Meet the Staff
Dr. Nelson is a graduate of Northwestern Medical School and did her pediatric training at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. She completed her fellowship training in Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard Medical School. She also received a Master’s of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health.
For the first ten years of her career, Dr Nelson worked in the academic practice at Children’s Memorial Hospital. There she established herself as as an expert in pediatric gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) publishing many papers on that subject. She also was a leader in understanding dietary treatments for eosinophillic esophagitis.
In 2004 Dr. Nelson began solo private practice and founded Children’s Gastroenterology Specialists. She made this change so she could have more control over caring for her patients giving them the best medical care possible. In 2017 she joined Pediatrust so that she could relieve herself from the business aspects of her practice and focus on her clinical practice. She continues to serve on staff at both Lurie Children’s Hospital and Evanston Hospital. She is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the Feinberg School of Medicine.
While in private practice she has continued to publish papers on GERD, eosinophillic esophagitis and inflammatory bowel disease. She recently co-authored of the book Cooking for your Gluten Free Teen : Everyday Foods the Whole Family will Love (Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, 2013).
Dr Nelson is married and has two wonderful daughters as well as two somewhat naughty cats. She enjoys working out, travelling and going to the theatre.
Jane Head RN, BSN
Jane has a degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Vanderbilt University and over 15 years of nursing experience. Jane’s nursing career includes working with critically ill infants and their families in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Prentice Women’s Hospital and Evanston Hospital. In addition, she has worked as a school nurse and is currently a health consultant in a day care setting. Jane joined the CGS team in July, 2014 and is excited about the field of Pediatric GI as well as continuing her work with children. Helping patients and their families understand their medical issues and feel confident with the management of their health care are Jane’s priorities. Jane and her husband live in Evanston where they raised three daughters. In her free time, Jane enjoys hiking in the mountains, playing paddle tennis and working in her garden.
Marisa Persky Dietician - MPH, LD, RDN
Marisa is a nutritionist with a wealth of experience. She started working with PediaTrust in the fall of 2015. Prior to that, she worked at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital treating children with a variety of medical conditions for 10 years. Marisa has a Bachelors of Applied Health Science in Dietetics from Indiana University, a Masters of Public Health from Benedictine University, and a certification in Childhood Adolescent Weight Management. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist and a member of the American Dietetic Association (ADA). She loves working with families to meet their nutritional goals. Outside of work, Marisa loves to spend time with her two boys and husband doing anything fun and active outside.
Dr. Shauna Freedman Child Psychologist
Dr. Shauna Freedman is a child psychologist at Primary Care Psychology Associates, LCC (PCPA). She obtained her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology with a specialization in children and adolescents. Dr. Freedman has extensive experience working with children, adolescents, and families with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and other gastrointestinal disorders. She completed her doctoral dissertation on the psychosocial aspects of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and designed a group program addressing these aspects. Dr. Freedman utilizes a strength-based, playful, and warm approach when working with children and adolescents. She enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband, family, and friends.
Smita Joshi S.S.L.P Feeding Therapist
Smita is owner and feeding therapist at Assential Therapies Inc. She graduated with a Masters in Speech Language Pathology from Southwest Missouri State University . Since than she has worked in a a variety of work settings including pediatric outpatient clinics, early intervention, school and facilities for the developmental delayed. She specializes in treating feeding and swallowing disorders in children. Smita understands that feeding problems are very disruptive to a family and develops a custom made program to suit the needs of each individual child and family. Smita enjoys reading, sketching, and spending time with her family.
Patricia Chavarria Practice Manager
Patty has worked in healthcare since 2001. She has worn several hats as a receptionist, medical assistant, medical scribe and biller. Patty believes it is important that patients receive the best care possible and feels it is her job to make it happen. She enjoys working out doing Crossfit and loves to spend time with family and friends.
Angelita Sanchez Practice Coordinator
Angela joined CGS in 2014. Trained both as a Medical Administrative Assistant and as a Certified Nurse Assistant, Angel understands that “the needs of the patients comes first.” In her free time she enjoys going to the movies and her children’s sports games.