Pediatric hepatology experts join Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital to deliver family-centered care to children with liver disease

Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone has recruited three internationally recognized physicians specializing in pediatric hepatology to deliver comprehensive, family-centered care to children and adolescents with acute and chronic liver disease. Nadia Ovchinsky, MD, Jennifer M. Vittorio, MD, and Debora Kogan-Liberman, MD, have joined Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital and the NYU Langone Transplant Institute to establish the Pediatric Liver Disease and Transplant Program, bolstering the institution’s comprehensive offering of solid organ transplants and expanding regional access to specialized care for children.

Before Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital, the team were clinicians within the Pediatric Liver Program at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore. They were also faculty members in the Department of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

We are delighted to have this outstanding team of experts at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital to offer families the best medical and surgical therapies for their children with liver disease. Dr. Ovchinsky, Dr. Vittorio, and Dr. Kogan-Liberman’s dedication to the field of pediatric hepatology and liver transplant will further enhance Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital’s position to become one of the leading centers in treating liver disorders in children.”

Catherine S. Manno, MD, the Pat and John Rosenwald Professor of Pediatrics and chair of the Department of Pediatrics

Expanding access to pediatric liver treatment and transplants

Dr. Vittorio has been named the medical director of the Pediatric Liver Disease and Transplant Program, and Adam Griesemer, MD, pediatric and living donor liver transplant surgeon and member of the Department of Surgery, serves as the surgical director. Throughout his career, Dr. Griesemer has performed more than 200 pediatric liver transplants.

Dr. Griesemer joined NYU Langone in 2022 in an effort to expand the Transplant Institute’s adult liver transplant program. NYU Langone’s team has transplanted a record number of livers since the program’s inception in 1998, using novel strategies to increase the number of usable donor livers and helping to save more patients’ lives.

“Offering liver transplants to our pediatric population underlines our commitment to providing comprehensive care to all patients who may need a transplant. This group of clinicians’ innovative research, clinical work, and leadership skills are tremendous complements to all facets of our growing program,” said Robert Montgomery, MD, DPhil, the H. Leon Pachter, MD, Professor of Surgery and chair of the Department of Surgery at NYU Grossman School of Medicine as well as director of the Transplant Institute.

About Dr. Vittorio

In addition to her role as medical director, Dr. Vittorio joins the Department of Pediatrics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. She was an associate professor in the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition at Columbia University Irving Medical Center for eight years before joining The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in 2022.

Dr. Vittorio has a particular interest in preparing adolescents and young adult patients for the transition from pediatric to adult care. Her goal is to create an educational program to teach these patients how to manage the disease and medications independently as they become young adults.

“Liver transplant is a lifesaving procedure for many patients with underlying liver disease. Our mission is to provide state-of-the-art comprehensive, family-centered medical and surgical care. Our overarching goal is to improve the quality of life of our patients and their families,” said Dr. Vittorio. “Liver transplant can offer them this opportunity.”

About Dr. Kogan-Liberman

Dr. Kogan-Liberman has been named the director of pediatric hepatology and treats patients with chronic liver disease from newborns to young adults.

“I am looking forward to working with some of the best medical and surgical teams in the country to provide outstanding comprehensive care to children with liver disease. In addition, we can offer advanced therapies for certain pediatric liver disorders through our clinical research program,” said Dr. Kogan-Liberman.

Dr. Kogan-Liberman has been a clinician-researcher at various institutions throughout the tristate area over the last 27 years, including the Mount Sinai Health System, Hackensack Meridian Health, and The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, where she was one of the founders of the pediatric liver transplant program in 2010.

About Dr. Ovchinsky

Dr. Ovchinsky will serve as the new director of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology, bringing together specialists from numerous disciplines to care for all children with gastrointestinal and liver disorders.

“I am honored to join the NYU Langone community and strive to offer the best medical and surgical therapies, including minimally invasive approaches,” said Dr. Ovchinsky. “Helping children who are sick to become healthy and allow them to grow and thrive is the most rewarding part of what I do.”

Over the course of her career, Dr. Ovchinsky has remained an active clinical researcher, focusing on improving quality and enhancing the delivery of care for children with chronic liver disease and optimizing outcomes of liver transplant. A liver specialist at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore since 2014, Dr. Ovchinsky served as the director of pediatric hepatology and medical director of pediatric liver transplant.

Dr. Ovchinsky replaces Jeremiah Levine, MD, who recently stepped down as director of the division after serving in that role for 10 years. He will remain a member of the faculty and continue his significant clinical and research work in inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease.

Family-centered approach

Pediatric liver transplant patients will receive inpatient care at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital—34th Street. After discharge, patients and families will continue to see their providers at Fink Children’s Ambulatory Care Center.

“When a child has a significant liver disease, the diagnosis impacts the entire family,” said Dr. Ovchinsky. “As a team, we treat the whole family, not just the child. We strive to recognize everyone’s emotional needs and approach families with the empathy and support that they require during this challenging time.”

The pediatric liver experts work closely with a multidisciplinary support team, which includes dedicated nurses and advanced practitioners, as well as a social worker, nutritionist, and child life specialist provided through Sala Institute for Child and Family Centered Care, to ensure the unique physical and emotional needs are met during times of complex and chronic illness.

“It’s such an honor to be part of a world-class team of surgeons, hepatologists, and nurses with skill sets to take on the most complex liver disease,” said Dr. Griesemer. “Being able to intervene and change the trajectory of a child’s life is incredibly rewarding.”

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