Comprehensive Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Program


Highlights of Our Program  |  Our Team  |  Research  |  Contact Us

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the United States. Without treatment, it can cause significant liver damage. When scar tissue accumulates, the diagnosis is called NASH-related liver damage/cirrhosis (NASH stands for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis). To serve this growing patient population, we have established a dedicated program for the study and management of NAFLD.

Our program provides long-term care for all aspects of NAFLD and NASH, utilizing a variety of tools: genetic testing, imaging, experimental therapeutics in clinical trials, and behavior modification. We are nationally recognized for our multidisciplinary approach, including the experts in hepatology, gastroenterology, cardiology, endocrinology, internal medicine, bariatric surgery and nutrition. This dynamic approach allows us to offer comprehensive plans for the management of fatty liver disease.

To make an appointment, call us at (212) 305-0914 or request an appointment online.
You can also email fattylivernyc@columbia.edu.

Highlights of Our Program

Comprehensive Treatment

Our program develops new techniques to guide important lifestyle changes

  • Personal nutrition consultations as needed and determined by a consult
  • Widespread use of mobile apps to assist with motivation, accountability and awareness of exercise and nutrition goals
  • Detailed exercise counseling
  • Partnership with weight management centers to support patients who are obese or overweight
  • Collaboration with Columbia’s Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery for patients needing bariatric procedures to address obesity, improve diabetes and lower cardiac risk
  • Screening and enrollment in clinical trials
  • Strong emphasis on translational research leading to better treatment and cures
  • Seamless transition to transplant services if needed (all hepatologists are transplant certified)

Pathway to Care

Patients can expect the following sequence of steps in their care journey (as needed):

1. Intake Visit & Non-invasive Tests
  • Detailed history and physical examination
  • Weight loss groups and/or registered dietician referral
  • Blood tests
  • Genetic testing
  • Point of care testing (elastography, etc.)
2. Follow-up (In-person and Telehealth)
  • Medical and surgical weight loss clinic
  • Specialty referral (nephrologist, cardiologist, etc.)
  • Additional testing
  • Clinical trials
  • Genetic counseling
  • Liver transplantation

Noninvasive Approaches For Risk Assessment

We believe in mitigating the use of biopsies when possible and use noninvasive tests (NITs) to help evaluate risk and course of treatment for patients with NAFLD and NASH. NITs may include blood tests, imaging (elastography) and risk calculators. Our program is also developing best practices for NITs that guide medical professionals in the field.

Education

Our commitment to community based education efforts extends from our local Washington Heights area to the international community. Empowering patients with health information augments our ability to deliver excellent care.

Columbia / Washington Heights Community Talk (English)

Columbia / Washington Heights Community Talk (Spanish)

Our Team

Julia Wattacheril, MD, MPH
Transplant Hepatologist | Director, NAFLD Program

Lauren Nicolosi, NP


Kelsie Bogyo, MS, CGC
Genetic Counselor

Amanda Alonso, MHA, CCRC
Director of Clinical Trials

Rachel Park
Clinical Research Coordinator

 

Research

Genomics and Precision Medicine

We focus on integrated genomics and precision medicine, which means we are studying the environments, lifestyles and genetics of patients to better understand the biology of NAFLD and how to sustain wellness. In fact, we've served as one of the beta launch sites for National Institute for Health’s (NIH) All of Us Research Program. The program asks participants to share broad information about their lifestyle with researchers in order to further this effort. It also pursues the gathering of data on a more diverse patient population than has historically been captured.
Learn More

In addition to national recruitment efforts for precision medicine, we are working closely with the Columbia Center for Precision Medicine and Genomics (CPMG) and the Institute for Genomic Medicine (IGM) to develop superior models for delivering genetic test results at our center so that patients have the best care experience possible.

IGM, CPMG and the Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI) have also teamed up with our computational geneticists and analysts to discover new genetic variants associated with liver disease at all stages. Once these computational and statistical methods are developed locally they are applied to other global datasets for an even greater understanding of liver disease.

Hepatocellular Carcinoma

In collaboration with a large and diverse number of partnering medical institutions, we have worked to better understand the development of the most common form of liver cancer, Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC), across all liver diseases. These efforts include specific attention to the relationship between HCC and NAFLD.

Our Research Group

Julia Wattacheril, MD, MPH
Transplant Hepatologist | Director, NAFLD Program

Anna Basile, PhD
Adjunct Associate Research Scientist | Tatonetti Lab
Bioinformatics Scientist, Statistical Genetics and Epidemiology | New York Genome Center

Patrick Shea, PhD
Associate Research Scientist | Institute for Genomic Medicine

Tess D. Pottinger
Postdoctoral Research Scientist | Institute for Genomic Medicine


Clinical Trials

Learn more about how they work and how you can participate.

Find a Clinical Trial
About Clinical Trials

Contact Us

Get in touch to schedule an appointment, ask a question, or just meet the team.

Presbyterian Hospital Building
622 W. 168th St.
New York, NY 10032

(212) 305-0914 | request an appointment online
You can also email fattylivernyc@columbia.edu.

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