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Department of Medicine

  Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

EDUCATION AND TRAINING



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GI News


Honors and Awards

Dr. Binion Receives Sherman Prize
David Binion, MD has received the coveted Sherman Prize for his analysis of “Big Data” to better understand IBD and to optimize treatment strategies for patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.  This $100,000 prize is awarded by The Bruce and Cynthia Sherman Charitable Foundation to advance IBD patient care.  This is the second Sherman Prize for the UPMC IBD team.  Eva Szigethy, MD, PhD won the inaugural prize in 2016.  Dr. Binion is a professor of medicine with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, where he leads IBD translational research efforts and also directs the Division’s Nutrition Support Service.

Dr. Szigethy to Lead PCORI Grant
Eva Szigethy, MD, PhD will be the principle investigator for a $6.3 million PCORI (Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute) grant, “Specialty Medical Homes to Improve Outcomes for Patients with Inflammatory bowel Disease (IBD) and Behaviroal Health Conditions”.  Dr. Szigethy submitted this grant in collaboration with the UPMC Center for High Value Health Care.  Dr. Szigethy is a professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Pediatrics, and is a faculty member with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, where she directs Total Care-IBD, the UPMC IBD medical home and is the founder of the Division’s Visceral Inflammation & Pain (VIP) Center.  Dr. Szigethy also directs UPMC Behavioral Health through UPMC’s Chief Medical and Scientific Office.

Young IBD Researchers Win Big at DOM Research Day
Mentored by Dr. David Binion from the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, two young researchers earned Clinical Research Awards at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Medicine’s Research Day in May 2018. Sumedha Chablani, MD explored the relationship between Crohn’s disease and small bowel cancers, and Kelly Gibbs, MD conducted research on connections between IBD and hypertension.
   
  Dr Sumedha Chablani Dr Kelly Gibbs  

 


IBD Connect Founders Honored at Crohn’s & Colitis Annual Luncheon

Randi Sigal and Pamela Wein-Levy, the founders and volunteers of IBD Connect, were honored at the WPA/WV Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Women of Distinction Luncheon on April 27, 2018  for their outstanding support of IBD patients and patient advocacy. 

Ms. Shelton’s Research Wins Top Honors
Celeste Shelton, MS won the first place, school-wide doctoral level award for her Dean’s Day poster at the Graduate School of Public Health.  Her poster was titled, “Classification of Pancreatitis Subtypes Using RNA-Seq from Human Pancreatic Tissue”.  Ms. Shelton is a PhD candidate in Human Genetics and a T-32 research trainee with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. 

Dr. Phillips Receives Prestigious Young Researcher Award
Anna Evans Phillips, MD, Advanced Clinical Pancreatology Fellow with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, has received a $50,000 2017 American Pancreatic Association / APA Foundation Young Investigator in Pancreatitis Grant Program award for her application, “The Role of Quantitative Sensory Testing in Painful Chronic Pancreatitis.”  This is the inaugural cycle for this APA / APA Foundation grant, and Dr. Phillips’ study is one of 20 applications submitted.  Three total grants were selected as part of this competitive process.

Dr. Khalid Receives VAMC Chief of Staff Clinical Excellence Award
Asif Khalid, MD is the recipient of the Veterans Administration Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS) January 2018 Chief of Staff Clinical Excellence Award.  Dr. Khalid was nominated for this honor by Apunupa Sharma, MD, who is pictured with him here.  Dr. Sharma is a lung cancer specialist, and they have collaborated to treat many patients.  Dr. Khalid is the chief of Gastroenterology and Hepatology for VAPHS and also serves as an associate professor of medicine with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.  He specializes in upper endoscopy procedures, particularly EUS of the pancreas and upper-GI tract.

UPMC GI in the Top 10 Again: US News & World Report
The Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition has been ranked as the 6th Best Hospital for Adult Gastroenterology and GI Surgery in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.  This ranking is a fitting tribute to the successful work of our gastroenterology and hepatology medical professionals, our surgery partners, the terrific patients, and all who work to support gastrointestinal health in western Pennsylvania and throughout the U.S."

Dr. Szigethy Lauded with Inaugural Sherman Prize
Eva Szigethy, MD, PhD was awarded a $100,000 Sherman Prize for her work to develop psychosocial care models for IBD patients.  Dr. Szigethy was honored with this recognition during the Bruce & Cindy Sherman Foundation's inaugural prize year.  The Sherman Prize in Crohn's and Colitis rewards the delivery of excellent care and seeks to honor efforts which are not only life-changing for patients but duplicative among the IBD physician and medical professional community.

Division’s Pancreas Center Receives NIH Grant
The Pancreas & Biliary Center of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition has received a National Institutes of Health U01 Award to participate in the Consortium for the Study of Pancreatitis. This five-year project will support pancreas research advancements. David Whitcomb, MD, PhD is the PI for this Pittsburgh Clinical Center.

