Runa Watkins, MD
As I started my training in the field of pediatric gastroenterologist, my familiarity with Celiac Disease was lacking, as it was not a common diagnosis in the local patient population. Upon completing fellowship, I started as an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland and in my second year as an attending, I became one of the main providers for our specific practice of Celiac Disease. I have familiarized myself with the current guidelines for diagnosing Celiac Disease and for knowing the aspects of ongoing care. I am active in continuing my medical education in this field, as I have recently attended the International Symposium for Celiac Disease in Prague, Czech Republic. I try my best to make local populations aware of Celiac Disease, as I have traveled statewide with my team to provide education. I have also been a coauthor on an abstract that was presented at NASPGHAN, our national conference, last year. The aim of the study was to determine if those adherent to a gluten free diet would have elevated arsenic levels, compared to a control group, as it was thought their diets were more heavily rice based. With my continued practice in caring for patients with Celiac Disease, both adults and children, I have contemplated several questions. There are still many uncertainties in the world of Celiac Disease, as we are not sure why there are those with the specific gene who will never develop Celiac Disease.