Letter from the Editor

Cautious optimism


Dear colleagues,

Welcome to the May edition of The New Gastroenterologist! Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) is approaching quickly, which is our first since 2019 with an option to attend in person. This will give many an opportunity to reconnect in a way we have not been able to in so long – a welcome reprieve from the virtual platforms we have become so accustomed to. Cautious optimism is pervasive throughout the country that the acuity of the pandemic may be receding, and that we are perhaps better equipped for future surges should they occur.

Dr. Vijaya Rao, gastroenterologist at the University of Chicago

Dr. Vijaya Rao

I’m excited to introduce this quarter’s content – beginning with our feature clinical “In Focus” piece. Gastroparesis often poses a therapeutic challenge to gastroenterologists; Dr. Thomas Abell and Dr. Prateek Mathur (University of Louisville) provide an excellent, comprehensive discussion of the utility and efficacy of dietary modifications, pharmacotherapy, pylorus-directed therapies, bioelectric therapy, and other novel approaches to the treatment of gastroparesis.

The role of a gastrointestinal psychologist within a gastroenterology practice is invaluable. The gut-brain axis is a key feature of any gastroenterological disorder and one of the hallmarks of therapy is behavioral symptom management. Dr. Alyse Bedell (University of Chicago) educates us on how to effectively integrate psychogastroenterology into our treatment plans and discusses which patients are poised to benefit the most from referral.

In just 2 short months, gastroenterology fellowship programs across the country will welcome their newest trainees. Dr. Rashmi Advani (Stony Brook University), Dr. Naba Saeed (University of Kentucky) and Dr. Aline Charabaty (Johns Hopkins University) offer detailed, practical advice to incoming fellows on how to make the most of (and survive!) the first year of gastroenterology fellowship, which can be one of the most challenging years of medical training.

In our Postfellowship Pathways section, we are fortunate to have Dr. Barbara Jung, chair of the department of medicine at the University of Washington and future AGA president, share her story. Her journey is inspirational as she discusses her path to success: How her roots in basic science led to building clinical programs and her transition from chief of a gastroenterology division to chair of a large department at one of the most prolific academic centers in the country.

One of the hallmarks of any heavily procedural field such as gastroenterology is innovation, namely the continuous evolution of procedural technique and utilization of novel technology. It can be difficult, however, to reconcile this innovation in the informed consent process when there are limited data on safety and efficacy. Dr. Peter Angelos and Dr. Jelani Williams (University of Chicago) share a riveting perspective on how to approach these scenarios in a wonderful addition to our medical ethics case series.

Finally, the DHPA Private Practice Perspectives article this quarter, written by Dr. Paul Feuerstadt (PACT-Gastroenterology Center, Hamden, Conn.) and Dr. Louis Korman (Capital Digestive Care, Maryland), reviews the benefits of performing clinical research in private practice and what early career physicians who would like to explore clinical research should look for when evaluating job opportunities.

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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