News from the AGA

Introducing the new AGA FORWARD Scholars


We’re proud to announce the 10 early-career physician-scientists selected as “Scholars” for the 2021-2023 AGA FORWARD Program: Fostering Opportunities Resulting in Workforce and Research Diversity, supported by NIH (1R25DK118761-01). This new cohort of Scholars will participate in a training and mentorship program designed to provide concrete and applicable skills to promote physician-scientists from underrepresented populations in the pursuit of successful careers.

“AGA is excited to announce our second cohort of FORWARD Program Scholars as we continue in our promise to inspire and cultivate the next generation of prominent, diverse leaders in gastroenterology and hepatology,” said Byron Cryer, MD, FORWARD Program cochair, AGA Equity Project cochair, and associate dean for the Office of Faculty Diversity & Development at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. “This class includes gastroenterology and hepatology’s most gifted leaders who are trailblazers for the future of academic medicine.”

  • Muyiwa Awoniyi, MD, PhD
  • Bubu Banini, MD, PhD
  • Manuel Braga Neto, MD, PhD
  • Jihane Benhammou, MD, PhD
  • Cassandra Fritz, MD
  • Joel Gabre, MD
  • Rachel Issaka, MD, MAS
  • Jeremy Louissaint, MD
  • Vivian Ortiz, MD
  • Nicolette Rodriguez, MD, MPH

Each Scholar has been paired with a top GI investigator for the duration of the program who will provide mentorship and help in developing the Scholar’s leadership skills and strengthening their research and management skills to ensure continued success in their careers. In addition to the GI mentors, the program will be introducing five “near-peer” mentors from the inaugural FORWARD cohort who will each serve as program guides for the current cohort Scholars.

Learn more about this program at

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