Dr. Levinthal Receives AGA Research Honor
David Levinthal, MD, PhD has been selected as a member of the inaugural AGA Future Leaders class. He is one of 18 inductees nationwide who will receive extensive scientific and leadership training designed to help him to assume and maintain key leadership roles in the field of gastroenterology. Dr. Levinthal is an Assistant Professor of Medicine with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. His clinical practice focuses on GI motility diseases, and his research seeks to understand the role of the central nervous system related to pain and autonomic function.



Professional Service

Dr. Arteel Chairs NIH Study Section
Gavin Arteel, PhD will chair the Hepatobiliary Pathophysiology (HBPP) Study Section for the National Institutes of Health for a two-year term.  As part of this appointment, Dr. Arteel will lead the review of NIH applications involving the understanding and treatment of hepatobiliary diseases.  Dr. Arteel is a professor of medicine with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, where he also serves as the associate chief for Basic Science and the pilot and feasibility core director for the Pittsburgh Liver Research Center.

Dr. Arteel Chairs AASLD Basic Science Forum
Gavin Arteel, PhD co-chaired the Basic Science Symposium at The Liver Meeting, the national annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) (November 9-13, 2018, San Francisco, CA).  Dr. Arteel co-led “Matrix Biology and the Liver: Beyond Collagen and Fibrosis” with Dr. Rebecca Wells from the University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Arteel is a professor of medicine with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, where he also serves as the associate chief for Basic Science and the pilot and feasibility core director for the Pittsburgh Liver Research Center.

Drs. Papachristou and Yadav Selected for Acute Pancreatitis Steering Committee
Dhiraj Yadav, MD, MPH (9th from left) and Georgios Papachristou, MD, PhD (6th from right), pancreatologists with the University of Pittsburgh | UPMC Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition commemorate the inaugural meeting of SHARP (PsHincterotomy for the Treatment of Acute Recurrent Pancreatitis) in Bethesda, MD in January 2017.

Dr. Whitcomb Named to Journal Post
David C. Whitcomb, MD, PhD has been named editor in chief for the Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology journal.  This publication is the top-ranking open access journal in Gastroenterology & Hepatology, with a 2015 impact factor of 3.472.  Dr. Whitcomb is the Giant Eagle Foundation Professor of Cancer Genetics and a Professor of Medicine, Cell Biology & Physiology and Human Genetics with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. 

CLD Faculty Assume AASLD Leadership Posts
The Division's Center for Liver Disease faculty have accepted key leadership positions with the Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD):

Dr. Brand Named ACG Regional Governor
Randall Brand, MD has been named the Governor for the American College of Gastroetnerology’s (ACG) Western Pennsylvania Region. His three-year term will begin in October 2016 during the ACG’s national annual meeting in Las Vegas, NV. Dr. Brand is a professor of medicine with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and serves as the Division’s Director of GI Malignancy Early Detection, Diagnosis & Prevention Program and is the Academic Director for the GI Division at UPMC Shadyside.


Innovating Patient Care

GI Gives Back!
Sincere appreciation to the employees from our Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, including the GI Lab, DDC and other locations, who contributed childrens’ toys to the Salvation Army’s Treasures for Children Holiday program.  Most special thanks to Akshata Moghe, MD, PhD, Year I GI Fellow, who coordinated this December 2017 donation program. 

Dr. Levinthal Highlighted in Pitt Med
Novel research by David Levinthal, MD, PhD and collaborators is featured in the Fall 2016 and Summer 2017 issues of Pitt Med Magazine.  Dr. Levinthal discusses proof of the brain's connection with organs and bodily functions as well as potential treatment strategies in "Mind is Matter:  The Circuitry of the Mind Body Connection."  Dr. Levinthal is an assistant professor of medicine with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, where he also directs the Division's Neurogastroenterology and Motility Center.

Dr. Szigethy & Partners Explore New Mental Health Delivery Systems
Lantern, an evidence-based online mental health wellness service, will collaborate with UPMC to upgrade how emotional wellbeing services are delivered and accessed by patients in need. Eva Szigethy, MD, PhD, will work closely with the Lantern team to provide accessible online mental health services. Dr. Szigethy is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Pediatrics with the University of Pittsburgh | UPMC, and she is the founder and director of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition's Visceral Inflammation & Pain (VIP) Center.

Dr. O’Keefe Leads Study on African Diet to Diminish Colon Cancer Risk
Research led by Stephen O’Keefe, MD, MSc was featured throughout the U.S. and Western Europe in Spring 2015, when his findings on colon cancer diet variance among rural Africans and African Americans were published in the prestigious Nature Communications journal in April 2015. His research, Fat, Fibre and Cancer Risk in African Americans and Rural Africans, explores the power of diet to alter colon cancer risk. Excerpts from his research were discussed in the New York Times, Reuter’s agencies, Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, NBC News, CBS News, and the BBC, among other signification media outlets. Dr. O’Keefe is a Professor of Medicine with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, where his research interests concentrate on nutrition support and the gut microbiome.



High-Impact Publications

Dr. Schoen & Colleagues Update Colon Cancer Screening Recommendations
Robert E. Schoen, MD, MPH
, Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, and Benjamin Click, MD, Chief GI Fellow, were featured in JAMA’s May 15, 2018 journal for research on “Association of Colonoscopy Adenoma Findings With Long-term Colorectal Cancer Incidence.”  This cutting edge research was also featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Helio.

