Gastroenterology

Education

The University of Utah and Salt Lake City VAMC have the only accredited three-year fellowship program in Gastroenterology in the Intermountain West. Two new positions are offered each year. Approximately 300 new patients are seen each month and approximately 700 endoscopic procedures are performed each month. GI Fellows experience a rich training environment with rotations at the UUMC, SLC VAMC, and HCI. All areas of GI and hepatology are provided through the fellowship program, including therapeutic endoscopy, liver transplant, motility, and endoscopic ultrasound.

A GI/Hepatology multidisciplinary CME accredited conference is held each week and is open to gastroenterologists, surgeons, pathologists, and radiologists. There is also a monthly research seminar and monthly conferences in GI motility, physiology and radiology. The teaching programs are of the highest quality. The students and residents repeatedly have outstanding scores on national exams and the fellows consistently score well on subspecialty board exams.

Research

The research interests of the Division are extensive and include: tumor biology, genetics of GI cancers, hepatitis C, mechanisms of drug-induced liver disease, chemoprevention and treatment of GI malignancies, gastrointestinal motility disorders, pulmonary complications of gastroesophageal reflux, Helicobacter pylori research, pancreatic cancer, eosinophilic esophogitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and esophageal cancer.

Clinical

The Division is housed at the University of Utah Medical Center (UUMC), Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC). The Division is the major referral center for the Intermountain area, and thus sees a wide variety of both common and uncommon gastrointestinal (GI) and hepatic diseases. The Division has a strong history of producing leaders in Digestive Diseases. Examples include James W. Freston, M.D., who received the highest honor the AGA bestows (Friedenwald Medal for Distinguished Services, 2007) for his contributions in the area of clinical pharmacology of GI therapeutics and Randall W. Burt, M.D., who pioneered the area of colon cancer genetics and co-led a team with Ray White that discovered APC mutants leading to colon cancer.
The Division is a specialized provider of the following services in the Intermountain region: endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), care of familial colon cancer patients, therapeutic endoscopy (ERCP), gastrointestinal motility studies, capsule endoscopy, liver transplant and endoscopic feeding tubes. State-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy services are offered. These include: standard upper and lower GI diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy, polypectomy, dilation, cautery and injection therapy of bleeding lesions, variceal band ligation, endoscopic sphincterotomy and biliary stent placement, otc diet pills, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy and jejunostomy, endoscopic treatment for tumors and vascular lesions, lithotriptic treatment of gallstones, EUS with fine needle aspiration, GI motility, and esophageal pH and impedence testing.

There are multiple clinical protocols for endoscopic therapy of GI malignancies, endoscopic treatment of familial polyposis, and therapeutic endoscopic procedures and GERD-related topics. A GI genetics program attracts many patients with inherited disorders of polyps and tumors of the GI tract.

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