Department of Medicine

Faculty Recognition

Master
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Leadership News

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Fasiha

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Dr. Kanwal invited as Co-Chair of AGA GI Division Chief’s Consortium

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Dr. Fasiha Kanwal has been invited to serve as the Co-Chair of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) GI Division Chief’s Consortium. This group serves as an important platform for GI Division Leaders to meet and exchange ideas, share mutual concerns and develop strategies to enhance the core missions of clinical care, education and research while benefitting the GI community.

Mohamed

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Dr. Mohamed Othman selected as the William T. Butler Endowed Chair

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Dr. Mohamed Othman has been selected as the William T. Butler Endowed Chair for Distinguished Faculty for his expertise in advanced endoscopy practice and training.

Waqar

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Dr. Waqar Qureshi received the Master Clinician Award for Excellence in Patient Care

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Dr. Waqar Qureshi received the Master Clinician Award for Excellence in Patient Care. This award recognizes faculty for their exemplary contributions to the patient care mission of Baylor College of Medicine through clinical excellence, leadership, mentoring, clinical innovation and continuous service to the Baylor community.

Dr.

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Dr. Milena Suarez part of ACG SCOPY Award-winning project

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The Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center Office of Outreach and Health Disparities has been selected for the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) 2020 SCOPY Award, “Grand SCOPY,” for its “Light the Night Blue: A Colorectal Cancer Awareness Initiative.” The assistance of Dr. Milena Gould Suarez, associate professor, with informative media appearances helped disseminate the information city-wide. ACG’s SCOPY recognizes achievements in education and awareness efforts for colorectal cancer prevention.

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2019

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Yamini

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Dr. Natarajan - ABIM 2019 Gastroenterology Standard Setting Group

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June 27: Dr. Yamini Natarajan has been selected to participate in the ABIM 2019 Gastroenterology Standard Setting Committee. Standard Setting is an important step in development of the ABIM board certification exam. Clinical expertise in the certification discipline is an essential requirement to be considered for selection. This invitation underscores Dr. Natarajan's clinical excellence and its recognition at the national level.

Dr.

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Dr. Mindikoglu receives MacDonald Research Fund Award

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June 5: Dr. Ayse Mindikoglu’s study entitled, “The Effect of Dawn to Sunset Fasting on Metabolic Syndrome and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease” has been funded by the 2019 Roderick D. MacDonald Research Award. (Total Budget: $41,910). The goal of the study is to look at the metabolic biochemical alterations during the fast that occurs during Ramadan to see if it can be applicable to treating other metabolic disorders. The study procedures are currently under way and a sample analysis will be started within the next few weeks. Congratulations to Dr. Mindikoglu on this remarkable accomplishment.

RJ

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Dr. Sealock receives the Early Career Faculty Award for Excellence in Patient Care

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May 4: Dr. Robert J. Sealock received the Baylor College of Medicine Early Career Faculty Award for Excellence in Patient Care. He was be recognized for this award at Baylor’s Awards Day celebration May 16, 2019.

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Dr. Ayse Leyla Mindikoglu Awarded FAASLD Designation

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May 3: Dr. Ayse Leyla Mindikoglu, associate professor, has been awarded the Fellow of American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases designation. This designation is created for AASLD members who epitomize excellence and contributions to AASLD and to the field of liver disease.

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Dr.

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Dr. El-Serag to Lead American Gastroenterological Association

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April 20: Dr. Hashem El-Serag, chair of the Department of Medicine and professor will become the 114th president of the American Gastroenterological Association in May 2019. The association includes more than 16,000 members who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. Read a profile about El-Serag's journey from his native Libya to reaching the top of his field in this profile in the May issue of Gastroenterology

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2019 Castle Connolly list of Top Doctors

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April 19: The 2019 Castle Connolly list of Top Doctors is out, and many Gastroenterology and Hepatology faculty made the list. The list included Dr. Sharmila Anandasabapathy, professor, Dr. Hashem El-Serag, professor, Dr. David Graham, professor, Dr. Jason Hou, associate professor, Dr. Manreet Kaur, assistant professor, Dr. Kalpesh Patel, associate professor, Dr. Waqar Qureshi, professor, Dr. Jim Schwartz, associate professor, Dr. John Vierling, professor and Dr. Isaac Raijman, clinical assistant professor.

