Dr. Sofia Verstraete is a gastroenterologist specializing in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease — in children. She performs diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, including colonoscopies and other endoscopies, and cares for hospitalized patients as well as those visiting the clinic. Her special interests include IBD that develops at an early age, the ways in which rare conditions of chronic immunodeficiency relate to IBD, liver disease in patients with IBD and how to safely transition IBD patients to other providers' care.
Verstraete is a strong advocate for diversity. As a native Spanish speaker, she can evaluate treat patients who speak only Spanish, bringing particular value to medically complex cases where language and cultural barriers pose challenges. She is co-director of the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital's Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program and leads its clinical, research and quality improvement teams. She is passionate about improving remission rates among IBD patients at UCSF by offering a support group, hosting educational events, connecting patients with resources and creating subspecialty clinics to address the needs of patients who have other conditions along with IBD.
One focus of Verstraete's current research is how medical professionals classify IBD in pediatric patients. Her research also investigates how ethnicity impacts the condition's characteristics. In addition, she is active in clinical trials of cutting-edge medications for pediatric IBD.
After earning her medical degree from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Verstraete completed a residency in pediatrics at the University of Miami Health System. She then completed a master of advanced studies degree in epidemiology and biostatistics as well as a fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at UCSF.
Verstraete belongs to the American Academy of Pediatrics; North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition; American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases; Crohn's & Colitis Foundation; and American Gastroenterological Association. She is a John A. Watson Faculty Scholar at UCSF, an honor that has allowed her to dedicate time to research and caring for underserved populations. She also manages the educational programs that give UCSF medical students and residents an opportunity to expand their knowledge of pediatric gastroenterology.