Gastroenterology and Hepatology Research and Educational Update – 2023

Message from Andrew Wang, MD, Gastroenterology & Hepatology Division Chief

Andrew Wang MD

Andrew Wang MD

The Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology had a great year. Our faculty, fellows, and staff continued our tradition of excellence in clinical patient care, education, and research. Notable achievements were the submission of a Strategic Plan for the Division and for the Digestive Health program to UVA Health, which was followed in the fall by leading in the One Team United on Access work on creating decision trees, standardizing clinic schedules, and going live with our clinic optimization in the winter. During the fall, our faculty, providers, and fellows worked alongside our Digestive Health leaders (Rob Teaster, Cathy Bauer, Jody Farmer, and Lisa Beach) to navigate critical staffing shortages in our nursing staff by developing ways to focus on critical patient care while also striving to respect or team-members work-life balance. Because of the teamwork and joint efforts on the part of the Division and the Medical Center, the Digestive Health Program won three Patient Experience Awards (for endoscopy and clinic services). We have grown our endoscopy volumes compared to FY22. We have also increased our wRVUs upwards of 8%, despite the departure of two faculty members in the fall. While our faculty set the tone for our success, we would like to recognize and honor each member of our team who has contributed to the Division and the Digestive Health programs’ success this year—a year in which we met our challenges head-on and overcame them with a team approach. Thank you to our Divisional administrators and administrative assistants, Medical Center Leaders, endoscopy nurses and techs, anesthesia colleagues, clinic nurses and staff, access associates, and nurse care coordinators. We would also like to recognize our housekeepers for their work behind the scenes, which won a BEE award for their outstanding efforts at our Outpatient Endoscopy Unit at Monroe Lane. Together we have delivered exceptional clinical care to our gastroenterology and hepatology/transplant patients!

Special thanks to Dr. Mitch Rosner, Russ Manley, and Terri Washington for their advice, guidance, and support as I assumed the role of Division Chief this year. The leadership of the Division is exceptional because of the input and investment of each member of the Division, from our Section Chiefs (Drs. Curtis Argo, Neeral Shah, Anne Tuskey, Andy Copland, and Vanessa Shami) to our newest hire Dr. Mark Worthington (who departed UVA in 2006 only to return thirteen years later out of a sense of wanting to give back, to work with fellows and residents, and to be a part of an academic community.) We also wish to thank Andrew Bowen and Amanda Scott, who respectively served as our interim Division Administrator and interim Operations Manager. They helped organize and push our Division’s administrative efforts forward. We thank Cardiology Division Chief, Dr. Chris Kramer, for allowing them to help us while doing double duty by caring for their home Division. Our Division welcomed Lisa Beach (Division Administrator), Tammy Eubank, and Emily Miksovic (Administrative team members) in the Spring of 2023 to our administrative team, which already included Sandy Marshall, Joanne Delapp-Anderson, and Brittany Davis (GME Fellowship Coordinator).

We are fortunate to be the premier academic Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our 23 faculty members (six full professors, nine associate professors, seven assistant professors, one clinical instructor), five advanced practice providers, and twelve GI fellows that make up our four Sections (Luminal Gastroenterology, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Interventional Endoscopy, and Hepatology/Liver Transplantation) are outstanding clinicians and caregivers. Our Division is regularly referred patients for GI and hepatology care from throughout Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee. Additionally, patients seek the Division’s subspecialty expertise and consultative care from across the United States and internationally.

The Division is responsible for approximately 1,200 outpatient clinic visits/month, and we provide 7,700-8,100 inpatient consults each year. Approximately half of the calls for transfers to the Department of Medicine (DOM) at UVA Medical Center are requests for transfer for complex GI and hepatology/liver transplant inpatient care. Due to the work of our Division’s Transplant Hepatologists our referrals for liver transplantation are more numerous than ever.