Loan

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Dr. Ho Receives Power of Professionalism Award

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April 12: Loan Ho, assistant professor, received a Power of Professionalism Award from The Center for Professionalism. The award was presented by Dr. Ellen Friedman on March 28, 2019, as recognition of her “...commitment to education, accountability, altruism and integrity.” Recipients of the award are recognized as embodying the principles of professionalism and “[a] person who treats all people with respect, has control of a difficult situation, is compassionate, and still completes patient care in a timely matter...”

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Drs. Shukla and Anandasabapathy Selected as Women of Excellence

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April 4: Dr. Richa Shukla, assistant professor, and Dr. Sharmila Anandasabapathy, professor, have been selected as Women of Excellence at Baylor College of Medicine. This title recognizes faculty, staff, students, and trainees who exemplify excellence as well as Baylor’s other values of respect, integrity, innovation and teamwork.

Dr.

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Dr. Shukla Receives That’s The Way Award 

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March 4: Dr. Richa Shukla was selected as the recipient for the ‘That’s The Way Player of the Month’ award that was presented to her Feb. 28 for positive feedback/comments from patients as a part of the Press Ganey Survey. Dr. Shukla has had remarkable continuous success in education, clinical care and research.

2014-2015

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Dr. Khalaf Receives 2018 Young Investigator Grant Award in Pancreatitis 

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Feb. 26: Dr. Natalia Khalaf, assistant professor, has been selected to receive grant funding from the American Pancreatic Association as part of the APA Young Investigator in Pancreatitis Grant Program. Her research project is entitled, "Acute Pancreatitis and Pancreatic Cancer: Improving Early Detection."

Sharmila

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Dr. Anandasabapathy Touted as Role Model in Field of GI Cancer Detection Research

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Feb. 11: Congratulations to Dr. Sharmila Anandasabapathy, professor, on being acknowledged as a role model in the field of GI cancer detection research. Dr. Anandasabapathy talks with her daughter about her cancer research locally and around the world in her "Ask Me about My Research" video.

Dr.

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Dr. Jarbrink-Sehgal Receives Ph.D. degree from Karolinska Institutet

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Jan. 28: Dr. Maria Jarbrink-Sehgal has completed her Ph.D. degree at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm Sweden. Her thesis is entitled, "Epidemiological and pathophysiological studies on diverticular disease in the colon" and was publicly defended in the auditorium J3:11 Birger and Margareta Blombäck, Karolinska University Hospital on Jan. 7, 2019.

Opponent:

Clinical Associate Professor David Humes (University of Nottingham, Department of Surgery, Division of Nottingham Digestive Disease Centre, School of Medicine)

Mary

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Dr. Estes Named Fellow by National Academy of Inventors

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Jan. 11: Dr. Mary Estes, professor, was one of 148 renowned academic inventors named fellow by the National Academy of Inventors. Dr. Estes holds nine patents in the field of gastrointestinal infections, all of which have been licensed. Her work has led to the creation of diagnostic assays to detect noroviruses, assays to evaluate inactivation methods and antibodies to noroviruses and a norovirus vaccine. Her rotavirus research generated, among other things, the development of a rotavirus virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine, with potential for humans and animals, which the animal health company ImmuCell licensed to develop an antibody product to protect newborn calves from rotavirus.

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2018

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Dr.

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Advisory Committee to Texas Cancer Registry Welcomes Dr. El-Serag

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Dec. 21: The Advisory Committee to the Texas Cancer Registry welcomed Dr. Hashem El-Serag, professor and chairman, as one of three new ACTCR members at the Dec. 13 meeting.

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Johanna

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Dr. Chan Ranked Among Top Five Highest-Scoring Physicians in Press Ganey Scores

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Dec. 21: Dr. Johanna Chan, assistant professor, ranked among the top five highest-scoring individual physicians in the Department of Medicine Faculty Group Practice in the “Standard Care Provider Rank” on recent Press Ganey scores. Congratulations Dr. Chan.

RJ

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Dr. Sealock Receives Early Career Faculty Award for Excellence in Patient Care

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Dec. 21: Dr. Robert J. Sealock received the Baylor College of Medicine Early Career Faculty Award for Excellence in Patient Care. He will be recognized for this award at Baylor’s Awards Day celebration on Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 3:30 p.m. in Cullen Auditorium.

