Malnutrition’s Role in COVID-19

Dr. Louis Ehwerhemuepha, PhD, ​Manager, Computational Research at Children’s Health Orange County (CHOC) ​and Dr. Kenneth Grant, ​pediatric ​gastroenterologist​ at ​CHOC in ​California discuss new research led by CHOC that found that for malnourished children and adults who contract COVID-19, the outcome could lead to mechanical ventilation or death. He talks about the long-term effects of malnutrition on COVID-19 outcomes, details of the research, how public intervention can mitigate the higher likelihood of severe COVID, and resources for those experiencing malnourishment at home or within their community. 

Dr. Louis Ehwerhemuepha is the Manager of Computational Research at CHOC, a pediatric healthcare system in Orange, California, where he applies statistical learning and artificial intelligence algorithms for purposes of inference and prediction. His work focuses on the understanding of risk factors of patient deterioration and prediction of the deterioration before it occurs and with enough time for clinical interventions. His team supports the wide ranges of computational research at CHOC.

I am an active practicing Pediatric Gastroenterologist, diagnosing and treating all gastroenterology disorders, fostered by my life-long interest in growth and development.  I am also a part-time physician informaticist which supports my interest in communication and technology. I am boarded in pediatric gastroenterology and clinical informatics. My clinical interests include nutrition, growth and development, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and the gastrointestinal complications associated with autism.  Daily teaching responsibilities include medical students and residents from the University of California Irvine pediatric residency program based at CHOC Children’s Hospital. I am faculty in the Clinical Informatics Fellowship Program at UCI. Research experience has included participation in multiple clinical drug trials. I am the director of the CHOC IBD Program. Research efforts also focus on healthcare delivery in a patient centric population health model. This melds my expertise in gastroenterology and informatics. I am an active participant in Improve Care Now, an international pediatric IBD quality improvement organization. I am an active participant in the Cerner Pediatric Leadership Council that leads advocacy for pediatrics at our organization’s electronic medical record vendor. My informatics leadership role includes Co-Medical Director the CHOC Telehealth Program. I participate in the extensive innovation activities on our CHOC campus.  I am the Associate Director of our medical group’s GI Division and GI Section Head at CHOC Children’s Hospital. I was previously on the Board of Directors of our multispecialty pediatric medical group for more than 20 years.  I have received numerous teaching awards and am consistently voted as one of Orange County’s Top Doctors by the Orange County Medical Association.

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