Barbara McElhanon, MD

Barbara McElhanon headshot

Medical Director

Assistant Professor, Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics

Barbara McElhanon, MD, earned her medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine in 2007. After spending three years at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia/University of Pennsylvania for pediatrics training, she returned to the Emory University Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition for fellowship training. She finished training and board certification in 2013, and then joined the division as an Assistant Professor.

During her fellowship, Dr. McElhanon began collaborating with colleagues at Marcus Autism Center, particularly in the Feeding Program and toilet-training efforts in the Severe Behavior Program. In 2014, she attained joint appointment in the Emory University Division of Autism and Related Disorders and became the Medical Director for the Feeding Program at Marcus Autism Center.

Dr. McElhanon cares for children with all GI diseases in clinic and the hospital; teaches medical students, residents and fellows; and is one of two gastroenterologists in the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Aerodigestive Program. Her passion is leading the medical team in the Feeding Program, doing research in feeding and associated nutritional disorders, seeing and studying encopresis in children with autism, and treating GI disorders in patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Dr. McElhanon has a weekly GI Clinic dedicated to patients with autism located at Marcus Autism Center. She also cares for patients in the Feeding Program at the Center for Advanced Pediatrics and Marcus Autism Center.

Dr. McElhanon is frequently asked to speak and teach about these issues, as well as collaborate nationally and internationally with others who share the same goal of preventing pediatric problems and optimizing life for children with autism.


  • Gill, A.E., Gallagher, N., McElhanon, B.O., Painter, A.R., Gold, B.D., & Hawkins, C.M. (2018). Image-guided placement of percutaneous de novo low-profile gastrojejunostomy tubes in the pediatric population: a study of feasibility and efficacy. Pediatric Radiology, 48(6), 882-888.
  • Call, N.A., Mevers, J.L., McElhanon, B.O., & Scheithauer, M.C. (2017). A multidisciplinary treatment for encopresis in children with developmental disabilities. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 50(2), 332-344.
  • Hofmekler, T., Bertha, M., McCracken, C., Martineau, B., McKinnon, E., Schoen, B.T., McElhanon, B.O., Tenjarla, G., Kugathasan, S., & Sauer, C.G. (2017) Infliximab optimization based on therapeutic drug monitoring in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition64 (4), 580-585.
  • Sharp, W.G., Volkert, V.M., Scahill, L., McCracken, C.E., & McElhanon, B. (2017) A systematic review and meta-analysis of intensive multidisciplinary intervention for pediatric feeding disorders: How standard is the standard of care? Journal of Pediatrics, 181, 116-124.e4.
  • Sevilla, W.M.A., & McElhanon, B. (2016). Optimizing transition to home enteral nutrition for pediatric patients. Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 31 (6), 762-768.
  • Simek, R.Z., Prince, J., Syed, S., Sauer, C.G., Martineau, B., Hofmekler, T., Freeman, A.J., Kumar, A., McElhanon, B.O., Schoen, B.T., Tenjarla, G., McCracken, C., Ziegler, T.R., Tangpricha, V., & Kugathasan, S. (2016). Pilot Study Evaluating Efficacy of 2 Regimens for Hypovitaminosis D Repletion in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 62(2), 252-8.
  • McElhanon, B.O., McCracken, C., Karpen, S., & Sharp, W.G. (2014). Gastrointestinal symptoms in autism spectrum disorder: A meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 133(5), 872-83.

Speaking Engagements

  • McElhanon, B. (2018, February). Encopresis intervention in children with autism. GI Care for Kids Conference. Lecture conducted from Atlanta, GA.
  • McElhanon, B. (2017, November). Gastrointestinal issues in children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Health & Wellness Physician’s Summit; Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. Lecture conducted from Stone Mountain, GA.
  • McElhanon, B. (2016, April). Feeding difficulties in children: Associations, latest evidence, and opportunities for prevention. 24th Annual Conference: Neonatology 2016. Lecture conducted from Emory Conference Center in Atlanta, GA.
  • McElhanon, B. (2015, October). Teaching and tomorrow: Career choices for training pediatric gastroenterologists. North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition Annual Meeting. Lecture conducted from Washington, D.C.
  • McElhanon, B. (2014, October). Feeding difficulties. Association of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Nurses Annual Meeting. Lecture conducted from Atlanta, GA.