However, as we enter the latter half of 2023 and begin FY24, our Division and UVA Digestive Health have work to do. To meet the demand for our great clinical care, we are actively recruiting outstanding clinicians, educators, and researchers to fill positions in transplant hepatology, inflammatory bowel disease, and general gastroenterology. We are assisting leadership in UVA Community Health to build a community-based GI/Hepatology program in the Prince William/Manassas corridor. We are also working with the Medical Center leadership to renovate and expand our clinical footprint to meet demands for more space so that we can hire more clinicians to provide more patients with specialty care.

Please take a few minutes to read this issue of Medicine Matters. In these pages, you will learn about the clinical advances made in interventional endoscopy, the outstanding research being conducted by our hepatology, IBD, and endobariatric faculty, not to mention the specialty clinics and studies offered by our general GI clinicians. We want to share with you the many accolades that members of our Division have attained in the key realm of education, within the School of Medicine, and on a national and international stage. As we look to the future, we also wish to honor our past and those whose dedication and service have put our Division on the map. In this issue, we will highlight the return of Professor and Nobel Laureate Barry Marshall as he traveled to UVA to deliver the inaugural Dr. David Peura Endowed Lectureship, which was the capstone to the UVA H. pylori and Gastric Cancer Symposium, which also culminated in an unforgettable celebration at the UVA Rotunda honoring Emeritus Professor David Peura’s contribution to our Division and Dr. Marshall’s visit.

Our Division is also proud of our faculty, who focus on humanitarian work through the practice of GI/medicine. Dr. Ross Buerlein founded the UVA Community Outreach group in 2019 and serves as the program’s Director. The main goal of this organization is to improve health care for those experiencing homelessness in the Charlottesville community, and it operates a free primary-care clinic at the Haven, a day shelter in downtown Charlottesville that the Department of Medicine staffs. Dr. Bryan Sauer developed an endoscopy outreach program in rural Guatemala supported by a nonprofit organization, Central America Outreach & Endoscopy ( Three times a year, a team of gastroenterologists, nurse anesthetists, endoscopy nurses, and techs provide GI consultation and endoscopy procedures for a week at Hospitalito Atitlán, providing care to over 50 patients each week.

Finally, we thank our grateful patients, GI fellowship alums, and all who have donated to the Division to further our academic missions. Your contributions are critical to all that we do.

Thank you for joining us!

Professor of Medicine
Division Chief of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, UVA School of Medicine
Director of Interventional Endoscopy, UVA Medical Center

Andrew Wang Twitter

Clinical Updates

Andrew Copland MD

Andrew Copland MD
Section Chief of Luminal GI


Our Section of General or Luminal GI comprises a group of clinically-focused faculty who provide a broad range of expert care to meet the clinical needs of patients from the UVA primary care base, as well as—in consultation—patients referred from gastroenterologists, surgeons, and other practices across the Commonwealth. This group includes Drs. Copland, Kumral, Doran, Frye, Powell, Yoshida, Worthington, and our two advanced practice providers, Karen Finke and Hallie Gunnoe. The group offers a full array of procedural support, including services that are limited across the Commonwealth for needs such as small bowel capsule endoscopy and GI motility services (esophageal manometry, gastroesophageal reflux/pH studies, anorectal manometry, smart pill endoscopy, and targeted breath testing). In particular, esophageal motility and reflux studies have played an important role in supporting other programs, such as the lung transplant program. Dr. Jeanetta Frye manages Virginia’s most comprehensive GI motility lab, performing high-resolution esophageal/anorectal manometry and other GI physiology studies. Furthermore, the Luminal GI group offers key endoscopy services to the community, including high-quality colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening and an open-access diagnostic upper endoscopy and colonoscopy program.

The luminal group is growing, and we’re delighted to welcome Dr. Mark Worthington back to UVA as a Professor of Clinical Medicine as well as our newest APP hire, Hallie Gunnoe PA. Mark and Hallie started with us during this academic year, and we’re excited about the clinical experience and energy they bring to the Division.

