February 01, 2019
3 min read

AGA to honor winners of annual Recognition Awards

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The American Gastroenterological Association has named the 2019 winners of its annual Recognition Awards, bestowed on leaders in gastroenterology to honor their contribution and achievements in the specialty.

“AGA members honor their colleagues and peers for outstanding contributions to the field of gastroenterology by nominating them for the AGA Recognition Awards,” David A. Lieberman, MD, AGAF, president of the AGA Institute, said in a press release. “We are proud to announce the 2019 AGA Recognition Prize winners, who are just a few of the distinguished and talented members who help make AGA such an accomplished organization. We are honored that such esteemed individuals are representative of AGA.”

The AGA will present the awards during Digestive Disease Week 2019 in San Diego, California.

Here are the winners of this year’s awards:

Julius Friedenwald Medal

John Allen, MD, MBA, AGAF, of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology and chief clinical officer at the University of Michigan Medical Group, takes home the AGA’s highest honor, awarded for lifelong contributions to the field of gastroenterology.

“Dr. Allen is internationally-renowned for bringing unique and critical knowledge about health care delivery and health care economics to the field of gastroenterology, as well as for his decades of AGA leadership,” the release said. “His experience is unique within the national gastroenterology community, encompassing private practice, non-academic health systems and leadership within two academic medical centers.”

Allen previously served as a president of the AGA Institute.

Timothy C. Wang, MD
Timothy C. Wang

William Beaumont Prize

The William Beaumont Prize honors an individual who had “made a unique, outstanding contribution of major importance to the field of gastroenterology.” Timothy C. Wang, MD, AGAF — chief of the division of digestive and liver diseases at Columbia University Medical Center — was chosen for his work in defining mechanism and cellular origins of Barrett’s esophagus and gastrointestinal cancers.

Distinguished Achievement Award in Basic Science

Harry B. Greenberg, MD, received the award for his work over the course of his career that focused on the development of rotovirus vaccines. The associate dean for research at Stanford University School of Medicine has also helped increased understanding of viral pathogenesis, focusing on rotavirus, norovirus and hepatitis.

Distinguished Educator Award

The Distinguished Educator Award was presented to Deborah D. Proctor, MD, AGAF, a nationally recognized expert in gastroenterology training and education. She serves as the AGA Institute Education & Training Councilor and is the medical director of the inflammatory bowel disease program at Yale School of Medicine.

Distinguished Mentor Award

The honor of the Distinguished Mentor Award went to Fred S. Gorelick, MD, deputy director of the Yale MD – PhD Program.

“Dr. Gorelick has been an inspiration to generations of trainees, many of whom have gone on to successful academic careers as faculty members, section chiefs, program directors, department chairs, and institute directors,” the release said.

Research Service Award

Ann G. Zauber, PhD, an attending biostatistician in the department of epidemiology & biostatistics at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, received the Research Service Award. She has had a leadership role in developing colorectal cancer screening guidelines.

“Dr. Zauber’s accomplishments have changed and advanced the practice of gastroenterology,” the release said. “Her work involving colorectal cancer screening and surveillance studies has had far-reaching effects on public policy.”

Distinguished Clinician Award

Naresh Gunaratnam 
Naresh T. Gunaratnam
Edward V. Loftus, MD 
Edward V. Loftus Jr.

The award is given to a physician who “combines the art of medicine with the skills demanded by the scientific body of knowledge in the service of their patients.” A recipient is chosen from both private practice and clinical academic practice. This year’s winners are:

  • Private Practice – Naresh T. Gunaratnam, MD, AGAF, director of research and obesity management at Huron Gastro.
  • Academic Practice – Edward V. Loftus Jr., MD, AGAF, professor of medicine in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and chief medical editor of Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease.

Young Investigator Awards

The honor is awarded to individuals in clinical and basic science who have performed basic research in the field of gastroenterology, demonstrated specific achievements in the areas of digestive or liver disease research, or have performed major clinical or outcomes research in the field, according to the press release. This year’s winners are:

  • Clinical Science – Sonia S. Kupfer, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Risk and Prevention Clinic, Illinois.
  • Basic Science – Costas A. Lyssiotis, PhD, of the division of gastroenterology at University of Michigan Medical School.