Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center Clinical Care Team
Our clinical care team members, including doctors, physician assistants, a nutritionist, psychologists, and researchers, work together to provide integrated, comprehensive care for people who have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Our Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center physicians include experts in gastroenterology, and surgery.
Our Physician Assistants
Juliette A. Bender-Heine, PA-C
A physician assistant (PA) in gastroenterology, Ms. Bender-Heine received her bachelor’s degree from Earlham College in 2008 and her master’s degree in physician assistant studies from Chatham University in 2013. Before moving to New York, she worked for almost five years as a physician assistant in IBD at Presbyterian Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Ms. Bender-Heine strongly believes in a patient-centered, team approach to treating people who have IBD, and in keeping people actively involved in all aspects of their care. She enjoys coordinating care for patients and helping to improve their symptoms and quality of life.
Voula Dikeakos, PA-C
Ms. Dikeakos is a PA who has dedicated her career to the field of surgery and perioperative management. She began her training at a surgically focused PA program through Weill Cornell Medical College. At NYU Langone, she is excited to be part of a highly skilled team that provides the best available care to people with IBD.
Joanna Esterow, PA-C
A PA who has a passion for working with people who have IBD, Ms. Esterow graduated from the Hofstra University physician assistant program in 2004. After joining NYU Langone, she initially worked in the medical treatment of IBD. In 2016, she expanded her role and is now involved with both the medical and surgical treatment of people with the most complex cases of IBD. She is actively involved in IBD research and clinical trials and teaches students and other clinicians about the disease to improve quality of life for people who have IBD.
Ji Soo Choi, RN, BSN
Ms. Choi is a registered nurse working in gastroenterology who enjoys providing personalized care to people who have IBD. She understands the importance of partnering with each person and the collaboration required among the entire IBD care team. Ms. Choi strives for excellence in patient care and values the opportunities she has to interact with patients and sustain long-term relationships with them.
Our Nutrition Specialist
Arielle Leben MS, RD, CDN
Ms. Leben is a registered dietitian who specializes in working with people who have IBD as well as various other gastrointestinal disorders, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroparesis, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and diverticular disease. She works closely with patients to deliver personalized nutrition interventions that include food, meal planning, and dietary supplements. Ms. Leben enjoys forging long-term relationships with patients while helping them make sustainable changes to promote better overall health and quality of life. Ms. Leben graduated from NYU with a masters in clinical nutrition and completed her dietetic internship at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Jessica A. Gerson, PhD
Dr. Gerson is a clinical psychologist who provides care to people with IBD and to those who have had or will have colorectal surgery. She also sees patients with other gastrointestinal conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Dr. Gerson offers short-term integrative individual psychotherapy and IBD-focused hypnotherapy and runs support groups. She also conducts research and trains psychologists. Dr. Gerson received her PhD in clinical psychology from LIU Brooklyn in 1999, as well as postdoctoral training in IBD-centered hypnotherapy, family systems therapy, and mindfulness meditation training. She is a member of the medical advisory board for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.
Our Clinical Research Coordinators
Heather Dufficy, BA, CCRP, NREMT-P
As program manager of the clinical trials division at NYU Langone Nassau Gastroenterology Associates, Ms. Dufficy oversees gastroenterology research and clinical trials. In this role, she seeks out and evaluates new IBD treatments so that we may offer them to our patients before U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval through clinical trials. Ms. Dufficy believes that no other career choice would provide the sense of fulfillment she receives from helping people with IBD improve their quality of life.
Ghoncheh Ghiasian, MPH
Our research program manager, Ms. Ghiasian ensures that the clinical research experience here is positive for our patients. She is excited to be working at the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center and strongly believes in the importance of clinical research in increasing treatment options for people living with IBD.
To make an appointment at NYU Langone’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease center, call 855-NYU-IBDC (855-698-4232).