2024-2026 Councilor Elections

Three councilors will be elected for the term May 2024-2026. Candidate statements appear in alphabetical order. 

Imad Absah, MD

Mayo Clinic

Over the last decade, I have successfully established the pediatric Celiac program at Mayo Clinic and completed numerous Celiac-related clinical and epidemiological research projects. Actively collaborating with other pediatric centers and patient advocacy groups, I have worked to improve the care of children with celiac disease. Through these partnerships, we have built a robust network of celiac care that involves most pediatric celiac centers in the US and Canada. Our collaborative efforts have contributed to completing important multicenter studies aimed at enhancing celiac disease care in children and providing unified education and instructions. Currently, I serve as Co-Chair of the Celiac Disease Special Interest group at the North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and I am a member of the Pediatric Gastroenterology subcommittee at the American Board of Pediatrics. I believe that my clinical and research experience, along with my leadership positions will allow me to effectively represent the voices of pediatricians, pediatric gastroenterologists, children, and their families in our discussions.


Vahe Badalyan, MD, MPH, MBA

Children’s National Hospital 

It is a great honor to be nominated to serve as a councilor-at-large for the SSCD Executive Council. My first experience with celiac disease occurred in 2008, when as a visiting pediatric resident at University of Maryland, I got to work with and learn from Dr. Alessio Fasano.  Subsequently, as a pediatric gastroenterology fellow, I was fortunate to learn from Dr. John Snyder, an exemplary clinician and mentor, who led the creation of a national model for detecting and treating celiac disease in children at Children’s National Hospital.  Through these experiences, I have developed the passion for improving the health and lives of patients with celiac disease.  Currently, I am privileged to serve as the medical director of our celiac program. Together with my clinical, dietician, psychology, and educator colleagues, I strive to expand program services through a catchment area covering over 1 million children, many of whom are from underserved and disadvantaged communities. I am also a member of the celiac disease special interest group at the NASPGHAN and celiacKIDS collaborative research group.  With my talented colleagues from across the US and Canada, I take part in research initiatives aimed at better understanding of our patients’ needs, improving their diagnosis, and treatment.  I also had the privilege of serving on the SSCD membership and education committees.  I enjoy taking part in SSCD educational webinars and debating on ways to engage and increase the membership of the organization.  Interacting with my colleagues from adult gastroenterology as well as non-clinical colleagues has greatly enriched my professional experience and expanded my horizons. I am a firm supporter of SSCD mission statement and believe that my clinical and business background provides me with a unique perspective to help advance this mission.  I will work to help create value for the members, be it educational webinars, practical tips on patient counseling, or clinical decision-making tools.  I believe that my diverse experience will be an asset when determining our strategic priorities and strengthening the ties between SSCD, Celiac Disease Foundation, and other organizations.


Patricia Bierly, CRNP

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Celiac Center 

I have been working at The Children's Hospital Of Philadelphia Celiac Center since the inception. I have given presentation on Celiac Disease to school nurses and APP conference. I have presented posters on case studies with patients with Celiac Disease. I want to bring a nursing representation to the council. 


Monique Germone, PhD, BCBA

Children's Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado School of Medicine

I have a professional and personal passion for serving the scientific and celiac communities. For almost two decades, I have supported a family member with a gluten-related disorder, and from this personal experience arose a passion for bringing my unique behavioral health expertise to the celiac community. In working alongside my international and national allied health professional colleagues, we have helped to expand scientific knowledge of the psychosocial impacts of celiac disease. This work continues to develop new interventions to support gluten-free diet adherence and improve the quality of life in individuals with celiac disease and their families. In serving on the Executive Council of the Society for the Study of Celiac Disease, I will bring my unique background of personal and professional experience to help serve the SSCD mission of advancing care for those with celiac disease and improving their quality of life.


Jacqueline Jossen, MD

Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University

I am deeply honored to be nominated to serve on the SSCD Council. My passion for enhancing clinical care and provider education aligns perfectly with the council’s objectives. As a member of NASPGHAN’s celiac special interest group, I am working to promote provider education and integration of resources into the EMR. I am eager to collaborate with fellow members to drive initiatives that foster innovation, improve patient outcomes, and empower healthcare professionals with the knowledge and resources they need to excel in their practice. Together, we can make significant strides in advancing the field of celiac disease, and ultimately enhance the lives of those we serve.


Jessica Lebovits, RD, CDN

Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University

As a registered dietitian specializing in celiac disease and a celiac disease patient myself, I believe I bring unique insights and perspective to the Executive Council. I feel that I have a deep understanding of the practicality and acceptance of interventions in our patient population and strive to promote multidisciplinary collaboration. I have worked on various SSCD projects and statements over the years, but have not yet had the chance to serve on this prestigious council. As a member of the council, I will work to further the initiatives of raising awareness and providing evidence-based information to the celiac community on a greater scale.


Marie Robert, MD

Yale University, School of Medicine

As a gastrointestinal pathologist it is a very exciting time to engage in diagnostic and translational research, and in patient advocacy in celiac disease.  I am humbled and grateful to have had the opportunity to work with outstanding celiac disease thought leaders over many years.  My work in the past 10 years includes creating and co-leading a new celiac disease translational research group at Yale, reaching out to GI pathologists around the world to study aspects of biopsy interpretation at diagnosis and follow up, and helping clinical trialists determine how best to evaluate biopsy samples in the context of clinical trials.  I continue to publish biopsy guidelines and scientific findings in both pathology and clinical journals and was honored to be the inaugural Chief Scientific Officer of Beyond Celiac, gaining invaluable exposure to the patient perspective.  I would be honored to become much more actively involved in the SSCD as a Councilor and collaborator.  


Sharon Weston, MS RD LDN CSP FAND

Boston Children’s Hospital 

I am a pediatric dietitian at BCH and have a focus in using practical strategies to optimize nutrition.   I specialize in working with patients who have a combination of needs within GI and Endocrine (Dual Diagnosis Celiac Disease and T1D, or Celiac Disease and Obesity), in addition to address food insecurity and using Culinary Medicine to improve nutrition on a budget. I hope to add perspective as a pediatric dietitian, along with a background in combining Endocrinology/Gastroenterology and taking advantage of Culinary  Medicine.

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The SSCD is a dynamic alliance of healthcare professionals dedicated to advancing treatment for celiac disease and driving innovative solutions forward to improve patient quality of life.