Our Unique Approach

Children’s is home to one of the leading pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition programs in the country. In 2020-21, U.S. News & World Report ranked our gastroenterology and GI surgery program as one of the best in the nation. Our multidisciplinary team combines expertise in pediatric gastroenterology with advanced diagnostic and therapeutic technologies to provide outstanding care to children with digestive problems.

Why is Children’s the best choice for pediatric gastroenterology?

  • Our team manages more than 3,150 inpatient and 41,000 outpatient gastroenterology visits each year, which is among the highest of freestanding children's hospitals in the country.
  • We are the largest enroller of patients in ImproveCareNow, a national outcomes and quality registry for children with inflammatory bowel disease. Children's has enrolled more than 1,300 children in the registry, which is 89 percent of eligible patients.
  • We offer the most specialized programs in the Southeast, including neurogastroenterology and motility, ERCP, aerodigestive, fecal microbiota transplantation and more.
  • Our Advanced Pancreatic Care Program is the only multidisciplinary pancreas care center in the Southeast and one of nine pediatric programs to be recognized for the treatment of pancreatitis by the National Pancreas Foundation.

What We Treat

The specialized gastroenterology (GI) team at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta treats and manages general and complex pediatric gastrointestinal and digestive conditions, including:

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain
  • Celiac disease
  • Clostridium difficile (C. diff)
    Congenital metabolism problems
  • Constipation/diarrhea
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Feeding problems
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Helicobacter pylori infection
  • Hirschsprung’s disease
  • Pancreatitis (acute and chronic)
  • Poor growth
  • Reflux
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Vomiting

We also treat liver and nutritional disorders, including:

  • A1AD
  • Acute liver failure
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Biliary atresia
  • Byer’s disease
  • Cirrhosis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Enlarged liver
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Hepatic encephalopathy
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Intrahepatic cholestasis (I, II and II)
  • Jaundice
  • Liver abscess
  • Liver cancer
  • Liver transplant
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Sclerosing cholangitis
  • Wilson’s disease

Services We Offer

We offer a number of specialized services for children and teenagers with gastrointestinal, liver and nutritional disorders, including:

Aerodigestive Center

Our team is dedicated to finding the right answers and treatments for children with complex airway and digestive tract disorders.

Learn more about our Aerodigestive Center

Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) and gastroenteritis services

We offer consultations from a gastroenterologist, allergist and nutritionist, all in the same clinic. Some of the conditions we treat include allergic gastrointestinal disease (gastroenteritis), eosinophilic esophagitis and food allergies that affect the gastrointestinal tract.

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP)

Our experts offer a specialized technique to treat disorders of the liver and pancreas, as well as the bile and pancreatic ducts.

Learn more about our ERCP program

Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT)

Fecal microbiota transplantation is a procedure that transfers a healthy donor’s stool into a recipient’s digestive system to eliminate “bad’’ bacteria such as Clostridium difficile (C. diff). The procedure replaces the infectious bacteria with healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.

Contact Chris Fritzen at 404-785-3886 for more information.

Read Avery’s story

General gastroenterology services

We provide general care to gastroenterology patients. We also have specialists who treat many conditions.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) care

Inflammatory bowel disease or IBD is a chronic disorder that causes an inflammation in the small and large intestines. IBD is one of the most common chronic diseases among children and teenagers.

Learn more about IBD care

Intestinal Rehabilitation Program

We provide comprehensive care for children with intestinal failure and short bowel syndrome. We offer a full range of services, from medical to nutritional and surgical management.

Learn more about our Intestinal Rehab Program

Pancreatic care

Our Advanced Pancreatic Care Program treats a variety of pancreatic disease cases ranging from acute pancreatitis to rare pancreatic tumors and everything in-between. 

Learn more about our Advanced Pancreatic Care Program

Pelvic and Anorectal Care Program

We care for children with surgical diseases resulting in constipation, diarrhea, soiling and/or pain as a consequence of the disease.

Learn more about our Pelvic and Anorectal Care Program

Liver Disease Program

We have one of the Southeast’s leading pediatric liver disease programs. We treat many liver-related conditions and complications.

