Letter from the Editor

Remaining connected


Dear colleagues,

We bring you the spring edition of The New Gastroenterologist amid a backdrop of uncertainty in the setting of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. As physicians, we are poised to view this unprecedented situation in modern medicine through a unique lens. At the time of this writing, we are experiencing significant interruptions to our work as gastroenterologists coupled with the possibility of reassignments in order to care for COVID-19 patients to meet the demand of the precipitous rise in cases. Weighing these responsibilities, along with the heightened concern about the threat of exposure to ourselves and our families, is a formidable challenge, but one that we can navigate together.

Dr. Vijaya Rao

My sincere hope is that this quarter’s newsletter can provide, at the very least, a brief reprieve from some of these constant stressors. It is during times like this that remaining connected to our colleagues through digital platforms and publications such as The New Gastroenterologist remains of utmost importance.

That being said, I felt it was prudent to first address some common concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically, its implications within gastroenterology. In conjunction with Krishna Rao (University of Michigan), a specialist in infectious diseases, we attempt to shed some light on what is a rapidly evolving situation. For more resources from the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) on up-to-date clinical guidance and research, you can also visit https://www.gastro.org/practice-guidance/practice-updates/covid-19.

Moving on to our “In Focus” feature, Thangam Ventakesan and Harrison Mooers (Medical College of Wisconsin) provide a comprehensive overview of cyclic vomiting syndrome. This is a valuable read as cyclic vomiting syndrome has been gaining increased recognition among adults, and Dr. Ventakesan and Dr. Mooers elucidate a thorough approach to the diagnosis and treatment of this disorder.

A facet of endoscopy that is extremely important, but frequently overlooked, is ergonomics. Manish Singla and Jared Magee (Walter Reed National Military Medical Center) compile a high-yield list of recommendations on the best practices to preserve our own safety and health as endoscopists.

We continue our medical ethics series with Jennifer Wang and Andrew Aronsohn (University of Chicago) who offer a thought-provoking discussion on the role of early liver transplantation for alcoholic hepatitis, including an analysis of the medical, psychosocial, and ethical considerations.

Also in this issue, Animesh Jain (University of North Carolina) gives us some excellent financial advice on student loan management, outlining a basic strategy of repayment with clear explanations of the available options including refinancing, public service loan forgiveness, and income-driven repayment.

Dilhana Badurdeen (Johns Hopkins), Aline Charabaty Pishvaian (Sibley Memorial Hospital), Miguel Malespin (University of South Florida), Ibironke Oduyebo (Midatlantic Permanente Medical Group), and Sandra Quezada (University of Maryland) give us an in-depth summary of the efforts of the AGA’s Diversity Committee, including publications, events, and future initiatives.

This quarter’s DHPA Private Practice Perspectives series features Paul Berggreen (Arizona Digestive Health), who reviews the advantages and disadvantages of pathology lab ownership as a gastroenterologist. Lastly, Sarah Ordway, Dawn Torres, Manish Singla, and Adam Tritsch (Walter Reed National Military Medical Center) broach the issue of fellowship burnout by providing guidance on how to identify signs and those at risk in addition to providing tangible solutions that any fellowship can incorporate.

Although the cancellation of the upcoming DDW meetings in Chicago is a disappointment, I hope that we can all take this time to prioritize the well-being of ourselves and our communities until we meet again.

As always, if you have interest in contributing or have ideas for future TNG topics, please contact me (vijayarao@medicine.bsd.uchicago.edu), or Ryan Farrell (rfarrell@gastro.org), managing editor of TNG.

Best wishes to stay safe and healthy.

Vijaya L. Rao, MD
Editor in Chief

Dr. Rao is assistant professor of medicine, University of Chicago, section of gastroenterology, hepatology & nutrition.

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