Mitchell H. Katz, M.D. is the director of the CHOC Children’s Multidisciplinary Feeding Program. He is board certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Gastroenterology and is concurrently director of CHOC’s division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. He is medical director of CHOC’s Specialty Ambulatory Care Services. Dr. Katz earned his medical degree from State University of New York at Downstate Medical School. He did his internship and residency at Mt. Sinai Hospital and was a fellow in pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition at the University of California, San Francisco.
The Multidisciplinary Feeding Program at CHOC Children’s utilizes a special team approach to the treatment of children with complex feeding problems. The program’s outpatient evaluation program provides families with resources and guidance on their child’s ongoing feeding or swallowing delays or disorders. The 19-day inpatient feeding program has become a model for feeding programs across the country and involves three family feeding therapy sessions a day, as well as daily visits with members of the program’s 16-person team. Since it started in 2003, the inpatient program has served more than 100 patients with a vast array of feeding problems. Most of he children evaluated were receiving nutrition through a gastrostomy tube or at great risk of having to have a tube inserted. Other children had extremely disordered feeding behaviors.
“The program is comprised of an amazing group of professionals who work together to truly change lives,” says Dr. Katz. “As several families have put it, ‘we have changed lives one forkful or spoonful at a time.’”
Looking to the future, the demands on the Program will grow with persistent needs for the services and expertise that it provides. The mission of and the challenge for this program will be to continue to strive to meet these needs in an individualized fashion. No two children or their families are the same and they should be treated as their needs require, utilizing the different disciplines available in the members of the Program.
”It is my hope that the program will continue to grow so that we can better meet the needs of our patients and their families,” says Dr. Katz. “As we grow we must assure our continued pursuit of excellence in the compassionate care that we now provide. As we increase our clinical commitment, we also must be the leaders and teachers of our professional community across the country through ongoing research and educational efforts.”
He adds, “When I contemplate the struggles that families have when they are faced with a child with disordered feeding, I realize that they are faced with such stress multiple times per day, day in and day out with no end in sight. Sure, we all have issues with getting our children to eat but these families look at perceived failure at every meal and snack. The opportunity to change this dynamic is the greatest professional gift that I can give. To paraphrase something once said to me, ‘Now these families can argue about other things besides meals’. That brings such joy to me.”