AGA has announced the 2020 recipients of the annual recognition prizes, given in honor of outstanding contributions and achievements in gastroenterology.
“AGA Recognition Prizes allow members to honor their colleagues and peers for outstanding contributions to the field of gastroenterology,” said Hashem B. El-Serag, MD, MPH, AGAF, president of the AGA Institute. “The 2020 AGA Recognition Prize winners are just a few of the distinguished and talented members who help make AGA such an accomplished organization. We are honored that such esteemed individuals are representatives of AGA.”
The AGA Recognition Prizes will be presented during Digestive Disease Week® 2020, May 1-5, 2020, in Chicago, Illinois.
Julius Friedenwald Medal
AGA bequeaths its highest honor, the Julius Friedenwald Medal, to Gail Hecht, MD, MS, AGAF, for her substantial contributions to the field of gastroenterology and AGA. The Julius Friedenwald Medal, presented annually since 1941, recognizes a physician for lifelong contributions to the field of gastroenterology.
Dr. Hecht is internationally renowned for her pivotal contributions to the understanding of the important diarrheal pathogen, enteropathogenic E. coli. She is also a passionate advocate for the science and practice of gastroenterology, including serving as AGA Institute President. Dr. Hecht’s collegial and generous spirit, her past and continued leadership roles in AGA, her passion for and contributions to science and clinical medicine, and her dedication to both her patients and trainees have strengthened the specialty of gastroenterology, and also inspired and shaped the next generation of investigators and gastroenterologists. Dr. Hecht is currently assistant dean, medical student research and professor of medicine and microbiology/immunology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, and a staff physician at Hines VA Medical Center, Chicago, Ill.
Distinguished Achievement Award in Basic Science
AGA recognizes R. Balfour Sartor, MD, with the AGA Distinguished Achievement Award in Basic Science, for his major accomplishments in basic science research, which have significantly contributed to the understanding of the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Dr. Sartor’s seminal observations throughout his career helped launch the area of inquiry that led to the recognition that the microbiome is a key to metabolic disease, IBD, intestinal neoplasia and hepatic disorders. Dr. Sartor is the Margaret W. and Lorimer W. Midgett Distinguished Professor and a professor, departments of medicine, microbiology and immunology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
William Beaumont Prize
AGA honors two individuals with the William Beaumont Prize in Gastroenterology, which recognizes individuals who have made unique, outstanding contributions of major importance to the field of gastroenterology.
Dennis Ahnen, MD, AGAF, had made many contributions to the field of gastroenterology that have significantly advanced the care of patients through clinical and translational research into the pathobiology of colorectal cancer and its prevention. Dr. Ahnen, has provided exemplary service to AGA. He is director of genetics at Gastroenterology of the Rockies and Professor Emeritus of medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus School of Medicine, Aurora.
Peter Kahrilas, MD, AGAF, has worked tirelessly and creatively to characterize the function and pathophysiology of the esophagus and has written the esophageal papers upon which a large portion of current research is based. Dr. Kahrilas has also dedicated many years of service to AGA and is currently the Gilbert H. Marquardt Professor of Medicine in the division of gastroenterology at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.