Meet the Gerber early childhood nutrition experts
LILLIAN M. BEARD, MD
Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
“Infancy is an amazing journey, which usually leaves new parents looking for nutritional guidance. As a pediatrician, I know that many of today’s major health issues are preventable through nutrition education, intervention and lifestyle changes. It’s exciting to work very closely with these new parents during the first 12 months of life when their babies are growing and developing so rapidly. Influencing change for a healthier generation is something I take very seriously.”
Lillian M. Beard, MD, is Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC. She is a frequent guest expert and spokesperson on nationally broadcast TV programs, discussing issues related to early childhood nutrition.
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WILLIAM J. KLISH, MD
Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics
"Infant nutrition has fascinated me since the beginning of my career. Unique to infants, they typically get all of their nutrition from a sole food source: breastfeeding or formula when breastfeeding is not an option. Understanding the reasons why infant formula or breastmilk alone meet the nutritional needs of a baby requires an understanding of the entire field of nutrition. As a pediatrician and gastroenterologist, I enjoy playing a role in moving nutrition knowledge forward, while helping parents nourish a healthier generation. Take, for example, obesity and the fact that the roots of adult obesity lie in infancy and childhood. Changing the way healthcare practitioners and the food industry counsel parents on healthy feeding practices is a key area of focus for me. If parents do not buy into the suggested changes for food or lifestyle, the obesity epidemic will continue.”
William J. Klish, MD, is Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He was the first person to be credentialed in pediatric gastroenterology by the American Board of Pediatrics and is credited with helping develop pediatric gastroenterology as a field.
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ALAN M. LAKE, MD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
“I find it fascinating and intimidating that the nutrition we provide an infant, from in-utero on, impacts that child’s health for decades. That’s why I enjoy the challenge of educating parents about their child's needs and working with industry professionals to ensure that the right options are available.”
Alan M. Lake, MD, is Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. He is a practicing pediatrician and sits on a number of national and state committees dedicated to early childhood nutrition and pediatric health.
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MICHELLE M. PIETZAK, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
“‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’ This was said by Hippocrates more than two millennia ago and still rings true today. Many of today’s chronic diseases, including obesity, fatty liver disease, food allergies, and celiac disease can be attributed to today’s Western dietary practices. Infants born via C-section and not breastfed can experience abnormal intestinal flora, a potential environmental trigger for many diseases. Today’s healthcare practitioners often focus on treating existing conditions with drugs rather than prevention with a healthy diet and lifestyle. What I most enjoy about being a Pediatric Gastroenterologist is teaching my patients, their families, and referring physicians that many gastrointestinal conditions can be treated with dietary management. By doing so, we may return to foundations laid by Hippocrates and others after him to prevent chronic illnesses in ourselves and our children through nutrition.”
Michelle M. Pietzak, MD, is Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, California. In her practice, she cares primarily for children with autoimmune inflammatory bowel diseases (such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis), short-bowel syndrome, and for those who have special nutritional needs requiring either intravenous nutrition or special formulas.
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JO ANN HATTNER, MPH, RD
“A child’s optimal growth and development is dependent upon nutrition in infancy and throughout the toddler years. The role of the healthcare professional is to provide the guidance and instruction for feedings that enhance nutrition and promote developmental feeding skills. Our role is of utmost importance since the health of future generations is dependent upon our knowledge of nutrition and the provision of healthy foods. It is an exciting time to be a nutritionist, as pediatric nutrition research continues to provide significant research findings for our use and interpretation.”
Jo Ann Hattner is a nutrition consultant with Stanford University Medical School and owner of Hattner Nutrition in San Francisco, California. She specializes in child nutrition and has extensive experience in pediatric gastroenterology and endocrinology at Packard Children’s Hospital and Stanford Hospital and Clinics. At Stanford University School of Medicine, Jo Ann is an advisor and content writer for online nutrition courses. She worked on developing the courses as part of an NIH grant.
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Advisory Board Consultant
BRYAN VARTABEDIAN, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
“Over the years, I have had many parents come to me seeking nutritional guidance for their babies. The role that nutrition plays in preventing health issues is an area that is often overlooked. I find it fascinating to see the growing amount of published literature about how probiotics can help bring balance to gut microbiota, demonstrating outcomes of improved health. In particular, recent papers prove that the probiotic L. reuteri can help reduce crying time in colicky babies. I enjoy teaching parents about these new findings in nutrition and providing simple tips to improve their family’s healthy lifestyle.”
Bryan Vartabedian, MD, is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and a pediatric gastroenterologist at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. He holds a board certification in pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition. He is a strong advocate for the continued convergence of social media and medicine.
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