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Expansion in Pediatric Gastroenterology

One of the founders of the pediatric gastroenterology (GI) subspecialty in the US, Dr. Marvin Ament joined Children's Hospital Central California in December 2010. Board certified in pediatrics and pediatric gastroenterology, Dr. Ament is the Hospital’s medical director of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition.

Improved practice

Dr. AmentUpon arrival at Children’s, Dr. Ament focused on expanding the already busy practice. He implemented various enhancements to improve both quality and access, including doubling the number of GI physicians. “Our goal is to ensure that Children’s provides the highest level of care and accessibility so that no child needs to go outside the region for gastroenterology and hepatobiliary disorders except transplants,” he said.

Advanced equipment

The GI practice at Children’s Hospital now offers the following technology for diagnostics and testing:

  • digital microlyzer to measure the interaction of hydrogen and methane for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and other digestive disturbances,
  • electrogastrogram machine to analyze myoelectric signals to diagnose gastric motility disorders,
  • high-definition endoscopy scopes, and
  • anorectal and esophageal manometry tests to help identify a symptom’s cause.

Specialized clinics

In addition to Children’s subspecialty centers in Modesto and Merced, patient families may also obtain pediatric GI services at a new location in Bakersfield where Dr. Ament has had a practice for 35 years. Expanded services are also available in San Luis Obispo. Patients living in these communities benefit from:

  • convenient consultation and follow-up care at the regional locations, and
  • advanced tests, procedures and hospitalization at Children’s in Madera.

Increased physicians

With eight pediatric gastroenterologists onboard, the department expanded coverage to inpatients. Increased GI staff will also enable the practice to hold clinics dedicated to pediatric inflammatory bowel and Celiac diseases, while a team of nutritionists, social workers and psychologists will collaborate with the gastroenterologists to help patients cope better with their condition.

The efforts are already paying off with dramatically improved access to care. Rather than waiting four to six months for an appointment, new patients can be seen within one week.

“Children’s is an amazing place,” said Dr. Ament. “I can’t think of a better legacy than ensuring kids of the Central Valley have the same high-quality care that’s offered in the northern and southern ends of the state.”