Issue: November 2020
Source: Healio Interview
November 20, 2020
5 min read
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And your 2020 Healio Disruptive Innovators are ...

Issue: November 2020
Source: Healio Interview
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During the American College of Gastroenterology Annual Meeting, I had the honor of hosting the third Healio Disruptive Innovators Awards. Though this event looked different this year – as do so many of our traditions – we enjoyed naming our 2020 Healio Disruptive Innovators.

Each of the awardees in the eight categories has changed the face of gastroenterology and pushed the status quo toward the betterment of the field.

These awards stem from the disruption that Healio caused in gastroenterology. The first publication to enter the market in decades, Healio uses a Peer Tested concept to deliver in print what our peers are reading online.

Edward V. Loftus Jr.
Edward V. Loftus Jr.

We use analytics, data and social media to give us what’s trending. It’s quick, easy-to-read and perfect for the busy physician.

We believe the Healio Disruptive Innovators represent the revolutionary mindset of Healio Gastroenterology, which disrupted our consumption of information.

From social media giants to health equity, these Healio Disruptive Innovators are the ultimate in Peer Tested.

Here are our winners.

– Edward V. Loftus Jr., MD

Clinical Innovation Award, presented by Healio and ACG

This award goes to a physician or institution that changed the face of the gastroenterology practice.

The awardee is seen as an example of how patient care can be bettered through changes in administration, technique, or the delivery of value-based care.

The microbiome has been nothing short of a buzz word for years now, but few physicians have put forth the time and energy to become experts in the implementation of microbiome-based treatment.

Jessica Allegretti, MD, MPH
Jessica Allegretti

Jessica Allegretti, MD, MPH, has become a staple speaker at academic conferences when it comes to the microbiome and fecal microbiota transplantation. Her research leads the way for treating various GI disorders with FMT.

The Healio Social Media Influencer

This award goes to a health care professional who makes a positive impact on social media and led the tidal change in HCP use within gastroenterology.

The awardee acts as a trusted resource for his or her peers amidst the din of social media.

Anita Afzali, MD
Anita Afzali

Edging out some serious competition, Anita Afzali, MD, proves honest engagement on tough topics has an impact on the gastroenterology community in social media.

Afzali contributes to the ongoing conversations of diversity by sharing her experiences as a woman of color in the medical community while maintaining her status as an expert in treating women with IBD and utilizing social media to continue collaborating with experts in other specialties for better care across the board.

She uses her social media platforms to truly improve patient care through conversation and continually supports her colleagues in their endeavors.

Lifetime Disruptor

This award goes to a gastroenterologist or hepatologist that consistently pushed the gastroenterology field forward through innovative treatments, practice management, patient care or research.

The awardee is recognized as a leader in his or her subspecialty and incoming physicians recognize the contributions made to the field.

Maria T. Abreu, MD
Maria T. Abreu

This year, we are happy to present this award to Maria T. Abreu, MD, an always-fiery presence in gastroenterology.

Abreu leads the Crohn’s and Colitis fields in her translational research aimed at finding a cure for these inflammatory bowel conditions. Specifically, she is bringing the genetic and environmental factors of IBD development in the Hispanic population into the mainstream conversation.

2019 brought her a Sherman Prize and 2020 started with her direction of another successful Crohn’s and Colitis Congress.

Truly a Lifetime Disruptor, Abreu is quoted on the Sherman Prize site as saying, “Taking care of patients and finding new ways to help them has been my life’s purpose and that’s what inspires my research – the possibility of helping both my patients, as well as those that I’ll never see.”

Rising Disruptive Innovator

This award goes to an up and coming physician who is already disrupting the status quo in the field whether it be through new techniques, new thoughts, questioning methods or breakthrough research.

The awardee can be in fellowship, just entering private practice or recently appointed to a faculty position, but consistently comes to mind when we discuss “the next big thing.”

Elliot B. Tapper, MD
Elliot B. Tapper

Though hepatology is a seemingly smaller portion of what we discuss in GI, the voice of Elliot B. Tapper, MD, is heard loudly throughout.

