McMaster University

McMaster University

Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition Training Program

Program Director: Dr. Mary Zachos
Program Administrator: Ms. Kimberly Harris
Department: Pediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology & Nutrition
Address: 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8N 3Z5
Phone: 905-521-2100, ext. 75637
Fax: 905-521-2655

About our Program

A two-year program is offered giving a breadth of exposure to Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Transplant, Motility and Nutrition. There is an excellent balance with inpatient and outpatient care and residents have ample opportunity to gain competence in endoscopy, including level 1 and 2 type procedures. A continuity clinic is set up in the second year, allowing residents to see consultations and follow-ups with arms-length supervision by staff. Residents are welcome to become more involved in the Pediatric resident education rounds, especially in the second year. The focus of the program is on graded responsibility and learning to balance ward, outpatient, endoscopy, teaching and research responsibilities in order to be ready for practice as an academic or community pediatric gastroenterologist. For more information on the goals of the first and second years of this program:

Pediatric Gastroenterology Training Program — Goals & Objectives

Residents have the option of extending training in order to complete research beyond the six months provided in the program. A wide breadth of research opportunities exist within the division and through the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute, a world-class facility that includes clinical researchers (with expertise in meta-analysis) and basic science researchers, including a self-sufficient gnotobiotic facility. Graduate training is available in Clinical Epidemiology, a number of basic science areas, and Business Administration.

There is a dedicated Pediatric Gastroenterology teaching curriculum with weekly sessions, along with an annual spring pediatric subspecialty resident teaching curriculum that covers non-"Medical Expert" CanMeds roles and allows networking with other subspecialty residents. These sessions are protected time for Residents. Residents may also attend Adult GI academic half-day—which occurs on site—if their schedule permits.

The Division provides financial support for attendance at national and international Gastroenterology conferences, and encourages residents to take advantage of sponsored courses offered to residents by the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology and the North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.

The GI Team at McMaster functions as a transdisciplinary team, and residents have an opportunity to learn integrated teamwork skills and work with an enthusiastic group of people dedicated to providing quality healthcare to infants, children and adolescents. Residents learn to run clinics efficiently, one of the reasons the Division is consistently able to log 4,000 patient-visits annually, including 1,000 new consultations.

The rotation schedule is flexible and arranged with the program director, though there is an interest in completing a majority of ward rotations in the first year and a majority of research months in the second year.  In the event of lengthening training to complete a graduate degree, all ward and clinic rotations must be completed in the first 18 months, with all other rotations completed within the first three years, though the continuity clinic and endoscopy can be continued.  Residents on research are expected to attend at least one half-day clinic per week, not including the half-day continuity clinic.

Rotations include:

  • Ward & Consult Services (6 months)
  • Outpatient Clinics (3 months)
  • Hepatology/Transplant (2 months)
  • Adult GI (1 month)
  • Nutrition (1 month)
  • Radiology/Pathology (1 month)
  • Motility (1 month)
  • Junior Attending (1 month)
  • Electives (2 months)
  • Research/Selectives (6 months)
  • Endoscopy (1/2 day, horizontal)
  • Continuity Clinic (1/2 day, horizontal, 2nd year and beyond)

Most rotations take place at McMaster Children's Hospital, located at McMaster University Medical Centre in West Hamilton. The Adult GI rotation is at St. Joseph's Health Centre in Hamilton.

Hepatology/Transplant rotation is completed at the Children's Hospital of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, a one-hour drive from McMaster Children's Hospital. The program is committed to ensuring adequate accommodation in London during the Hepatology/Transplant rotation if residents do not wish to commute.

Meet Our Team

Staff Physicians

  • Dr. Robert Issenman
  • Dr. Elyanne Ratcliffe (Division head)
  • Dr. Mary Zachos (GI Program Director)
  • Dr. Herbert Brill
  • Dr. Mary Sherlock
  • Dr. Nikhil Pai
  • Dr. Jenna Dowhaniuk


  • Lisa Kennedy
  • Allison Bossert

Nurse Practitioners

  • Emily Brackenridge
  • Rose-Frances Clause


  • Joanne Saab
  • Heather Mileski

Occupational Therapy

  • Angela Bladon

Child Life Specialists

  • Katie Hodgins

Social Worker

  • Susan Turner

Administrative Assistants

  • Kimberly Harris
  • Carrie Burjaw
  • Andrea Brydges
  • Kathleen McShane
  • Charmaine Fraser
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