Intestinal Rehabilitation Program

Program Leaders

Professional portrait of Russell J. Merritt, MD, PhD.

Russell J. Merritt, MD, PhD

Medical Director 
Russell J. Merritt, MD, PhD, is the Medical Director for the Nutrition Support Team, and for Intestinal Rehabilitation at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. His practice focuses on nutritional support of hospitalized patients, intestinal failure and the nutritional needs of chronically ill children. He has edited two editions of a Practice Manual on Nutrition Support and is a past president of the American Board of Nutrition. His current research interests include the use of intravenous fish oil and the safety of parenteral nutrition.

Intestinal Rehabilitation Services

The primary focus of the Intestinal Rehabilitation Team at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is to help children with intestinal failure meet their nutritional needs, even when they cannot gain what they need from a normal diet. The services and consultation we provide include:

Inpatient Management and Consultation

For hospitalized patients with intestinal failure, we work with patients to ensure that their nutritional needs are met while they are in our hospital. We also prepare patients and their parents to use nutrition therapies at home. These therapies can include tube or intravenous feeding.

Outpatient Management and Consultation (Including Home Intravenous Nutrition)

In our outpatient clinics, we care for children who need at-home nutrition support.

The Intestinal Rehabilitation Team

The team includes physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, a dietitian and a social worker. The team provides active inpatient and outpatient clinical services, offers educational activities in the hospital and the community and research and quality of care initiatives that will lead to better care for such patients in the future.

Kim Rinauro, PNP

Kimis an experienced registered nurse and nurse practitioner who coordinates the medical care of patients on the intestinal rehabilitation service and others requiring home parenteral nutrition. She has worked at our hospital since 1989 and has been involved with the hospital since her student nursing days. She has previously been a staff nurse and nurse coordinator for the Department of Rheumatology and also worked in the Ambulatory Infusion Center.

Claudia Cox, RN

A Los Angeles native, Claudia served six years in the United States Air Force and attended the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, graduating with a BSN. She was drawn by her love of children to work in pediatrics. After graduation, she worked in the Pediatric Intensive Care Units of Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Since 2004, Claudia has coordinated care for the gastroenterology patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She is a member of the Association of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Nurses and serves on hospital committees related to patient care.

Judy Hopkins, OTR/L, SWC, CLE

Judy Hopkins, OTR/L, SWC, CLE is an occupational therapist specializing in infants & children with feeding and swallowing disorders. She has worked at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for 14 years.

Ginevra L. Bianchini RD, CSP

Ginevra L. Bianchini, RD, CSP is a Pediatric Registered Dietitian new to our Intestinal Rehabilitation Team. She received her bachelors from the Coordinated Program of Human Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Illinois at Chicago and brings more than five years of experience in coordinating nutrition care for children with a variety of pediatric gastrointestinal and other conditions.

Manisha Parikh, MSW

Manisha is a clinical social worker with more than 10 years of experience working with children and families in California. She has worked with foster children with complex medical needs and brings expertise in assisting families with navigating various systems that may affect their lives. She is dedicated to patient and family centered care and assessing individual needs while providing families with supportive counseling.