Pediatric Feeding Clinic Established at Our Lady of the Lake Children's Health

05/29/2018

Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health welcomes Melissa Gonzalez, PhD, to its growing team of specialists who work with children with developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Gonzalez is a clinical psychologist and doctoral-level licensed behavior analyst (BCBA-D) who specializes in pediatric feeding disorders.

Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health welcomes Melissa Gonzalez, PhD, to its growing team of specialists who work with children with developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Gonzalez is a clinical psychologist and doctoral-level licensed behavior analyst (BCBA-D) who specializes in pediatric feeding disorders.

Feeding problems are frequently a concern of caregivers and may have serious short- and long-term health and social consequences for children and their families. Dr. Gonzalez, who brings elite-level experience and knowledge to help families overcome these difficulties, has established the Pediatric Feeding Clinic at the Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health Pediatric Development and Therapy Center with an interdisciplinary approach to assess and treat feeding difficulties in children up to 10 years of age.

“So many families struggle with their children at meal time, and research tells us that it’s often more than simply being a ‘picky eater,’” said Shaun Kemmerly, MD, chief medical officer for Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. “We are thrilled to have someone with the experience and talent of Dr. Gonzalez who can work with families in finding the best solution to help their children get the nutrition they need while making meal time a more pleasant experience for everyone.”

Dr. Gonzalez earned her doctorate in clinical psychology with a specialization in developmental disabilities in 2008 from Louisiana State University. She continued her post-doctoral training at Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Department of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Md., where she further specialized in working with children with feeding disorders and severe behavior disorders/self-injurious behavior.

 Dr. Gonzalez joined the faculty of Kennedy Krieger Institute in 2009 and later earned the academic appointment of Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins Medicine where she supervised clinical care of inpatients and outpatients in the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program. She provided training and supervision to doctoral interns and fellows and conducted clinical research related to pediatric feeding disorders. 

 To help children overcome complex and debilitating feeding disorders, the interdisciplinary feeding team collaboratively develops treatment plans based on a patient’s individualized needs. In addition to psychology, the interdisciplinary feeding team includes specialists in the areas of developmental pediatrics, speech-language pathology, and occupational therapy.

“Feeding difficulties often arise as a result of multiple factors and frequently require an interdisciplinary approach to treatment, “ Dr. Gonzalez explained. “We are partners with each family on their unique journey. The overall goal is to develop strategies so that the caregivers can support the child in practicing new skills at home to re-establish mealtime as a positive experience for the family and develop opportunities for the child to have greater community and social participation. These skills are a basis for children to be healthy, happy and engaged members of our community.” 

Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health Pediatric Development and Therapy Center is located at 8415 Goodwood Boulevard, Suite 200, in Baton Rouge. Visit ololchildrens.org/childdevelopment to learn more or to request a patient information packet.

About Our Lady of the Lake

Our Lady of the Lake is a not-for-profit 800-bed medical center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with more than 7,100 employees committed to building a healthy community through excellence in patient care and education. With a Regional Medical Center, dedicated Children’s Hospital, two freestanding emergency rooms, and a 450-provider Physician Group, Our Lady of the Lake provides comprehensive healthcare services for common to complex conditions. Our Lady of the Lake is a primary teaching site for graduate medical education programs and is recognized in the areas of heart and vascular, trauma and emergency care, stroke, cancer care, minimally-invasive procedures and more. In 2016, Our Lady of the Lake was one of three hospitals recognized by the American Hospital Association with the Quest for Quality Prize award.

About Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital

Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital is Louisiana’s fastest growing children’s hospital treating more than 100,000 patients annually from across Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. The hospital is the only healthcare provider in the Baton Rouge area that provides a full range of pediatric services ranging from a 24/7 pediatric emergency room to a team of more than 100 pediatricians and pediatric specialists. For more information, visit www.ololchildrens.org.

The new freestanding Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital is currently under construction and is set to open in 2019. To learn more about the project, visit www.letsbuildamazing.com.

About Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health

Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health is a collaborative, coordinated and child-focused statewide health network that provides patients with more access to physicians and providers specifically trained to care for children. The network includes hospital-based services at the main campus in Baton Rouge and the future freestanding hospital, as well as in Monroe with St. Francis Pediatrics. It also connects pediatricians, pediatric specialists and other health providers across our state with clinics in the Baton Rouge region, Hammond, Lafayette and Monroe. This model of coordinated pediatric healthcare extends the vital work happening at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital into more communities across Louisiana so families have greater access to expertise close to home.

About the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System

The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System is one the largest healthcare systems in Louisiana and is the leading healthcare provider for more than half the state’s population. The health system is a non-profit, Catholic organization sponsored by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, we serve patients statewide through a network of hospitals, clinics, physicians, elderly housing and integrated systems. Our five hospitals include St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales and Our Lady of the Angels in Bogalusa. For more information, visit www.fmolhs.org.

About Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group

With more than 450 healthcare providers throughout more than 70 locations, Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group is one of the area’s largest physician networks. In addition to primary care, this experienced group of doctors specializes in diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of illnesses and complex medical problems.

About St. Elizabeth Physicians

St. Elizabeth Physicians is the largest provider of primary and specialty care in Ascension Parish, employing over 50 primary care physicians, specialists and providers. St. Elizabeth Physicians has been recognized for quality by the Louisiana Quality Foundation, and as the Large Business of the Year twice by the Ascension Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit the St. Elizabeth Hospital website.

About St. Francis Medical Center

From a modest beginning in July 1913 as a three-story red brick building with 75 patient beds, St. Francis Medical Center has grown to become Northeast Louisiana’s largest healthcare provider and one of the largest employers in Ouachita Parish. Today, St. Francis Medical Center is licensed for 367 beds, employs over 1,700 team members and partners with over 300 medical staff members. Our mission of extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to those most in need reaches out to 17 parishes in Louisiana and three counties in Arkansas, an area with a population exceeding 515,000 people. St. Francis Medical Center is part of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System. For more information, visit the St. Francis Medical Center website.

About St. Francis Medical Group

With over 50 healthcare providers at 16 clinic locations, St. Francis Medical Group is one of the area’s largest physician networks and is backed by the resources of St. Francis Medical Center. In addition to primary care, this experienced group of providers specializes in diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of illnesses and complex medical problems. For more information visit the St. Francis Medical Center website.