Pancreasfest Fosters Novel Research
PancreasFest is an annual, international accredited conference, which draws more than 200 pancreatologists and physician scientists to Pittsburgh to advance pancreas treatments.  Collaboration among academic pancreas centers of excellence is discussed in this May 2017 Pancreatology publication, Academic Pancreas Centers of Excellence:  Guidance from a Multidisciplinary Chronic Pancreatitis Working Group at PancreasFest.


In the Media

Dr. O’Keefe Featured on Alaska Public Radio
Stephen J.D. O’Keefe, MD, MSc was featured on Alaska National Public Radio (NPR) in August, 2018.  Dr. O’Keefe discussed his colon cancer research on a show called, “Diet, Microbes, and Colon Cancer”.  Dr. O’Keefe is a professor of medicine with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.

Dr. Levinthal Discusses Links Between GI Distress and MS
David Levinthal, MD, PhD’s research was highlighted in a September 2018 Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News story, “Study Finds Link Between GI Distress and Onset of MS”.  Dr. Levinthal is an assistant professor of medicine with the Division of gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, where he directs the Division’s Neurogastroenterology and Motility Center. 

Dr. Levinthal Speaks at MS World Program
David Levinthal, MD, PhD spoke at the MS World Talks symposium on “Bowel Dysfunction in MS: Strategies for Success”.  Dr. Levinthal is an assistant professor of medicine with the Division of gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, where he directs the Division’s Neurogastroenterology and Motility Center.

Division Featured at DDW 2018
The Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition highlighted University of Pittsburgh research enjoyed a reception for alumni and friends at the 2018 Digestive Disease Week (DDW) annual meeting in Washington, DC. 

Dr. Levinthal Featured on Tonic Vice Health Web Channel
David Levinthal, MD, PhD discusses possible GI side effects related to progesterone-only contraception in Tonic’s online web channel article, “When the Rare Birth Control Pill Side Effect Happens to You.”  Dr.  Levinthal is an assistant professor of medicine and directs the Neurogastroenterology and Motility Center in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. 

Dr. Levinthal Comments on GI Electrical Stimulation in IEEE Magazine
David Levinthal, MD, PhD was featured in the March 2018 issue of Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Spectrum magazine.  In the article, “Tummy Tech Tracks Electrical Activity for Signs of Indigestion,” Dr. Levinthal discusses potential symptom identification through electrical monitoring of the GI tract.  Dr. Levinthal is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, where he also directs the Division’s Neurogastroenterology and Motility Center.

Dr. Behari Introduces New Liver Test at UPMC
Jaideep Behari, MD, PhD wants healthy livers in his patients.  Fibroscan, new, non-invasive and painless liver test, helps UPMC physicians to determine liver elasticity and consequent patient liver health.  Dr. Behari was featured on KDKA-TV (CBS affiliate), where he discussed the advantages of this new liver test.

Dr. Levinthal Offers Expertise on NBC Today Show
David Levinthal, MD, PhD has been interviewed related to two gastroenterology issues on the NBC Today Show.  In May 2017, he discussed the brain-body connection to manage pain and encourage exercise.  In October 2017, he discussed Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  Dr. Levinthal is an assistant professor of medicine with the University of Pittsburgh | UPMC Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, where he also directs the Division’s Neurogastroenterology and Motility Center.
https://www.today.com/health/swearing-during-workout-may-make-you-stronger-t111188
https://www.today.com/health/mychael-knight-s-death-irritable-bowel-syndrome-fatal-t117701

Dr. O'Keefe Promotes Fiber-Rich Diet on PBS
Stephen J.D. O’Keefe, MD, MSc was featured on the original PBS documentary, In Defense of Food, and discussed his microbiome and fiber research studies. This December 2015 program stars U.S. journalist Michael Pollan and discusses a prescription for reversing the damage being done to health by today's industrially driven Western diet. Dr. O'Keefe is a Professor of Medicine with the University of Pittsburgh | UPMC Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.

Dr. Levinthal Discusses Diet and Stomach Size in Smithsonian Magazine
David Levinthal, MD, PhD contributed information to Does Dieting Actually Make your Stomach Shrink?, an article in Smithsonian Magazine in June 2015. Dr. Levinthal is an Assistant Professor of Medicine with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, where his practice and research interests concentrate on functional motility diseases of the digestive system.

Dr. Schwartz Discusses Probiotics and Fecal Transplantation
Marc Schwartz, MD was featured in a Tribune-Review newspaper article, Probiotics Key in War on "Superbugs," in March 2015 to discuss the use of probiotics and “good” bacteria for GI health. Dr. Schwartz highlighted his novel work with fecal transplantation designed to rebuild a more complete and health bacteria community in the gut. Dr. Schwartz is an Assistant Professor of Medicine with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, where his practice concentrates on inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease patients.

Dr. Schoen Highlights Colonoscopy Importance
Robert Schoen, MD, MPH voiced support for U.S. task force colon cancer screening methods in a June 2016 feature in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Dr. Schoen is the Interim Chief for the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and is a Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He is a world-recognized colon cancer screening expert.