Division Chief's Message
The faculty of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is proud to be ranked No. 22 in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Our diverse faculty have research and clinical interests that include esophageal disease, swallowing disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatic/biliary disease, liver disease, liver transplantation, colorectal cancer screening, high-risk colon cancer prevention, irritable bowel syndrome (including related health psychology services) and nutrition/intestinal absorption disorders.
The division has a robust clinical practice that resides within our new Digestive Health Center led by Stephen Hanauer, MD, (medical director) and Scott Strong, MD, (surgical director). The center is a true collaborative effort between gastroenterologists, hepatologists, surgeons, psychologists and dieticians working side-by-side in multidisciplinary clinics that are led by international leaders in the field. Our referrals come from all over the United States and the world.
The Esophageal Center at Northwestern was founded by Peter Kahrilas, MD, and is the top referral center in the country for difficult esophageal cases and post-surgical complications. Additionally, the esophageal motility lab within the center has also been recognized as a top training program and has had visiting scholars from all over the world. There is also a nationally recognized program within the Esophageal Center focused on eosinophilic disorders of the esophagus and gastrointestinal tract. , and Nirmala Gonsalves, MD, are nationally recognized investigators and have studied novel treatment approaches that range from new biologics to diet therapy. Srinadh Komanduri, MD, also leads a state-of-the-art Barrett's esophagus program that focuses on early detection of cancer and new treatments focused on ablation and endoscopic mucosal resection.
We are national leaders in transplant hepatology and the management of complicated liver diseases. The Transplant Hepatology team is composed of eight faculty, led by Steven Flamm, MD, and is the busiest center in the Chicagoland area. The combined Transplant and General Hepatology program are housed in both the Digestive Health Center and the Kovler Transplant Center. The faculty is composed of national thought leaders focused on every facet of hepatology, and there are specialty clinics on nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, hepatocellular cancer, viral hepatitis, autoimmune hepatitis and cirrhosis within the program. The program is also supported by a vast satellite clinic network that extends access to patients across the entire region including all of Illinois, Northern Indiana and Wisconsin. Additionally, the liver program has a major basic science interest, and Richard Green, MD, and Anne Henkel, MD, have active laboratories focused on the study of liver and biliary pathophysiology.
Our inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) program was developed by Stephen Hanauer, MD, a world-renowned expert in inflammatory bowel disease, and currently there are six dedicated faculty that manage complex referral cases using a multidisciplinary outpatient and inpatient service. Adam Stein, MD, is the director of the Digestive Health Center Nutrition program and is focused on complicated small intestinal disorders and nutrition therapy in IBD, cystic fibrosis, post-surgical complications and other chronic disease states requiring total parenteral nutrition. The IBD program is also supported by a superb colorectal surgery program that specializes in complicated IBD surgery and colon cancer.
Another unique aspect of the division focuses on the Behavioral Medicine program led by Sarah Quinton, PsyD. This is a pioneering program that aims to incorporate behavioral interventions in all chronic gastrointestinal disorders, and our program is the epicenter for training in gut-directed behavioral interventions. Our group has been involved in many National Institutes of Health–sponsored studies focused on these interventions in esophageal disorders, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. The Behavioral Medicine program is also a crucial component of the Neurogastroenterology and Motility Program led by Darren Brenner, MD. This program focuses on complicated irritable bowel disease, intestinal pseudo-obstruction and severe constipation and the program supports a national referral center for physiologic testing.
The Digestive Health Center has one of the largest volume endoscopy centers in the country. This lab houses state-of-the-art equipment that is supported by our talented advanced endoscopy team led by Srinadh Komanduri, MD, with Rajesh Keswani, MD, Aziz Aadam, MD, and David Shapiro, MD. The endoscopy lab is equipped to handle complicated endoscopic procedures, such as ERCP, endoscopic ultrasound and endoscopic mucosal/submucosal resection, as well as endoscopic bariatric and anti-reflux procedures.
A major component of the division is focused on training the next generation of leaders in digestive diseases. Our trainees receive excellent clinical training from our specialty centers and our top-tier general gastroenterology team, and they also have an opportunity to work within the division’s laboratories, which include collaborations with investigators in the school’s basic science departments and in clinical departments such as Surgery, Pathology and Pediatrics. In addition to our general gastroenterology fellowship, we offer a fourth-year liver transplant fellowship that capitalizes on our relationship with the Division of Organ Transplantation in the Department of Surgery. We have been awarded a newly funded T32 training grant that encourages collaboration between Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the Division of Allergy and Immunology, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, the Center for Healthcare Studies and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering. Furthermore, faculty members within the division maintain research collaborations and professional relationships across the world with key investigators in their areas of interest.
We believe that this is an exciting time for the division, as we have developed one of the best academic programs in the country and continue to grow and expand our research portfolio and clinical services both regionally and nationally.