Skip to main content

Runa D. Watkins, MD

Academic Title:

Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:


Administrative Title:

Division Head, Division of Gastroenterology & Nutrition Division



Phone (Primary):




Education and Training

I received my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2000 from the University of Florida. I then recevied my medical degree from the American University of the Caribbean, located in St. Maarten. From medical school, I completed my internship and residency at Memorial University Medical Center, associated with Mercer University, in Savannah, Georgia. My last year as a resident, I was also a chief resident. Upon completed residency, I began a 3 year fellowship in Pediatric Gastronenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Jackson Memorial Hospital, University of Miami. I graduated from fellowship in 2012.


As I started my training in the field of pediatric gastroenterologist, my familiarity with Celiac Disease was lacking, as it was not a common diagnosis in the local patient population. Upon completing fellowship, I started as an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland and in my second year as an attending, I became one of the main providers for our specific practice of Celiac Disease. I have familiarized myself with the current guidelines for diagnosing Celiac Disease and for knowing the aspects of ongoing care. I am active in continuing my medical education in this field, as I have recently attended the International Symposium for Celiac Disease in Prague, Czech Republic. I try my best to make local populations aware of Celiac Disease, as I have traveled statewide with my team to provide education. I have also been a coauthor on an abstract that was presented at NASPGHAN, our national conference, last year. The aim of the study was to determine if those adherent to a gluten free diet would have elevated arsenic levels, compared to a control group, as it was thought their diets were more heavily rice based. With my continued practice in caring for patients with Celiac Disease, both adults and children, I have contemplated several questions. There are still many uncertainties in the world of Celiac Disease, as we are not sure why there are those with the specific gene who will never develop Celiac Disease. 

Research/Clinical Keywords

Celiac Disease, nutrition

Highlighted Publications

Codina R, Lockey RF, Diwadkar R, Mobly L, Godfrey S. (2003) Disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (DOT) application and vacuum cleaning, a combined strategy to control house dust mites. Allergy 58:318-24.

Wald FA, Forteza R, Diwadkar Watkins R, Mashukova A, Duncan R, Abreu MT, Salas, PJ. (2011) Aberrant expression of the polarity complex atypical PKC and non-muscle myosin IIA in active and inactive inflammatory bowel disease. Virchows Arch 459:331-338.

Additional Publication Citations

Watkins RD, Duro D. (2011) Pediatric Malnutrition Syndromes: Marasmus, Kwashiorkor, Refeeding Syndrome, Short Bowel Syndrome. In: Decision Support in Medicine. Barrett, DJ. (ed).

Watkins RD, Neri D, Miller TL. (2012) Nutritional Evaluation and Intervention in Metabolic Syndrome. In: A Comprehensive Overview of Pediatric Metabolic Syndrome and Related Health Consequences. Lipshultz SE, Miller TL and Messiah SE. (eds), Springer Publishers, New York, NY.

Watkins RD, Quezada SM. (2015) Nutrition and Short Gut Syndrome. In: Surgery for Crohn’s Disease. Kavic SM (ed), Nova Science Publishers, Hauppauge, NY.

Watkins RD, Somarriba G, Orav EJ, Neri D, Graham P, O’Brien R, Kurtz J, Marin M, Miller TL. Vascular Inflammation and Body Fat are Associated with Resting Energy Expenditure in HIV-Infected Children, 4th International Workshop on HIV Pediatrics, Washington, DC, poster presentation, 2012.

Rawal N, Safta A, Malkani A, Zawahir S, Kader H, Watkins RD, Blanchard S.
A Systematic review of gluten free, casein free diet and autism: What do we know?, American College of Gastroenterology, San Diego, CA, poster presentation, 2013.

Rawal N, Safta A, Watkins RD, Zawahir S, Malkani A, Kader H, Blanchard S. Treatment options for Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in children: A systematic review, American College of Gastroenterology, Philadelphia, PA, poster presentation, 2014.

Hong D, Blanchard S, Watkins RD. Concentrated Hydrogen Peroxide Ingestion – Role of Advanced Imaging in Management, NASPGHAN, Atlanta, GA, poster presentation, 2014.

Hong D, Safta A, Blanchard S, Watkins RD. Arsenic Levels in Celiac Patients: a Pilot Study, NASPGHAN, Washington, DC, poster presentation, 2015.

Elitsur Y, Sigman T, Watkins RD, et al. Are high serum titers of tTG sufficient to diagnose Celiac Disease: A multi-center study from North American Children, NASPGHAN, Washington, DC, poster presentation, 2015.

Clinical Specialty Details

I specialize in Celiac Disease and nutrition, but I also see common GI ailments, such as reflux, milk soy protein allergy, poor weight gain/failure to thrive and inflammatory bowel diseases.