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AGA honors distinguished clinicians, researchers and educators with prestigious recognition awards

Orlando, FL (May 19, 2013) Each year, the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) recognizes several individuals for their outstanding contributions and achievements in gastroenterology through its esteemed recognition awards.

"AGA is comprised of many distinguished and talented individuals who work tirelessly to advance the science and practice of gastroenterology. Today, we are pleased to announce the 2013 recognition award honorees who have been acknowledged by their colleagues for their tremendous contributions to our field," said Loren Laine, MD, AGAF, president of the AGA Institute. "Through their dedication, knowledge and influence, these individuals have bettered gastroenterology practice, research and education, and have also provided outstanding service to the AGA."

The AGA congratulates the 2013 awardees and thanks them for their exemplary service to the field of gastroenterology.

Julius Friedenwald Medal

AGA's highest honor is awarded to Chung Owyang, MD. The Julius Friedenwald Medal, presented annually since 1941, recognizes a physician for lifelong contributions to the field of gastroenterology. Dr. Owyang has dedicated his distinguished, 34-year career to the field of gastroenterology and to the service of the AGA and its membership. AGA is sincerely thankful for his contributions.

Dr. Owyang's impressive career includes overseeing and building one of the truly elite GI programs in the U.S. at the University of Michigan, where he currently serves as chief of the division of gastroenterology, while making many important discoveries through his own research program that have advanced our understanding of the physiology of pancreatic secretion and gastrointestinal motility. Dr. Owyang has been an active AGA member throughout his renowned career, serving on numerous committees and as chair of the AGA International Committee from 2003 to 2006.

AGA Institute gratefully acknowledges AstraZeneca for making this award possible through a restricted grant.

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Distinguished Achievement Award

The AGA presents its Distinguished Achievement Award to Pelayo Correa, MD, for his major research accomplishments that have significantly advanced the understanding of the pathology and epidemiology of gastrointestinal cancers. Over his exemplary career, which spans more than 50 years, Dr. Correa has been instrumental in identifying causal pathways in malignancies of the gastrointestinal tract, notably the multistage mechanisms involved in gastric carcinogenesis. Dr. Correa's pathology background, coupled with his rich clinical cancer prevention experience, place him in a rarified atmosphere as a translational researcher and make him highly deserving of this honor. Dr. Correa currently serves as Anne Potter Wilson professor of medicine, division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN.

AGA Institute gratefully acknowledges AstraZeneca for making this award possible through a restricted grant.

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Distinguished Mentor Award

The AGA honors John Thomas Lamont, MD, AGAF, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, with its Distinguished Mentor Award for his achievements as an outstanding mentor. Throughout his 40-year career in academic gastroenterology, Dr. Lamont has shown excellence and leadership in clinical care, teaching and research. He has an international reputation as a clinical scientist and is widely regarded for his integrity, fairness, and humanistic and personal approach to nurturing his students' careers.

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Distinguished Educator Awards

The Distinguished Educator Award acknowledges exemplary educators in the field of gastroenterology. The AGA is proud to be awarding this honor to two deserving individuals.

Sheila E. Crowe, MD, AGAF, FRCPC, FACP, FACG, professor and director of research for the division of gastroenterology at the University of California, San Diego, is recognized at both a national and international level for her innumerable contributions as an educator, lecturer and mentor, as well as for furthering the general population's awareness of celiac disease. Dr. Crowe has dedicated countless hours to the AGA through her work on the AGA Council and with the AGA Spring Postgraduate Course, and the AGA is proud to honor her accomplishments.

Douglas K. Rex, MD, AGAF, FACG, FASGE, is known as an educator's educator and mentor who has carried out his entire academic career at Indiana University, where he currently serves as a distinguished professor of medicine and chancellor's professor of medicine in the division of gastroenterology. He has made critically important educational contributions through a combination of his formal and clinical teaching; his substantial, practical and important clinical research; his numerous authoritative clinical reviews; his widely viewed educational videos; and his major contributions to clinical guidelines and policy in gastroenterology.

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Research Service Award

The AGA presents Stephen P. James, MD, with its Research Service Award, which recognizes an individual who has significantly advanced gastroenterological science and research. Dr. James is director for the division of digestive disease and nutrition at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, where he has been a critical voice and advocate for the many facets of digestive disease and nutrition research nationwide. His insights and advice into the policy and practice of digestive disease research have been of fundamental importance to the AGA, as well as countless other industry associations.

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Distinguished Clinician Awards

The AGA recognizes two individuals, one in private practice and one in clinical academic practice, who have exemplified leadership and excellence in the practice of gastroenterology.

Lawrence R. Schiller, MD, FACP, FACG, founding member of the Digestive Health Associates of Texas, PA, is a highly experienced clinician who is widely known as the top resource for disorders of gastrointestinal motility, diarrhea, constipation and gastroparesis for the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. Dr. Schiller is highly appreciated among his peers for his ability to clarify seemingly complex situations and arrive at logical and practical solutions.

Grace H. Elta, MD, AGAF, is a sought-after gastroenterologist who has served for more than 10 years as the medical director of the University of Michigan's medical procedures unit (MPU) and associate chief of clinical programs. Under Dr. Elta's leadership, the MPU is considered by many as a model for all endoscopy units in the nation today, largely due to her vision for providing care that is seamless, thoughtful and comprehensive.

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Outstanding Service Awards

The AGA is proud to honor two noteworthy individuals with its Outstanding Service Award, which recognizes significant contributions to the field of digestive diseases through public education, literature, philanthropy and personal service.

Joel V. Brill, MD, AGAF, serves the GI community on a daily basis through his persistent work developing guidelines and quality measures, and his efforts to ensure fair coding and reimbursement opportunities for GIs through his involvement with AGA and the CPT Editorial Panel, the American Medical Association (AMA) Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement and the AMA Relative Value Update Committee (RUC), for which he served as the vice chair of the practice expense subcommittee through 2012. Dr. Brill currently serves as medical director of FAIR Health, Inc.; assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix; adjunct assistant professor of medicine at Midwestern University, Glendale, AZ; and chief medical officer of Predictive Health, LLC.

Since being elected to Congress in 2008, Bill Cassidy, MD, R-LA, has worked tirelessly on behalf of gastroenterologists and physicians across the country to ensure patients have access to timely specialty care. He is a dedicated champion of an array of public policy issues critical to the research and practice of gastroenterology, including providing education and treatment on hepatitis C, insuring that ambulatory surgery centers remain viable for physicians and patients, and working to modernize the Medicare physician payment formula, among other important issues.

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Contact: Rachel Steigerwald
American Gastroenterological Association

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