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Pediatric Gastroenterology


The Department of Pediatrics

Pediatric Gastroenterology

The Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition is an integral part of the Department of Pediatrics in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA and emphasizes outstanding clinical care, cutting-edge research, and training of future academic leaders in the field of pediatric gastroenterology.

The Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Program is a multidisciplinary program that brings multiple specialists together to provide consultation, diagnosis and medical management of children with gastrointestinal, hepatobiliary and nutritional disorders. The GI specialists in the group are nationally and internationally recognized for their expertise in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), hepatobiliary diseases of children such as biliary atresia and chronic hepatitis, liver transplantation, intestinal rehabilitation and transplantation, diarrheal diseases, gastrointestinal motility disorders, nutrition support, gastroesophageal reflux, and celiac disease. Our GI specialists are skilled in the most current and state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for children.

The Pediatric GI Program is consistently ranked in the top fifteen nationally of pediatric gastroenterology programs by the US News and World Report. Each year there are more than 6,000 visits to the various subspecialty ambulatory clinics at UCLA Westwood. These subspecialty clinics include: Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, Liver Transplantation Clinic, Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplantation Clinic, Nutrition Support Clinic, Center for Pediatric Diarrheal Diseases, Gastrointestinal and Hepatobiliary Disorders Clinic, and Gastrointestinal Motility Center. There are over 700 admissions per year to the GI Inpatient Service and over 1,500 GI procedures are performed annually.

In 2012 a community-based office location was established in Santa Monica, CA to serve patients on the Westside of Los Angeles. The Mattel Children’s UCLA Pediatric Specialists office provides patients with access to the same expert physicians at our nationally renowned main campus. Medical and surgical services and ancillary testing is provided at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center, which is conveniently located a few blocks from the office. Information regarding the Santa Monica Location is below.

The Pediatric Liver Transplant Program within the Pediatric GI Division offers consultation, evaluation and treatment for children in liver failure who may require transplantation. Our Pediatric Liver Transplant Program, the largest transplant program in the Western United States, was established conjointly with the adult program in 1984. A cohesive multi-disciplinary team approach is utilized by our pediatric gastroenterologists and liver transplant surgeons, with consultation from a full range of pediatric sub-specialties for pre and post-transplant conditions. To date, over 900 pediatric transplants have been performed, making the program one of the largest, most experienced of its kind in the world. The Pediatric Liver Transplant Program is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader within the field with excellent one-year patient survival rates.

A vital activity of the Pediatric GI Division is laboratory, translational and clinical research. The Division has active research programs in numerous clinical and basic research areas. The Division has several NIH funded research projects in areas such as intestinal stem cell development, intestinal failure in children, outcomes after liver transplantation, H. pylori signaling systems and pathogenesis. Active clinical investigation is ongoing in several areas including: inflammatory bowel disease/Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, diarrheal disorders, genetics of chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, immunosuppression in pediatric liver transplantation. The Division’s Pediatric IBD Center is currently conducting clinical trials of new medications for treatment of IBD. Follow the link below for more information on our IBD Center.

Information can be obtained by calling the Pediatric GI Administrative Office at (310) 206-6134.

Because of the highly specialized nature of the Pediatric GI Division, patients must be referred by a primary care physician or treating physician for any initial consultation appointment in the Division.

Routine or urgent referrals to the Pediatric GI Division can be made by calling the Pediatric Appointment Center at (310) 825-0867.

Telephone Number

(310) 206-6134 Division Office
(310) 825-0867 Appointments for Westwood office
(424) 259-8570 Appointment for Santa Monica office
(310) 206-0203 Fax


Children's Health Center
200 UCLA Peter Morton Building, Suite 265
Los Angeles, CA 90095
UCLA Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology
12-383 MDCC, Box 951752
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1752
Mattel Children’s UCLA Pediatric Specialists – Santa Monica
1131 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 202 (12th and Wilshire)
Santa Monica, CA 90403

Hours for GI Consultative Services:
Tuesdays 9am-2pm, Wednesdays 8am-4pm, Thursdays 1pm-4pm
and Fridays 8am-12pm

David Ziring, MD
Elaheh (Eli) Vahabnezhad, MD

For an appointment or referral please call (424) 259-8570


Chief Specialty
McDiarmid, Suzanne MD Pediatric Gastroenterology

Busuttil, Ronald MD, PhD Transplant Surgery
Farmer, Douglas MD Transplant Surgery
Marcus, Elizabeth MD Pediatric Gastroenterology
Martin, Martin Gabriel MD Pediatric Gastroenterology
Vahabnezhad, Elaheh MD Pediatric Gastroenterology
Vargas, Jorge MD Pediatric Gastroenterology
Venick, Robert MD Pediatric Gastroenterology
Wozniak, Laura MD Pediatric Gastroenterology
Ziring, David MD Pediatric Gastroenterology

UCLA Pediatric Gastroenterology Fellowship Program

Our postgraduate training program is an ACGME accredited three-year training program specifically directed towards individuals interested in pursuing academic careers in clinical and/or research medicine.

Please visit our Fellowship Program website for detailed information.