOC Hospital

Leigh is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been serving families at CHOC for the past 10 years. She earned her Master of Social Work from Loma Linda University and Bachelor of Science in Human Services from California State University, Fullerton. Leigh works in the Gastroenterology Division, providing psychosocial assessment, supportive counseling, crisis intervention and resources to children and families with a wide array of GI diagnoses, including IBD. She is also an integral member of CHOC Multidisciplinary Feeding Program, has had the opportunity to speak at both National and California Speech and Hearing Association Conferences on An Intensive Multidisciplinary Therapy Model for Complex Pediatric Feeding Disorders and Gastrostomy tube weaning, and recently coauthored Successful Gastrostomy Tube Weaning Program Using an Intensive Multidisciplinary Team Approach in JPGN.

April Crosby
Mom of patient on blenderized tube feeding

Three years ago when I became pregnant with my one and only baby boy, it was my plan to breastfeed until he was on solid foods. When he was born prematurely with neurological issues and unable to swallow without aspiration- I had to shift my perspective of the natural, typical bonding and nurturing of my baby boy. Unable to breastfeed any longer, I did the next best thing I could for him- I pumped breast milk for over two years, and had to supplement it with formula. My son had a history of not being able to stomach formula, and had also developed severe acid reflux. I was determined to provide him with breast milk until he was completely on real food- the Blended Diet. Being able to choose and prepare my son’s food (as any parent does) on a daily basis, and see the hugely positive impact it had on his well-being and overall health has reinstated that deeply embedded, natural desire to nurture my son back to health. Since being on the blended real foods, it has transformed his world- he is happier and has more energy than ever before. He is learning to eat orally and I believe that his diet has played a huge role in those positive developments as well.

Julie H. Lee
Mom of patient on blenderized tube feeding

We started the blenderized diet for Noah back in February of 2014 because after outgrowing his preemie formula, the next step was premixed shakes/drinks/etc. such as Peptamen and PediaSure. While we understood the function of Noah needing all of his calories and nutrients, I wasn’t a fan of the second ingredient being sugar. Noah’s brother and sister were on an all Organic, Non-GMO, no meat/dairy, gluten free, fresh and clean diet and I didn’t feel it was fair for our “sickest” child to have to eat processed foods. That’s when we had the thought of, “well why can’t Noah eat what the others are eating?” which led us to Katherine and the start of blenderized feedings. Although his siblings have been introduced to dairy, meats, and gluten, Noah continues to eat a clean diet with his food being freshly prepared every morning and is never frozen. We have seen a tremendous change in him since starting the blenderized diet and he seems to be benefitting from the fresh ingredients and good organic food.

Podium Presentations

Exploring Specialized Diets for Gastrointestinal Issues Panel Discussion

Round Table Discussions

  1. Discussing the psychosocial aspects of IBD – Leigh Volker, LCSW
  2. A Family’s perspective on blenderized diets – April Crosby & Julie H. Lee
  3. Insight to challenges and strategies of food refusal with Autism –  Cindy Kim, PhD, ABPP & Patricia Novak, MPH, RD, CLE


CHOC Hospital
1201 West La Veta Ave.
Clinic Building (CHOC West)
Harold Wade Education Center-2nd floor
Orange, CA 92868

Phone:  714-509-3238 or email: rdsinpractice@choc.org