His focus on cirrhosis and hepatic encephalopathy draw attention to the unmet needs for patients suffering from advanced liver disease while his research on quality improvement, decision-making and cost efficacy helps medical practitioners across specialties.

We anticipate even more from Tapper in the coming years.

Woman Disruptor of the Year

This award goes to a female in the field who emerged as a leader and an example to younger women of how a successful career can unfold.

The awardee may have a career of positive disruption or more recent advancements through which she has made a positive impact within the specialty.

Amy Oxentenko, MD
Amy Oxentenko

This year’s winner, Amy Oxentenko, MD, moved into multiple leadership roles in the past year, most notably taking her seat at the head of the table as Chair of Medicine for Mayo Clinic Arizona. She previously mentored the next generation of women at Mayo through her role as residency director in Rochester.

Oxentenko has led the Women in GI committee for the ACG and positively supports her colleagues across medicine. She serves on guidelines committees, conducts groundbreaking research and sets an example for how women can encourage one another from leadership roles.

Health Equity Award

This inaugural award goes to a physician who has made meaningful change to overcome the social determinants of health in gastroenterology. The awardee is seen a model of how identifying and addressing social determinants of health that better patient care.

Darrell Gray II, MD
Darrell Gray II

As a champion of Black Men in Medicine, Darrell Gray II, MD, leads by example. He chairs the ACG Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, visiting local high schools wherever the annual conference occurs to show young men and women what it means to be a physician and a gastroenterologist. He and Sophie Balzora, MD, pushed the hashtag #DiversityInGI so their colleagues could show what that means to them.

He puts his expertise in colorectal cancer into examining how racial and societal disparity affects people in their diagnosis and treatment. He has lifted his voice to teach others how to provide culturally competent care in our specialty.

Gray pushes other young physicians of color into the spotlight to present and lift up the research into discrimination and obstacles facing equity in the ivory tower of academia and medicine.

2020 challenged so many in our field to examine where we are on the pendulum of equity but Gray rose to and surpassed the challenge, becoming a voice for so many in a time when it was most needed.

The Patient Voice

This award goes to a patient advocate or advocacy group that moved the needle on a disease in regards to discussion in the public sphere, better communication between patients and providers and/or advocacy for legislative or regulatory action (drug approvals, insurance coverage, etc.).

The awardee is recognized by physicians as a resource for patients and/or an equal in discussion of the disease state.

Brooke Abbott
Brooke Abbott

Brooke Abbott is a single mom living with IBD and without her colon. In her own words, “Armed with a mommy bag and a new lease on life, she shares her stories, tears, triumphs and quick tips with other mommies with autoimmune diseases” via her blog, The Crazy Creole Mommy Chronicles.

Her personal experiences with IBD and arthritis led her join with her friend Amber Tresca to create IBD Moms, a community born out of a hashtag and a bond over mothering with a chronic condition. IBD Moms hosts Twitter chats and advocates for its community on Capitol Hill.

Industry Breakthrough

This award goes to a product that stands out as a major disruption to the practice of gastroenterology.

The awardee will have been acknowledged in practice guidelines and enthusiastically integrated into practice by gastroenterologists.

Since 2013, duodenoscopes have been the subject of much scrutiny and debate due to their implication in the spread of superviruses due to subpar decontamination.

According to Tyler Berzin, MD, and Mohammed Bilal, MD, between 2015 and July 2019 the FDA received reports of 1,115 duodenoscope incidents of patient infection, exposure, or device contamination, and 79 associated deaths.

Exalt Model D
The Exalt Model D.
Source: Boston Scientific.

In 2019, we saw approval of the first fully disposable duodenoscope from Boston Scientific. The Exalt Model D was tested in ERCPs and found to have a 96.7% completion rate and satisfaction rate of 9 out of 10.

As Raman Muthasamy, MD, said in his perspective on the FDA approval, “This device provides clinicians and health care facilities with a new option in combating the potential for patient-to-patient transmission of infections via duodenoscopes.”