Gastroenterologists at Kaiser

Parent Q&A

Select any title to view the full question and replies.

  • Kaiser GI Recommendation Needed

    (6 replies)

    Can anyone recommend a good Kaiser gastroenterologist? My longtime doctor is no longer with Kaiser, so I need to find someone ASAP to oversee treatment for my Crohn’s disease.

    I’m looking for someone who works collaboratively with patients, who will listen to my experience and observations, and is able to think outside the box (rather than just defaulting to a stock treatment plan). 

    I’m in Oakland, but willing to travel anywhere in the Bay Area for the right fit.

    (And if there are any Kaiser GI docs who you’ve had negative experiences with, I would appreciate hearing about those too, so I know who to avoid!)

    Thank you for any suggestions!

    dr cusato is excellent, and so if Dr ajayi. 

    I have THE best GI doc at Kaiser---Dr. Benjamin Hassid.   He is so kind, patient and extremely thorough.  When I was suffering from generalized IBS problems, I'd shoot him an email about how I lost another whole week and didn't know what to do and his response was always to set up an appointment to talk with me.  What specialist does that?   He tried several things and finally found the culprit that helped me resolve my problem.  I had my husband consult with him after he suffered from his Nth bout of diverticulitis.   Dr. Hassid is gentle and just wonderful.  He's in Oakland but I'd travel anywhere to see him!!!!  :)  

    I am a huge fan of Jonathan Pritikin in Kaiser San Francisco's Gastroenterology office. After decades of being told that my GI problems were just due to stress, he actually listened, did a comprehensive assessment, and came up with a simple treatment plan that worked miracles. He has to work within the confines of Kaiser's system and sometimes behind the times protocols, but is up to date on treatments that Kaiser does not automatically support and is very willing to explore. Will also add that as a middle aged overweight woman I have never felt dismissed by Dr. Pritikin in the way that I do by many many other health providers. He has never suggested that any of my health problems are due to my weight or would be solved by losing weight. Absolutely worth the trek to San Francisco.  

    I saw Stephanie Ann Santos, MD at Kaiser Oakland; she is in Gastroenterology and I think she would fit the bill for you. I only saw her a couple of times, but my impression was excellent. She was a good listener, seemed kind, and gave useful, pragmatic advice. I can't speak to her knowledge of alternative therapies (non-traditional treatment plans), but my GI issue was resolved. Best of luck to you!

    Hi  I saw Dr. Aaron Daniel Lee, a Kaiser GI, for diagnosis and treatment of a number of GI problems.  At the time he was at Oakland, and he no longer is - but he is still in the Kaiser system.  He was excellent- listened well, asked questions, was sympathetic and personal.  He took my age and mental state into account.  He seemed well-trained, open to alternatives, and caring.  So I recommend him to you.  I saw him in 2018, but contacted him again last year.  Good luck.

    Dr. Kimberly Cusato has taken great care of my and my lower GI issues (ulcerative colitis) for 10+ years.  Talk to her - she's in Oakland.

  • Kaiser GI Dr Sought (Alameda/Oakland)

    (1 reply)

    I'm in need of a referral to a Kaiser Gastroenterologist at Alameda or Oakland (ideally) who

    a) Has a good bedside manner

    b) Is open to and/or knowledgeable about alternative therapies and treatments (e.g. plant-based antibiotics in place of pharmaceutical ones, when appropriate)

    c) Knows about and can treat S.I.B.O

    d) Is a woman

    Thank you!

    I saw Stephanie Ann Santos, MD at Kaiser Oakland; she is in Gastroenterology and I think she would fit the bill for you. I only saw her a couple of times, but my impression was excellent. She was a good listener, seemed kind, and gave useful, pragmatic advice. I can't speak to her knowledge of alternative therapies, as my GI issue was treated in a more traditional western (medication-based) route, but indeed it was resolved! Best of luck to you.

  • Kaiser & SIBO Treatment

    (5 replies)


    I have SIBO. I also have Kaiser, which from what I understand, is not a good combo to have. (Hopefully someone can prove, from personal experience, that my statement is false.)

    I'm seeking referrals for gastroenterologists at Kaiser (Oakland is ideal, but will travel) who are 1) knowledgeable about and will treat SIBO, constipation predominant and (ideally) 2) are on the holistic/naturopathic end of the medicine scale (i.e. knowledgeable about and open to herbal antibiotics in place of or in combination with traditional, drug antibiotics for treatment).

    If you know of anyone, please let me know. If you also care to share your story/journey with SIBO, I'd welcome that, too!

    Many thanks.

    Can't help with Kaiser navigation, but I did want to point you towards a small but powerful study about the effects of a specific probiotic on the methane kind of SIBO. If you have the methane kind of SIBO, of which constipation is a symptom, it's worth trying this low impact intervention. The study is very small (20 people) but shows significant promise for this probiotic. Excerpt: "Four weeks of L. reuteri administration was associated with a significant decrease of mean methane production determined... Moreover, a total disappearance of methane production was observed in 11 patients".

    I took Biogaia chewable tablets, 2x a day for a month - matches the dose of 100 million CFUs that were used in the study. Symptoms disappeared but it was in combination with some other diet and life changes so it's hard to disentangle what was responsible what. So far symptoms haven't come back. 

    Effect of Lactobacillus reuteri (DSM 17938) on methane production in patients affected by functional constipation: a retrospective study

    hi there. my GI doc at kaiser sf is wonderful! i don't know about his experience with SIBO or not... his name is dr. vellayos. 

    take care,


    Hi there! 

    I was diagnosed with SIBO by a naturopath a few years ago, I didn't even know normal doctors knew what that is or could diagnose it?? I'm going to follow this thread to see if anyone has had success with treatment outside of a naturopath. I will say, it was a tough experience for me. The FODMAP diet and all the supplements are tough to keep up with and really expensive. I'm not sure if it's gone away, but I do feel mostly good and eat a really healthy diet overall. If you can't find a Kaiser Dr. you may want to check out Parsley Health, they're a somewhat affordable membership option and their doctors are amazing! 

    Good luck!

    Hi There,

    My gastro at Kaiser ( I am spacing her name) would not test for SIBO - I actually do not think they do not test. She advised me to follow the FODMAP diet and that was it. I think seeing a naturopath is the way to go. My girlfriend who was diagnosed with both types of SIBO imported a prescription from Canada.  Let me follow up with her and see 1) how she is feeling and 2) if she can recommend her Naturopath. 

    Dr. Jonathan Pritikin at Kaiser San Francisco is absolutely worth the commute. I saw him a few years ago after struggling with IBS for decades and having basically given up on finding a doctor who would tell me something other than to reduce my stress level. He had up to date knowledge about SIBO and treatments. (Kaiser did not do the breath test at that time - but that didn't mean that he didn't recognize the condition or refused to treat it.) I did a round of traditional antibiotics and started a FODMAP reduced diet and had great success. I didn't have a ton of conversation with him about alternative treatments beyond dietary, but he is incredibly open minded and willing to try a variety of things. My only complaint (beyond the SF location) is that he is maybe a little too thorough; I've definitely had a lot labwork and imaging done on his request - but I have also pushed back on some of it and he has respected that. Finding Dr. Pritikin literally changed my life. It is such a gift to have a GI doctor that I know will take my concerns seriously and do his best to address them. Bonus is that he is a lovely and quirky guy; we always have interesting conversations during office visits. Best of luck.