Learn more about our Liver Disease Program

Multidisciplinary Feeding Program

Our program is designed for children with chronic and severe disruptions in their relationship with food. Our team includes psychologists, dietitians, physicians, nurse practitioners, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and social workers who collaborate to deliver state-of-the-art clinical care.

Learn more about our Multidisciplinary Feeding Program

Neurogastroenterology and Motility Program

Our experts create highly specialized treatment plans for children who have digestion issues due to problems related to contractions of the gastric muscles (motility).

Learn more about our Neurogastroenterology and Motility Team

Strong4Life Clinic

Through our Strong4Life Clinic, we provide a holistic approach to obesity and weight-related conditions. Families complete a nutritional assessment with a dietician to develop family-based lifestyle changes—with medication, if needed—to improve long-term health.

Learn more about our Strong4Life Clinic


  • Endoscopy: An endoscope is a lighted, flexible instrument containing a computer chip and camera that is attached to a TV monitor. It’s used to examine the upper or lower GI tract.
  • Capsule endoscopy: Capsule endoscopy uses a pill-sized video camera that is swallowed to allow a doctor to examine the middle part of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Upper endoscopy: Upper endoscopy is a procedure that allows the doctor to see the esophagus (food tube), stomach and the first part of the small intestine with an endoscope—a lighted, flexible instrument.
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP): ERCP is a specialized technique for doctors to treat disorders of the liver and pancreas, as well as the bile and pancreatic ducts. A camera, also called an endoscope, allows the specialist to look inside your child’s esophagus, stomach and small intestine and access and treat these disorders. A small opening in your child’s small intestine is identified and a small, plastic tube is passed through the endoscope and into this opening. Dye is injected and X-rays are taken to study the ducts of the pancreas and liver.
  • Colonoscopy: Colonoscopy is a test that examines the large intestine by inserting a long, flexible, lighted tube (colonoscope) into the rectum.
  • Bravo pH testing: The Bravo™ pH Monitoring System measures pH to test for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in older children. The doctor implants a small, temporary device on the wall of your child’s esophagus during an endoscopy. The device collects data about acid levels.
  • pH probe study: A pH probe study measures the acid levels inside of the esophagus to test for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in younger children. The doctor inserts a thin probe through the nose and into your child’s esophagus to record acid levels.
  • Manometry: Manometry is a test that examines how rectal muscles and nerves are working. The test helps determine the cause of anorectal constipation or encopresis (stool leakage). The doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube (catheter) into the rectum to record pressure. A small balloon attached to the tube may be inflated to assess reflexes.

Meet the Team

Physician leadership

  • Dana Michelle Hines Dykes, MD, Medical Director, Improve Care Now, Scottish Rite hospital 
  • Jose M Garza, MD, System Medical Director, Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition; Medical Director, Neurogastroenterology and Motility
  • Saul Karpen, MD, PhD, Division Chief, Gastroenterology
  • Rene Romero, MD, Clinical Director of Hepatology; Medical Director, Pediatric Intestinal Rehabilitation Program
  • Cary G Sauer, MD, System Medical Director, Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition; Medical Director, GI Endoscopy and Diagnostics Program
  • Bess T Schoen, MD, Medical Director, Improve Care Now, Egleston hospital
  • Field F Willingham, MD, Medical Director, Therapeutic Endoscopy and ERCP

Children’s Physician Group - Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

Children's Physician Group is the largest multispecialty physician practice in Georgia. Children's Physician Group enables you and your family to see pediatric specialists that are part of the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta team.





Advanced endoscopist

Community gastroenterologists


Our intestinal rehabilitation clinic is held at Emory Children’s Center Building, while general gastroenterology clinics are held at our other neighborhood locations. ERCP, endoscopy and surgical procedures are performed at Egleston hospital.

Children's at Satellite Boulevard

2660 Satellite Blvd.

Duluth, GA 30096-5803

Center for Advanced Pediatrics

1400 Tullie Road NE

Atlanta, GA 30329

Children's at Town Center Outpatient Care Center

605 Big Shanty Road NW

Kennesaw, GA 30144-3646

Emory Children's Center Building

2015 Uppergate Drive

Atlanta, GA 30322-1015

St. Mary's Athens

1230 Baxter Street

Athens, GA 30606