Our Professional Staff
Lee Lerch, DO
Dr. Lee Lerch is a fellow of the American Osteopathic Board of Pediatrics and serves on the Executive Board for the New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Originally from Ohio, he received his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado with a dual major in history and pre-med, and earned his doctorate from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) in 1980. After interning in Cleveland, Ohio, he returned to the Delaware Valley to complete his residency in pediatrics at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) in 1983. A clinical instructor for students attending PCOM & UMDNJ, in 2004 Dr. Lerch was named PCOM's Outstanding Teacher of the Year—an honor that was particularly rewarding since both Dr. Lerch's father (a pediatrician) and his mother (a pediatric nurse) also graduated from PCOM.
Dr. Lerch knows firsthand that having a multiple birth is a challenge for any parent, whether twins, triplets or more! Because Dr. Lerch and his wife have twin daughters and a son, he has practical parenting experience and enjoys families with multiple births. He also understands that most multiples are premature, causing concerns in proper development and numerous other issues, including medical problems that may affect sleep, feeding, growth, development, education, and a host of complex problems. Dr. Lerch enjoys the challenge of educating parents as well as caring for multiples and helping in their healthy development.
Dr. Lerch has a passion for treating children of any age. He likes interacting with adolescents, and has a special interest in infectious diseases. As an active member of his church, he has served on medical missions to Jamaica and Haiti, and hopes to find time to do more mission work in this area.
In college, as a competitive skier, Dr. Lerch had to choose between going to medical school or joining the U.S. Ski Team. No longer competing, he now enjoys skiing with his family, as well as landscaping, running, cycling, and racquetball. Dr. Lerch was recognized as a "Top Doc" by South Jersey Magazine in 2010 and 2011, and received the Patient's Choice Award in Pediatrics in 2009 and 2010.
Christopher Amato, DO, FAAP
Dr. Christopher Amato is a board certified pediatrician who joined our practice in July 2004. Growing up in southern New Jersey as the youngest of 14 children, his large family heavily influenced his interest in pediatrics. Dr. Amato earned his medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) School of Osteopathic Medicine, and completed his pediatric residency at The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He is currently the director of the Children's Weight Management Program at Virtua Health and Wellness Center in Washington Township, New Jersey.
Dr. Amato enjoys working with all families, and has a special interest in helping children maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is a significant health concern for children in today's society. Approximately one in three children are overweight or obese. Dr. Amato and our practice provide medical management for children with weight problems by monitoring age-appropriate growth parameters, reviewing eating and exercise habits, and evaluating for problems commonly associated with obesity. We educate the child and the child's family on a plan of action and refer to specialists if needed.
A proud husband and father, Dr. Amato is happiest spending time with his family. He avidly follows all of Philadelphia's professional sports teams and tries to stay in shape to keep up with his high-energy children.
Diana Lewitt, DO
Dr. Diana Lewitt grew up in South Jersey, where she was once a patient of Dr. Lerch's. From a young age she knew that she wanted to be a pediatrician, and since joining our practice in April 2010, she is delighted to now be working with Dr. Lerch. Dr. Lewitt received her bachelor's degree in biology from Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, earned her doctorate from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) School of Osteopathic Medicine, and completed her pediatric internship and residency at the Janet Weis Children's Hospital at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania. During her residency, Dr. Lewitt participated in a mission trip to Kiev, Ukraine, to help establish an international partnering relationship with several children's hospitals and specialty centers. As part of the visiting medical team, she also evaluated and treated children in many orphanages and street clinics.
Dr. Lewitt's work with orphanages in Ukraine is one of the many ways she pursues her personal interest in international adoption medicine. Raised in a family with several international adoptions herself, she particularly enjoys caring for the health and well-being of internationally-adopted children and their families. Her expertise in this area includes an array of related pediatric topics, including pre-adoption considerations, cultural issues, child development, family adjustment, and other medical issues. Dr. Lewitt understands the unique needs and challenges of international adoptees and their families, and serves as a valuable resource for children and parents alike.
For Dr. Lewitt, one of the best things about pediatrics is the relationships she forms with all families right from the start. She considers it of utmost importance to act as a team with parents in caring for their children. Dr. Lewitt enjoys dance, cooking, baking, and spending time with her husband and daughter at the Jersey shore.
Diana Chow, DO
Dr. Diana Chow, certified by the American Board in Pediatrics, received her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers College and her medical degree from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine. She worked in research and teaching at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. After completing her pediatric residency at Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Dr. Chow worked for Plainsboro Pediatrics before joining Advocare Lerch and Amato Pediatrics. A fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and member of the New Jersey Chapter of the AAP, her interests include traveling, spending time with her family, and bicycling.
Kimberly Deery, DO
Dr. Deery received her bachelor’s degree in cell and molecular biology from Tulane University in New Orleans. She worked in the stem cell research field at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. Dr. Deery moved back to New Jersey and received a master’s of biomedical sciences degree from University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Newark. Dr. Deery then earned her doctorate from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, and completed a traditional rotating internship.
She moved to Oklahoma for her osteopathic pediatric residency at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa, where she served as chief resident during her final year of training. She is pending board certification from the American Board of Osteopathic Pediatricians, is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians.
Dr. Deery joined Advocare Lerch and Amato Pediatrics in July 2015 and is thrilled to be back in New Jersey and closer to her hometown of South Brunswick, NJ. She loves treating children of all ages and in her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, traveling, working out, reading, and going to the beach.
Susan L. Ackley, RN, APN-C
Susan earned her nursing degree from the University of Pennsylvania and has been with our practice since 2004. As a Nurse Practitioner, she works as part of an integrated team of pediatricians and staff to ensure that the highest quality of care is delivered to every child. Because patients appreciate her nurturing style of practice, patients enjoy seeing her and she is in great demand.
Earlier in her career Susan gained significant international experience working in Central American villages, where she provided basic medical care to those who could not afford or find access to health care. She has conducted academic presentations at the conference of the Camden County Nurses Association, and supports our community by working with various charities in the area.
Among her many activities, Ms. Ackley gives a presentation for parents who have a child with ADD or ADHD. Focused on helping parents learn how to access the support a child with ADD/ADHD needs in the public school system, the presentation includes topics such as understanding a 504 Plan and an IEP, communication strategies between parents and the school, and support strategies to assist parents in helping improve their child's education experience.
Christine Kember, MSN, RN, APN-C
A South Jersey native, and former patient of Dr. Lerch, Christine earned her undergraduate degrees from Rowan University and Thomas Jeffereson University, where she went on to receive her Master of Science in Nursing. She spent time in the Division of Orthopedics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Specialty Care Center in Voorhees, NJ, as well as Primary Care Pediatrics, Nemours Pediatrics in South Philadelphia during her clinical rotations.
Christine knew from the time she was 13 years old that she would one day become a pediatrician after a soccer injury sent her to the ER. She was amazed by the kindness of the doctors and nurses, as well as the great care she received. After recovering from her injury, Christine became a volunteer at Kennedy Memorial Hospital where she loved working with patients.
Prior to joining Advocare Lerch and Amato Pediatrics in 2014, Christine worked at Ventnor Pediatrics. Here she helped take care of low-income children and their families. Christine understands how important family is in pediatric care, and truly enjoys working with parents and their children. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, cooking, baking, shopping, and playing outside with her husband and young daughter.