Our general GI practices are largely housed at the main hospital, with a smaller satellite clinic at the UVA Crozet Clinic. In addition to the general GI clinics, there are several subspecialty clinics, such as the Celiac Clinic, led by Dr. Dennis Kumral, which allows for focused care of patients with celiac sprue in close partnership with our dietetics colleague Mallory Foster. The Society for the Study of Celiac Disease has recognized our clinic at UVA as part of their Celiac Disease Unit Recognition Program. Dr. Andrew Copland provides specialty care for small bowel diseases, providing expertise in cases requiring video capsule endoscopy and small bowel enteroscopy. Dr. Copland also specializes in endoscopic resection of large luminal GI polyps. Our experienced advanced practice provider, Karen Finke, leads our gastrostomy tube nutrition clinic, which helps support the needs of patients in oncology services and the neurology ALS clinic. Dr. Jeanetta Frye helps spearhead the Luminal GI E-consult program. Dr. Cynthia Yoshida leads the UVA Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Colorectal Cancer screening program, which was recently awarded the Hoos Building Bridges Award, and she Co-Chairs the Virginia Colorectal Roundtable program.

The luminal GI group takes pride in its educational endeavors within and outside UVA. These efforts and contributions are highlighted in the Education section.

Anne Tuskey MD

Anne Tuskey MD
Section Chief of IBD


The Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Section has remained active in the clinical, academic, and research missions of the Division. Last fall, Krysti Homa, NP joined Drs. Brian Behm, Esteban Figueroa, and Anne Tuskey in caring for UVA’s IBD patient population. This group continues to see patients with complex Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis from across the Commonwealth and neighboring states. Dr. Behm co-leads UVA’s multidisciplinary Complicated C. difficile Infection (CDI) clinic with Dr. Cirle Warren (Infectious Diseases/DOM), one of only two centers in Virginia to offer fecal microbiota transplants. In addition to a busy clinical practice, the IBD section is actively involved in clinical research. The Section receives funding from an NIH award with Dr. Behm as a co-investigator. Dr. Figueroa is a member of the UVA IRB Committee and leads the Section’s clinical pharmaceutical trials for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The group currently participates in five industry-sponsored IBD clinical trials. The IBD section also continues to participate in IBD Qorus, which is a national quality improvement collaborative network developed by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation to improve the care of adults with IBD and involves patient-reported measures and outcomes to enable quality improvement research and dissemination of best practices. Lastly, Drs. Behm, Figueroa, and Tuskey continue to maintain a commitment to education and the academic mission of the Division. Dr. Tuskey continues to co-lead the six-week GI System for the UVA SOM’s first-year students, and all three faculty were invited to speak at local, regional, and national meetings this past year. Dr. Tuskey is also concluding her second term as American College of Gastroenterology Governor of Virginia, an important role that works to improve GI patient care through communication and advocacy.


Vanessa Shami MD

Vanessa Shami MD
Section Chief of Interventional Endoscopy

The Division and the Digestive Health Program at the Medical Center have been recognized nationally in several areas that differentiate UVA from its peers in Virginia and the region. Dr. Andrew Wang was the first to offer third-space endoscopy procedures on the East Coast in 2010, and the UVA Section of Interventional Endoscopy is the region’s leading referral center for endoscopic resection of early GI cancers and the treatment of achalasia and gastroparesis. Dr. Daniel Strand continues to lead the UVA National Pancreas Foundation (NPF) Center for Excellence (CoE) in Pancreatitis (renewed designation in 2021), and also UVA is an NPF CoE for Pancreas Cancer care. Dr. Bryan Sauer and Dr. Emily McGowan (Allergy-Immunology/DOM) co-direct the Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) clinic, the only clinic in the region offering multidisciplinary care to patients with this disease. The specialized services provided by our Advanced Endoscopy team have solidified UVA the as the main referral center for pediatric patients requiring ERCP, EUS, and third-space endoscopy from the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, as well as from many of the adult GI practices in the Virginia Beach region, Lynchburg, Richmond, Winchester, and Northern Virginia. Dr. Alex Podboy instituted the UVA endobariatrics program in partnership with Drs. Bruce Schirmer and Peter Hallowell in the Department of Surgery and is the region’s leader in performing endoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. Dr. Vanessa Shami introduced Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) guided portosystemic pressure gradient (PPG) to the institution expanding the field of endo-hepatology. Dr. Vanessa Shami and Dr. Ross Buerlein have recently been invited to join a U-award as site PIs for Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)-guided pancreatic cyst ablation. In addition to his work as an advanced endoscopist, Dr. Ross Buerlein founded the UVA Community Outreach group in 2019 and serves as the program’s Director. The main goal of this organization is to improve health care for those experiencing homelessness in the Charlottesville community.

