Letter from the Editor

Emerging realities


Dear colleagues,

Welcome to the November edition of The New Gastroenterologist! Our fall newsletter features a particularly interesting compilation of articles. As the pandemic lingers on, we are forced to face the realities of coexisting with COVID-19 as the virus certainly seems to be here to stay.

University of Chicago, Editor in Chief of The New Gastroenterologist

Dr. Vijaya Rao

To protect against ongoing risk of exposure, health care workers and other high-risk subsets of patients are now being offered booster shots. For our patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) on immune-modifying therapies, there has always been a question of vaccine efficacy. Dr. Freddy Caldera and Dr. Trevor Schell (University of Wisconsin-Madison) shed some much needed light on recommendations on the COVID-19 vaccine for IBD patients.

In April of 2021, a federal rule was implemented mandating that patients have immediate and free access to their electronic health information – which includes all documentation from their health care providers. Some physicians have been concerned about this practice, namely how patients will respond and whether this will increase the burden on clinicians. Clearly, this issue is multifaceted: Dr. Sachin Shah (University of Chicago) discusses the ethical implications from a clinical standpoint, while attorney Valerie Guttman Koch (University of Houston Law Center, MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, University of Chicago) shares a riveting legal perspective.

Colonic diverticular bleeding is the most common etiology of overt lower gastrointestinal bleeding and one of the most frequent consults we receive as gastroenterologists. However, even with the use of colonoscopy, obtaining a definitive diagnosis can often be difficult. Our “In Focus” feature for November, is an excellent piece written by Dr. Vivy Cusumano, Dr. Christopher Paiji, and Dr. Dennis Jensen (all with University of California, Los Angeles), detailing the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment.

Navigating pregnancy and parental leave during training is difficult. Drs. Joy Liu, Keith Summa, Ronak Patel, Erica Donnan, Amanda Guentner, and Leila Kia (all with Northwestern University) share their program’s experience, providing incredibly helpful and practical recommendations for both gastroenterology trainees and fellowship directors.

The Association of Black Gastroenterologists and Hepatologists emerged against the backdrop of recent social and health care injustices. Dr. Kafayat Busari (Florida State University) and Dr. Alexandra Guillaume (Stony Brook University Hospital) discuss the critical importance and mission of this association and how it will help shape the field of gastroenterology in the years to come.

Medical pancreatology is a subspecialty that most gastroenterology fellows have little, if any, exposure to. In our post-fellowship pathways section, Dr. Sajan Nagpal (University of Chicago) details his own experiences in addition to discussing the important role of a medical pancreatologist within a gastroenterology division.

Lastly, our DHPA Private Practice Perspectives article, written by Dr. Sanjay Sandhir (Dayton [Ohio] Gastroenterology), discusses the importance of education and screening for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

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
Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Chicago, Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition

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