Grow Clinic

The Grow Clinic is an outpatient clinic that evaluates and treats children diagnosed with failure to thrive (FTT), or who are underweight.

The Grow Team consists of a pediatrician, dietitian, social worker/coordinator, and psychologist. Under the direction of Medical Director Hans Kersten, MD, each patient is evaluated by the multi-disciplinary team. In order to address the multiple medical and psychosocial issues that cause FTT, a comprehensive treatment plan is developed to improve nutrition and promote growth for the child and family. Patients are followed up with accordingly.

The Grow Clinic opened in March 2005 with the support of a generous grant from the Claneil Foundation, and currently cares for over 300 children in partnership with the children's parents and caregivers.

Children are referred to the Grow Clinic if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • Weight declines two major percentage lines over 6 months’ time 
  • Height/weight ratio falls below 5th percentile for age 
  • Weight < 3rd percentile for age
  • Weight < 80th percentile of ideal weight for age

Using Our Services 

The first visit at the Grow Clinic involves a comprehensive evaluation by each member of the Grow Clinic Team. The initial evaluation may take up to three hours while the family meets with each professional. A diet history is taken, patients are weighed and measured and any pertinent labs are taken. The social worker may schedule a home visit with the family for a future date to better observe the child eating in his or her natural surroundings. Speech, occupational therapy or early intervention may be recommended, and the social worker will help families access those services. The psychologist will assess feeding behaviors and screen for behavioral problems that may interfere with eating.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy Program

For children aged 2 to 7 years of age with high levels of aggressive or non-compliant behaviors, the Grow Clinic offers parenting support to interested parents through the Parent Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT) program. PCIT helps parents to build a stronger relationship with their child and to better manage challenging behaviors.

Referrals and insurance are not necessary to be seen at the Grow Clinic. For more information, please call (215) 427-GROW (4769).

St. Christopher's is Helping to Reduce Hunger

St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children is dedicated to helping reduce hunger and malnutrition in children. For more information and ways you can help, please read the two documents below:

​ Our Team

St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia has highly qualified experts who are specially trained to work with the individual and unique needs of infants and pediatric patients. The team is led by Hans Kersten, MD, Medical Director of the Grow Clinic. To view a list of our specialists, click here.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (215) 427-GROW (4769).