Congratulations to Dr. Sealock on this remarkable and well-deserved accomplishment.

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Drs. Hernaez and Ketwaroo Selected for 2019-2020 AGA Future Leaders Program

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Dec. 11: Dr. Ruben Hernaez and Dr. Avinash Ketwaroo, both assistant professors, were selected to be part of the American Gastroenterological Association's Future Leaders Program, which provides leadership development for early career physicians and scientists who have the potential to make a significant impact on the specialty. The program kicked off earlier this month and will continue through Digestive Disease Week 2020 in Chicago.

Kalpesh

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Dr. Patel Selected as New Director of Advanced Endoscopy Program

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Dec. 7: Dr. Kalpesh Patel has been selected as the new director of the Advanced Endoscopy Program at Baylor College of Medicine. Congratulations to Dr. Patel on his new role.

Dr.

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Nov. 30: Dr. Richa Shukla has been selected to attend the 2019 Women's Leadership Conference in Washington, DC. Dr. Shukla was one of few attendees selected to attend the conference. Congratulations to Dr. Shukla.

Dr.

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Dr. Suarez Appointed to Selection Committee for Baylor's Norton Rose Fulbright Faculty Excellence Award

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Nov. 14: Dr. Milena Gould Suarez has been appointed to join the Selection Committee for Baylor College of Medicine Norton Rose Fulbright Faculty Excellence Award. Dr. Gould Suarez's work on this committee will strengthen the College’s efforts to honor outstanding contributions by Baylor faculty members to our education mission.

Waqar

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Dr. Qureshi to serve as Course Director for American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy’s DDW Course

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Nov. 2: Dr. Waqar Qureshi, professor, has been asked to serve as course director for the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy’s Advanced Polypectomy and Hemorrhoid Therapies hands-on course to be held at Digestive Disease Week May 19, 2019.

Mohamed

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Dr. Othman Selected Special Section editor for Focal Points Section of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

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Oct. 2: Dr. Mohamed Othman has been selected to be the Special Section editor for the Focal Points Section of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. GIE publishes original, peer-reviewed articles on endoscopic procedures used in the study, diagnosis, and treatment of digestive diseases. “At the Focal Point” offers all readers an opportunity to share observations with colleagues.

Jason

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Dr. Hou Promoted to Associate Professor

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Sept. 27: Dr. Jason Hou has been promoted to associate professor (tenured). Dr. Hou has had remarkable continuous success in education, clinical care and research. His knowledge will continue to contribute to the Baylor community, the field of gastroenterology and the health and welfare of our patients.

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Waqar

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Dr. Qureshi Selected As 2018 Texas Super Doctor

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Sept. 7: Dr. Waqar Qureshi, professor, was selected as one of the 2018 Texas Super Doctors, for the Gastroenterology category. Congratulations to Dr. Qureshi on this great accomplishment!

Waqar

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Dr. Qureshi Serves as Panelist at 'Video Night with Endoscopy Experts'

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Aug. 10: Dr. Waqar Qureshi, professor, was a guest panelist at “Video Night with Endoscopy Experts,” held Aug. 9 at Houston Community College Coleman College of Health Sciences. The panel of experts provided video-based cases covering chest pain, dysphagia, a foreign body, and cholangitis.

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Dr. Ketwaroo Selected to Join Vice Chair Group for Quality Improvement and Innovations

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Aug. 7: Dr. Gyanprakash Ketwaroo, assistant professor, has been selected to join the Vice Chair Group for Quality Improvement and Innovations. Dr. Ketwaroo’s remarkable contributions made him an obvious choice for this group. These include his membership in the Quality Academy, his successful completion of a Quality Improvement (QI) project, and now his co-leadership of the fellowship QI training. Congratulations to Dr. Ketwaroo.

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Dedication Honors Dr. Frank Lanza For 46 Years of Service

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Aug. 3: Dr. Frank Lanza, clinical professor, has been honored with the dedication of the Harris Health System/BCM Frank L. Lanza, M.D., Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Unit for his 46 years of service. The event also was captured in a video, created by Dr. Waqar Qureshi.

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New Guidelines Help Identify Best Candidates for Behavioral Medicine Services

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July 27: A group of physicians and investigators has created the document “Behavioral Medicine Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Referral Toolkit for Gastroenterology Providers,” designed to help gastroenterology providers identify the best candidates for behavioral medicine services. Drs. Hashem El-Serag, professor, and chair, Department of Medicine, and Maria Jarbrink-Sehgal, assistant professor, are two of the guidelines’ creators.

