Miriam, a college student, discovered Children’s National Hospital from her home in Uganda. She was looking for information and tips about gluten-free living through our online Gluten-Free Resource app. This tool, part of the hospital’s Celiac Disease Program, provides expert advice about the immune disease in which gluten can damage the small intestine.

Miriam sought help finding a qualified gastroenterologist in her country who could determine if she had Celiac disease. She sent an email through the app’s contact section, but she wasn’t sure she would get a reply. “Shortly after, I was pleasantly surprised,” says Miriam. The program’s executive director, Vanessa Weisbrod, responded.

Vanessa was unable to find the right specialist in Uganda, but ultimately, Miriam got a tourist visa so she could visit our celiac team in person.

“Our team at Children’s National is unique in that most of us have Celiac ourselves or have a child with the disease,” Vanessa says. “It’s not just a job to us, it’s our life.” The team’s goal is to help families dealing with Celiac disease have access to the best care and to help them avoid feeling alone and overwhelmed.

“My visit from arrival to triage to testing was done with great care and expertise,” Miriam says. “Complete strangers went out their way to help me — someone from halfway across the world. My experience there is a testament to true humanity in the form of love, hope, kindness and compassion.”

A young patient at Children's National Hospital.

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A young patient at Children's National Hospital.