Nadia Ameen, MBBS, is a physician-scientist and professor of pediatrics (gastroenterology) and cellular & molecular physiology at Yale School of Medicine.
Dr. Ameen has been a principal investigator and an NIH-funded investigator for over 20 years. Her laboratory studies the mechanisms of diarrheal diseases, including congenital diarrheal diseases affecting children and intestinal disease in Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Work from her laboratory contributed to the development of successful drugs to treat constipation, including Linzess (Linaclotide) and Amitiza (lubiprostone). She enjoys mentoring young women and men in science and research, and has a particular interest in mentoring students underrepresented in medicine and science.
In her clinical practice at Long Wharf, she sees patients with gastrointestinal diseases, including constipation, acid reflux, celiac disease, and abdominal pain. Though she prescribes medications when needed, Dr. Ameen is a strong believer in the role of nutrition to prevent and solve digestive problems whenever possible. Many gastrointestinal diseases are linked to diet and nutrition and can be addressed without using drugs or interventions.
“My favorite part of my job is seeing patients improve with dietary interventions and good nutrition,” says Dr. Ameen. For example, she encourages patients who eat a diet of mostly unrefined carbohydrates, rice, and red meat to add fruits, vegetables, flax seeds, and other sources of natural fiber to their meals. She provides education to families on the scientific evidence to support use of natural foods for specific conditions.
“I want to support the impact of dietary components on the gut,” she says. “I don’t like using chronic medications on patients. I truly believe we need to educate kids and families about good eating habits and the impact of food on gut health. Then they can carry these on for the rest of their lives and prevent diseases like obesity, constipation, diabetes, and fatty liver disease.”
To that end, Dr. Ameen directs a service called Food and Gut Health. Through free consultations, participants learn how to reduce stress, exercise regularly, shop for and choose foods that are beneficial to the gut, and plan meals that fit within their cultural norms. “Patients can be in a vicious cycle of stress, eating foods that lead to poor gut health, and not having time to exercise,” Dr. Ameen says. She emphasizes that all of the program’s recommendations are firmly backed by scientific evidence.
Yale Medicine, Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital