Letter from the Editor

Finding room for hope


Dear colleagues,

I’m thrilled to introduce the August edition of The New Gastroenterologist, which features an excellent line-up of articles! Summer has been in full swing, and gradually, we eased into aspects of our prepandemic routine. The fear, caution, and isolation that characterized the last year and a half was less pervasive, and the ability to reconnect in person felt both refreshing and liberating. While new threats of variants and rising infection rates have emerged, there is hope that, with the availability of vaccines, the worst of the pandemic may still be behind us.

Dr. Vijaya Rao, gastroenterologist at the University of Chicago

Dr. Vijaya Rao

One of the most difficult aspects of treating patients with inflammatory bowel disease is acute pain management. Dr. Jami Kinnucan and Dr. Mehwish Ahmed (University of Michigan) outline an expert approach on differentiating between visceral and somatic pain and how to manage each accordingly.

The diagnosis of microscopic colitis can be elusive because colonic mucosa typically appears endoscopically normal and the pathognomonic findings are histologic. Management can also be challenging given the frequently relapsing and remitting nature of its clinical course. The “In Focus” feature for August, written by Dr. June Tome, Dr. Amrit Kamboj, and Dr. Darrell Pardi (Mayo Clinic), is an absolute must-read as it provides a detailed review on the diagnosis, management, and therapeutic options for microscopic colitis.

As gastroenterologists, we are often asked to place percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tubes. This can be a difficult situation to navigate especially when the indication or timing of placement seems questionable. In our ethics case for this quarter, Dr. David Seres and Dr. Jane Cowan (Columbia University) unpack the ethical considerations of PEG tube placement in order to facilitate discharge to subacute nursing facilities.

Months in quarantine have incited many to crave larger living spaces, lending to a chaotic housing market. Jon Solitro (FinancialMD) offers sound financial advice for physicians interested purchasing a home – including factors to consider when choosing a home, how much to spend, and whether or not to consider a doctor’s loan.

Success in research can be particularly difficult for fellows and early career gastroenterologists as they juggle the many responsibilities inherent to busy training programs or adjust to independent practice. Dr. Dionne Rebello and Dr. Michelle Long (Boston University) compile a list of incredibly helpful tips on how to optimize productivity. For those interested in ways to harness experiences in clinical medicine into health technology, Dr. Simon Matthews (Johns Hopkins) discusses his role as chief medical officer in a health tech start-up in our postfellowship pathways section.

Lastly, our DHPA Private Practice Perspectives article, written by Dr. George Dickstein (Greater Boston Gastroenterology), nicely summarizes lessons learned from the pandemic and how a practice can be adequately prepared for a post-pandemic surge of procedures.

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.

Stay well,

Vijaya L. Rao, MD
Editor in Chief
Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Chicago, Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition

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