Cortney Ballengee Menchini, MD, is a pediatric gastroenterologist (GI specialist). She treats children with a variety of conditions. Many children she sees have inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, or poor nutrition.
These conditions take a toll on her young patients’ lives. They affect their energy level, progress in school, and even their playtime with other kids.
Dr. Menchini enjoys meeting children and their families, and she knows the parents are very concerned. She appreciates the opportunity to improve the child’s quality of life. “We cannot cure a lot of GI conditions, but we can help make life better,” she says. “A lot of our patients can go on to lead normal lives and keep up with their peers.”
In West Virginia, families often must travel long distances to see their doctors. “For many of my patients, it’s a big deal to drive to Morgantown to see a specialist,” she says.
Dr. Menchini, who grew up in West Virginia, can relate. She knows there is a doctor shortage, particularly in pediatric subspecialties. Patients are often sent out of the state for treatment.
It’s why she returned to West Virginia after her fellowship training at Emory Univeristy in Atlanta, Georgia. And it’s why her team coordinates appointments with other doctors. She wants families to be able to see all their doctors in one trip. “We want to make life easier for them,” she says.
The resiliency of her young patients and families inspires her. “People here tend to take things as they come and see the bright side of life,” she says.
The Pediatric GI division at WVU Medicine Children’s participates in ImproveCareNow, a national network that provides quality healthcare for children with inflammatory bowel disease. They also recently expanded care for pediatric fatty liver disease and offer FibroScan during clinic visits.
Dr. Menchini was drawn to medicine as a career choice because she saw significant progress being made in helping children. “The technology and treatments are always getting better,” she says.
In her training, she researched inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatic disorders. Her current research is on nutritional outcomes in the outpatient clinic. She’s looking at integrating a dietitian into clinic visits and educating patients on nutrition topics.
Dr. Menchini was named WVU Medicine Children’s “Teaching Physician of the Year.” During her training at Emory University, she was awarded “Fellow Teacher of the Year.”
She and her husband are the proud parents of a new baby and spend lots of quality time with extended family living nearby.