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Digestive Disease Week 2018 Highlights

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June 12, 2018

Digestive Disease Week was held June 2-5 in Washington, D.C. Dr. Mary Estes, Distinguished Service Professor, received the William Beaumont Prize in Gastroenterology and the Distinguished Mentor Award. Dr. John Vierling, professor, was selected as guest speaker for the Charles Lieber Lecture Series. Dr. Hashem El-Serag, professor and chair, Department of Medicine, was the keynote speaker at the commencement ceremony for the Current Leadership Program Class. Dr. Rhonda Cole, associate professor, presented a talk during the AGA Committee Sponsored Symposium. Dr. Waqar Qureshi, professor, presented several invited lectures. And Dr. Fasiha Kanwal, professor and chief, gave a lecture during the post graduate course. Oral and poster presentations included work from many faculty, staff and trainees from the Section of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (and other sections).

Gastroenterology and hepatology faculty invited lectures included:

Dr. Waqar Qureshi: “Hemorrhoid Therapies Course”

Dr. Fasiha Kanwal: “Top 3 Clinical Articles Published in Gastroenterology and Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the Past Year

Dr. Noah Shroyer: “Differentiation of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells into Intestinal Tissue”

Dr. Waqar Qureshi: “Anorectal Diseases”

Dr. John Vierling: “Mechanisms of Autoimmune-Associated Liver Injury: How Are PBC, PSC, and Autoimmune Hepatitis Alike and Different?”

Dr. Clark Hair: “Gastric Polyps”

Drs. Waqar Qureshi and Clark Hair: “Questions and Answers” for Fellows Update

Dr. John Vierling: “Management Strategies for AIH and Overlap Syndrome”

Dr. David Graham: “Current Challenges in H. Pylori Eradication”

Dr. Waqar Qureshi: “Managing Symptomatic Hemorrhoids in the Gastroenterology Office”

Dr. Norman Sussman: “The Hepatologist Perspective”

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Dr. Jason Hou and Julie Weatherly, NP Host Successful IBD Webinar

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May 23: Dr. Jason Hou and Julie Weatherly, NP, hosted a successful CNE-accredited webinar for nurses and staff on Thursday, May 17. The webinar was sponsored by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. Conversation covered medications used to treat IBD, common side effects, triaging patient calls, and examples of quality of care initiatives.

Mary

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Dr. Estes Speaks at DeBakey VA Medical Center SUPERNOVA Investigators Meeting

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May 18: The Michael E. DeBakey VAMC hosted the third SUPERNOVA Investigators Meeting at Baylor College of Medicine May 2-4. SUPERNOVA is a CDC-sponsored active and passive surveillance network created to study the incidence of acute gastroenteritis and acute respiratory illness among hospitalized veterans, with special emphasis on norovirus and RSV infections, respectively. Dr. Maria C. Rodriguez-Barradas, professor, Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Robert Atmar, professor, Infectious Diseases, hosted the CDC investigators and visitors from other VA sites for three days of scientific presentations. Dr. Mary Estes, Distinguished Service Professor, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, was one of the invited speakers.

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Dr. Husain Selected as Facilitator for First Year Curriculum

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May 11: Dr. Nisreen Husain, assistant professor, has been selected to serve as facilitator for the Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Course within the first year curriculum for medical students.

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Rajesh

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Dr. Rajesh Shah to Serve on Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Patient Education Committee

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April 19: Dr. Rajesh Shah has been invited to serve on the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation's (CCFA) Patient Education Committee. His three-year term will begin in June 2018. CCFA is the leading foundation in inflammatory bowel disease. The foundation sponsors basic, translational and clinical research, and educational programs for patients, caregivers, and health care professionals, while providing supportive services to help patients and their families cope with these chronic intestinal diseases. The Patient Education Committee guides and supports the foundation’s mission and its initiatives, prioritized through its recent strategic planning process. With his new role, Dr. Shah will be able to make significant contribution to the wellbeing of patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

Kalpesh

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Dr. Kalpesh Patel Promoted to Associate Professor

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April 5: Congratulations to Dr. Kalpesh Patel on his promotion to Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Patel is a great leader, educator and clinician. He has been a key player in the growth of our endoscopy program and the Section’s continued commitment to our fellows and education.

