Erin Teeple

Why a colorectal transition program matters

Erin Teeple

Erin Teeple, M.D.

Children’s National Hospital recently welcomed pediatric and adult colorectal surgeon Erin Teeple, M.D., to the Division of Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction. Dr. Teeple is the only person in the United States who is board-certified as both a pediatric surgeon and adult colorectal surgeon, uniquely positioning her to care for people with both acquired and congenital colorectal disease and help them transition from pediatric care to adult caregivers.

What is the Colorectal Transition Program?

The Colorectal Transition Program helps young adults with congenital or acquired colorectal conditions transition their care from pediatric care providers to adult care providers. It is critical that they receive guided transitional care because they often have complex medical and surgical histories from the time they are born affecting more than one organ system. A transitional care team which knows the patient on the pediatric side and can help deliver them to the right doctors and care providers in an adult setting will smooth the transition. Collaborative care across specialties including colorectal surgery, gynecology, urology and gastroenterology helps ensure continued care of all organ systems affected. Similar transition programs already exist for other conditions such as congenital heart disease and cystic fibrosis.

What’s new about this program?

I am both a pediatric surgeon and an adult colorectal surgeon, which means I can care for these children even prenatally and continue that care throughout adulthood. There is no other program in the United States led by a practicing pediatric surgeon who is also board-certified in adult colorectal surgery.

In addition, the collaboration between Children’s National Hospital and Medstar means we can bring unprecedented partnerships with urology, gynecology and gastroenterology on the adult side to offer collaborative care akin to the kind of care we offer our pediatric patients in the Division of Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction.

Who will benefit from this program?

Teenagers and adults with congenital and acquired colorectal disease, such as cloaca and other anorectal malformations, Hirschsprung disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), pelvic floor dysfunction, familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), those who have cecostomy or have had in their past a complex reconstruction will benefit the most from this program.

We have started to transition our existing young adults into this program. We also have seen many adults who have struggled to find care since leaving a pediatric care setting decades ago. These people have come from the local area as well as nationally and internationally to find experienced and collaborative care they have desperately sought.

How is Children’s National Hospital leading the way?

By recruiting the only U.S. surgeon boarded in both pediatric surgery and colorectal surgery, Children’s National will offer unique expertise to both initial surgical reconstruction and care and add a wealth of experience to the care of these children as they age into adulthood.

Having a devoted clinician with a foot in both the pediatric and adult worlds will foster long term relationships and build the depth of the team providing clinical care to all our patients and their families.

Why do you think it is so important to involve a surgeon with your training in the care of these kids?

A pediatric colorectal surgeon is critical to the initial care of an infant with congenital colorectal disease. My knowledge as an adult colorectal surgeon adds a different perspective to the treatment plan for our young patients but also will bring key insight to the process of transitioning that care to providers who specialize in adults later down the road. I also bring the knowledge and experience of a pediatric surgeon to the adult side, which gives me the ability to know the complex congenital anatomy that needed to be reconstructed when the patient was a child and to bring together a team optimized for the care of often complex conditions. Adults with these conditions also have unique needs that are different from the typical adult colorectal patient, and my specific expertise gives me the right skills to help them.