Quality Improvement

Meet Our QI Team

The Stanford Center for IBD and Celiac Disease is a member of ImproveCareNow. ICN is a collaborative community where patients, parents, clinicians, and researchers work together to improve the health and care of children and youth with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (also known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD). ImproveCareNow care teams use proven tools and techniques to better track and manage your Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. We know that when patients and parents are involved too, kids with IBD start feeling better quickly and are able to get back to doing the things that they enjoy

Since ImproveCareNow began in 2007, the number of kids in remission with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in the ICN Network has increased. To do this, participating centers collect standardized data during all clinic visits, monitor individual and overall performance, compare outcomes, and share the best evidence and tools for helping patients with IBD get better faster, and stay well longer.

By employing an “all teach, all learn” collaborative approach to medicine, we encourage new ideas and best practices to be identified and introduced into the care delivery process much faster—improving care and outcomes for our patients now.

If you would like to learn more about ImproveCareNow and are interested in participating in research studies to better understand IBD, please contact us at ibdceliacresearch@stanford.edu.

Dorsey Bass, M.D.

Director, Stanford Children’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

I am an Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Gastroenterology/Hepatology/Nutrition). My professional expertise is in the management and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases in children, particularly inflammatory bowel disease. My research background includes more than 15 years in basic and clinical virology of diarrheal agents and more recently a strong interest in cost effective quality care for my many patients with inflammatory bowel disease. My research experience and more than 25 years of practical clinical work inform my intellectual and patient-oriented incentive to find a more appropriate therapy for acute and chronic C. difficile colitis.

Rachel Bensen, M.D., M.P.H.

I am a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology at Stanford University. As a pediatric gastroenterologist, my goal is to improve the health, nutrition and quality of life of children and young adults with chronic disease, particularly Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and liver disorders.  As a researcher, my focus is on quality improvement, health care delivery, and developing strategies to help teens and young adults with childhood onset chronic disease their health well as they enter adulthood.

Esveidy Flores-Avila, M.A.

Esveidy just joined the team! She provides medical assistance support to the IBD department, supporting all the staff and families from our community. She moved to the Bay Area in 2016, but her career began when she was so young working for the community in rural areas; she was committed to provide help to those that were far from cities and hospitals and wanted to make a change going where very few were able to go. Esveidy is native from Acatlan de Osorio, in Puebla State Mexico and has worked in the science/medical field since 2013. She looks forward to a better healthy tomorrow surrounded of all our beloved ones! 


Garret Forshee, L.C.S.W.

Clinical Social Worker

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, with eight years of experience in the medical field. I am passionate about supporting children and young adults through difficult stretches of life. I focus my time on connecting patients and families to helpful resources, offering mental health support, and partnering with like-minded organizations to help meet the needs of our IBD and Celiac communities. I am lucky enough to co-lead our support groups, join clinic visits, participate in research, and support patients individually. 


Lisa Henegar, R.N., B.S.N.

Venus Kalami, M.N.S.P., R.D.

IBD and Celiac Dietitian and Nutritionist

Inspired by her mother’s work serving nutritionally vulnerable mothers and infants, Venus is dedicated to bridging nutritional inequities in her work. As a pediatric dietitian specialized in gastroenterology, she is an expert in nutrition for children with celiac and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), food allergies, picky eating, and more. Her emerging research and program development interests include nutritional therapies for IBD, advocacy, patient education, and international nutrition. Currently, she is working on developing groups, classes, protocols, and food security support programs for patients with IBD and celiac. Venus completed her Registered Dietitian training at Stanford Health Care and her Master’s in Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. She is also multilingual and is a fierce advocate for applying the cultural humility framework in healthcare. Venus prides herself in her holistic approach to patient care, recognizing that each individual comes with a unique story to be honored and embraced in the journey to wellness. It’s a privilege for her to offer her nutritional expertise to patients and collaborate with a multidisciplinary team of renowned experts.  

Alison Kotzen, M.S.N., R.N., C-P.N.P.

Nicole Neiman, M.P.H.

Clinical Research Coordinator

Kaylie Nguyen, P.N.P.

I have more than 15 years experience as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in the Pediatric Gastroenterology Department here at Stanford Children’s. I take pride in my expertise on a wide variety of gastroenterologic conditions and my ability to engage with children and families from very diverse backgrounds. I have a special interest in integrative approaches to health, specifically in nutritional therapies for inflammatory bowel disease. I am an expert on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and am involved in developing our IBD nutrition program, educating providers about the SCD and conducting research on its utilization in IBD. In addition to my main role as an outpatient clinician, I enjoy teaching and mentoring. 

Stephen Pond, M.H.A.

I am the Analytics and Clinical Effectiveness Specialists for our Pediatric Gastroenterology Program.  I have had the pleasure of being able to provide insights into clinical and operational reporting throughout my 17 year career.  I am passionate about leveraging informational tools to improve the experience of our patients and team.  The findings we’re able to share through analytics enhances our approach and allows us to improve on how our services are delivered and the people we touch.


Kristen Wiley

Clinic Coordinator

Ana Vanessa Wren, Ph.D.

I am an Instructor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology at Stanford University. As a clinical psychologist at Stanford Children’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, my goal is to support patients and families from diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) through their transition to adult care. I work to educate patients about the importance of the mind-body connection in IBD, and provide targeted care for stress, anxiety, and mood challenges, pain and symptom management concerns, and coping with chronic illness. I am passionate about working with patients, families, and our IBD team to improve the health and quality of life of children, adolescents, and young adults with IBD. My research interests focus on developing and evaluating behavioral interventions for pain and symptom management in children and adults with chronic illness and pain conditions. Currently, my research is focused on: 1) investigating psychosocial and health outcomes in youth with IBD, with a focus on positive psychological factors; and 2) developing mindfulness-based interventions that target stress and pain symptoms common to IBD, and build resiliency and personal resources.