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Dr. Rhonda Cole Recognized At Women of Excellence Program

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March 30: Dr. Rhonda Cole has been selected as a Woman of Excellence at Baylor College of Medicine. This title recognizes faculty, staff, students, and trainees who exemplify excellence as well as Baylor’s other values of respect, integrity, innovation and teamwork. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Cole for her achievements and making Women’s History.

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Dr. Yamini Natarajan Joins American Gastroenterological Association's Government Affairs Committee

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March 16: Dr. Yamini Natarajan, assistant professor, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, has been selected to join the American Gastroenterological Association’s (AGA) Government Affairs Committee. This committee advocates AGA research, determines policies and influences the outcome of proposed and existing regulations.

Mary

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Dr. Mary Estes Receives Two Prestigious American Gastroenterological Association Recognitions

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March 2: Dr. Mary K. Estes, professor of virology and microbiology and medicine and emeritus founder of the TMC Digestives Diseases Center, has been awarded two prestigious American Gastroenterological Association recognitions. This marks the first and possibly the only time an AGA member has been awarded two recognition prizes in the same year. The AGA honored Dr. Estes with the William Beaumont Prize in Gastroenterology, which recognizes an individual who has made a unique, outstanding contribution of major importance to the field of gastroenterology. Dr. Estes’ fundamental discoveries and contributions to the field of gastrointestinal infections has had a world-wide impact on the care of children due to her work on rotavirus and individuals of all ages due to her work on norovirus. The AGA also awarded Dr. Estes the Distinguished Mentor Award, which recognizes an individual who has made a lifelong effort dedicated to the mentoring of trainees in the field of gastroenterology and for achievements as outstanding mentors throughout their careers.

Mohamed

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Dr. Mohamed Othman Receives Star Faculty Award for Excellence in Patient Care

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March 2: Dr. Mohamed Othman, associate professor, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, received the Star Faculty Award for Excellence in Patient Care. This award honors outstanding contributions by Baylor faculty members to the College’s clinical mission. Dr. Othman was nominated by section chief, Dr. Fasiha Kanwal.

Andrea

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Dr. Andrea Bradford to Serve as Clinical Supervisor over New Collaboration

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March 2: Dr. Andrea Bradford, assistant professor, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, who has been working as a clinical psychologist at McNair will be operating as clinical supervisor over a new collaboration between the Section of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and the Department of Psychiatry. She will provide a clinical rotation to a clinical psychology intern.

Fasiha

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Dr. Fasiha Kanwal Appointed Section of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Chief

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Feb. 26: Dr. Fasiha Kanwal, professor, has been selected and has agreed to serve as the new chief for the Section of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the Department of Medicine. She has served in the interim chief role since January 2017.

Dr. Fasiha Kanwal received her training in gastroenterology and hepatology from the University of California Los Angeles, and received research training with a masters in Science, Health Services. She joined Saint Louis University as an assistant professor in 2006 and moved to Baylor College of Medicine in 2011. She is currently a tenured professor in the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Kanwal has a strong track record of scientific achievements. Her research focuses on assessing and improving quality and outcomes of care in individuals with chronic liver diseases, including those with chronic hepatitis C, hepatitis B virus, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular cancer. She was the recipient of competitive faculty awards, including the Research Excellence in GI and Liver Award (2007) and Emerging Leaders in Gastroenterology Award (2008). She has had continuous research funding since her fellowship, including a current Veterans Administration Merit Review Award and a Cancer Prevention Research in Texas grant. In total, she has been awarded 14 grants at the principal investigator level and has published more than 150 peer-reviewed manuscripts. She also serves as one of the core directors for our NIH-funded Digestive Diseases Center.

Nationally, she has participated in several service and leadership roles and also has been asked on numerous occasions to chair and serve on scientific sessions, abstract review committees, and grant review study sections. Currently, she serves as the chair of the AASLD Practice Metrics Committee. She also is the editor-in-chief of one of the leading clinical journals in digestive disease, Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Dr. Loan Ho Promoted to Assistant Professor

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Feb. 16: Dr. Loan Ho, nurse practitioner, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, has been promoted to assistant professor. Dr. Ho is the first nurse practitioner to be promoted to this rank in this section.