Meet Our Team

Caroline Steele, MS, RD, CSP, IBCLC
Director of Clinical Nutrition and Lactation

Leah Blalock, MS, RD, CSP, CDE
Specialty: Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, Endocrine Disorders, Prader Willi Syndrome, Weight Management

Katherine Bennett, MPH, RD, CLE
Specialty: Gastroenterology, Cardiology

Jessica Brown, RD, CSP, CNSC
Specialty: Feeding Program, Ketogenic Diet

Shonda Brown, RD, CSP, CNSC
Specialty: Feeding Program, Eating Disorders, Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Stephanie Chang, MS, RD, CNSC
Specialty: Cardiology

Kelsey Childs, RD, CLEC
Specialty: Medical/Surgical, Feeding Program, Pulmonology/Cystic Fibrosis

Debra Chin, RD
Specialty: Early Developmental Assessment Center

Vanessa Chrisman, RD, CLEC
Specialty: Outpatient, General Pediatrics, Nephrology

Amanda Czerwin, RD, CLEC
Specialty: Medical/Surgical

Sue Freck, RD, CSP, CLEC, CNSC
Specialty: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Small Baby Unit, Lactation

Tiffani Ghere, MS, RD, CSP
Specialty: General Pediatrics, Medical/Surgical

Elise Harlow, RD
Specialty: General Pediatrics, Medical/Surgical

Becca Janda, RD
Specialty: General Pediatrics, Medical/Surgical

Rima Kandalaft, MS, RD, CSP
Specialty: Pulmonology, Cystic Fibrosis, Kid’s Clinic

Sarah Kavlich, RD, CLEC
Specialty: General Pediatrics, Eating Disorders

Stephanie Nathanson, RD
Specialty: PICU, General Pediatrics, Medical/Surgical

Gina O’Toole, MPH, RD, CLEC
Specialty: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Surgical NICU, Lactation

Carol Peng, MS, RD, CSP, CLEC
Specialty: Nephrology, Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, General Pediatrics

Kristen Rollins, RD
Specialty: Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, Medical/Surgical Unit, Lipid Clinic, Neurology

Lindsay Rypkema, RD, CSP, CLEC
Specialty: Oncology, Eating Disorders, Ketogenic Diet

Janelle Sanchez, RD, CLEC
Specialty: Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, NICU, Lactation

Janette Skaar, RD, CSP, CNSC, CLE
Specialty: Metabolic Nutrition

Mary Sowa, MS, RD, CSP, CNSC, CLEC
Specialty: Metabolic Nutrition

Colleen Trupkin, MPH, RD, CNSC
Specialty: Medical/Surgical, General Pediatrics

Lactation Consultants

Babies in the hospital often require a special team for feeding. Our lactation consultants have specialized training above and beyond their other distinctions as either a registered nurse (RN) or registered dietitian (RD). These consultants are hands-on with mom and baby and provide one-on-one support and guidance during pumping and breastfeeding. They also train parents to be equal members of a baby’s feeding team.

Experts in Preparing Breast Milk and Formula Feedings

The Nutrition Lab at CHOC is responsible for preparing breast milk and specialized formulas for our patients with unique feeding needs. The Nutrition Lab is staffed with registered dietetic technicians.

Nutrition and Lactation Credentials

Members of the CHOC Clinical Nutrition and Lactation team all have received specialized training and are credentialed for their areas of expertise.

Registered dietitians hold an undergraduate degree, have completed an approved internship program and have passed a registration exam. Many have also earned a master’s degree in dietetics or nutrition science.
Dietetic technicians have an associate’s degree, have completed an approved dietetic technician program and have passed a registration exam.
Certified specialists in pediatric nutrition are registered dietitians who have practiced for at least two years, have completed 2,000 hours of practice in their specialty within the last five years and have passed a board-certification exam.
Certified nutrition support clinicians must complete a national exam every five years and are educated in providing nutritional intervention for patients who have diseases that affect eating, digestion and nutrient absorption. Some may meet the same criteria but are credentialed as a clinical nutrition support dietitian (CNSD).
International board-certified lactation consultants have completed 1,000 hours in lactation assistance, and 45 continuing education hours, and they have passed the International Breastfeeding Lactation Certification Exam.
Certified diabetes educators have specialized knowledge in diabetes management and meet certification requirements from the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators.
Certified lactation counselors have completed a course approved by the Healthy Children Project and passed the lactation counselor exam.