About the Suzi and Scott Lustgarten Center for GI Motility

The Lustgarten Center for GI Motility was launched in 2011 thanks to a generous gift from the Braman and Lustgarten families. It provides diagnostic resources and integrated patient-centered services including:

  • Assessment of clinical status
  • Diagnostic studies offered at the Kohl's GI Nutrition and Diagnostic Center
  • Psychological and social work support
  • Nutritional interventions
  • Coordination of care with other healthcare providers
  • Long-term follow-up care focused on the patient’s quality of life

Such a full spectrum of services is not available at most children's hospitals.

Clinical care for GI motility disorders

In children with GI motility disorders, the esophagus, stomach or intestines don't function normally. The cause of these problems can be difficult to pinpoint, making both diagnosis and treatment difficult. Many of these children also don’t show outward symptoms of their conditions, but the stress and embarrassment caused by the symptoms is significant.

Children with functional gastrointestinal disorders are influenced by numerous factors including genetic predispositions, unique biological and psychological characteristics, family and caregivers, as well as external systems including school, friends, community and social situations.

The Lustgarten Center for GI Motility provides an integrated approach to diagnosis and treatment which recognizes the child as the center of these interacting systems.

World-class diagnostic resources

One of the great strengths of the Lustgarten Center for GI Motility lies in the cutting-edge diagnostic services. These diagnostic resources, the full spectrum of which is unavailable at most children’s hospitals, including:

Therapeutic resources

At the Lustgarten Center’s Motility Disorders Clinic, afflicted children and their families find a unique multidisciplinary, patient-centered approach that integrates medical, physiological and psychological expertise in evaluation and treatment that is tailored to each child's individual diagnoses.

The Clinic serves as a leading tertiary referral site for children with difficult-to-diagnose or treatment-resistant illnesses. Our team includes gastroenterologists, a nurse practitioner, clinical nutritionist, social worker and psychologists. Together, our team works to support patients with GI motility issues and their families.

Other therapeutic services we provide to our patients include:

  • Coordination of care plans with primary care and other specialty programs
  • Access to hospital and community resources
  • Long-term follow-up care, focused on advancing the child's quality of life

Psychology

The Lustgarten Motility Center is a unique multidisciplinary program that works to provide support for patients and their families. As a member of the Lustgarten Motility Center team, psychologists meet with patients and families to address stressors that may exacerbate GI symptoms.

The psychologist also helps patients address GI symptoms that may impact quality of life. For example, school attendance, extracurricular activities and social activities. Components of this treatment include relaxation and pain management strategies to promote improvement in overall functioning.

Social work

The Lustgarten Center for GI Motility includes a social worker who is an integral member of the interdisciplinary team. The social worker provides psychosocial evaluation, assessment of understanding of motility issues and counseling to patients and families.

The social worker collaborates with the medical team, your child and your family to formulate, update and periodically assess your child's progress, family stressors and ongoing needs, and connects your family with appropriate resources as needed. The social worker educates your child and family about living with chronic illness and collaborates with the psychologist to help you develop positive strategies to impact the quality of life for your child and your family.

Innovative research offers new hope

Physicians and scientists from the Lustgarten Center for GI Motility are recognized leaders in both laboratory and clinical research on functional GI disorders.

As a major referral center caring for a large number of children each year, we are able to draw upon a vast pool of data for our research efforts. The presence of leading researchers in all areas of pediatrics at Children's Hospital encourages multidisciplinary collaboration.

CHOP has the largest pediatric clinical treatment program for GI motility disorders in the nation. Because we treat children from around the world, our research is more generally applicable. The diversity of patients, locations, and nationalities means the research we produce is less likely to be influenced by population- and location-based biases.

As the home of the Center for Applied Genomics (CAG), the largest pediatric genotyping facility in the world, CHOP is uniquely positioned to create resources like DNA banks, tissue banks and database repositories to propel research forward in the U.S. and around the world. For example, one of the most promising avenues for novel treatments of functional GI and motility disorders is the use of stem cell therapy.