The Interventional Endoscopy faculty have been well represented and acknowledged for their accomplishments in the SOM as well as nationally, for their efforts in patient care and clinical guidance. Dr. Wang is the immediate Past-President of the Virginia Gastroenterological Society (VGS), and he was the senior author of the “ACG Clinical Guideline: Diagnosis and Management of Biliary Strictures.” Dr. Vanessa Shami received the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy’s Distinguished Educator Award at Digestive Disease Week in May 2023. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Endoscopy and a senior author of the “ACG Clinical Guideline: Diagnosis and Management of Gastrointestinal Subepithelial Lesions.” Dr. Wang, as Chair of the American Gastroenterological Association’s Clinical Practice Updates Committee, is involved in leading the AGA’s efforts to inform clinicians about clinical best practices to improve patient care. Dr. Alex Podboy received board certification from the American Board of Obesity Medicine, making him triple board certified in obesity medicine, internal medicine, and gastroenterology. Dr. Podboy has single-handedly developed the Division’s endoscopic bariatric practice, which has resulted in the Division performing endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty and transoral outlet revision for weight loss. Drs. Podboy and Wang are the most experienced team who perform esophageal per-oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) to treat patients with achalasia. UVA now offers gastric POEM to treat medically refractory gastroparesis.

The Section of Interventional Endoscopy is nationally recognized, and each of its faculty members has delivered national, and some international, presentations. The Section participated in 2 NIH U awards in FY23 and is proud of its research and scholarly publications, which are enumerated in the following Research and Publications sections


Curtis Argo MD MSc

Curt Argo MD MSc
Section Chief of Hepatology

The Section of Hepatology has remained active and successful in all its academic missions in FY23. Dr. Nicolas Intagliata took over the directorship of the Transplant Hepatology Fellowship in July 2022 after Dr. Curt Argo created and guided the program to excellence for ten years. Dr. Neeral Shah continues to lead our Division’s Gastroenterology and Hepatology Fellowship for his sixth year, and he continues to perfect the hepatology portion of the UVA SOM’s pre-clinical curriculum. Dr. Shah also spearheaded the effort to refresh UVA Health’s mission and vision statements! Our Section supports UVA’s Liver Transplant program, which posted its largest number of transplant referrals and had 79 transplants performed with exceptional one- and three-year outcomes above expected performance levels. Along with partners Dr. Nico Goldaracena and Anita Sites, ACNP, Dr. Argo directed the living donor liver transplant program, which successfully performed ten living donor liver transplants, including the first-ever domino transplants, with exceptional results. Dr. Argo assumed the leadership role of Medical Director of Liver Transplantation in Fall 2021. Dr. Zach Henry continues to lead our Division’s Quality Improvement efforts with the collaboration of Sierra Lee and team leaders in endoscopy, outpatient clinic, and inpatient medicine.

Carolyn Driscoll, PhD, FNP came on board in August 2022 to bolster our strong General Hepatology APP team, joining Colleen Green. PA, Carolyn and Colleen have over 30 years of experience treating hepatology patients. Our clinical nurse coordinator team, Amy Brown, Katherine Craig, Marcia Haney, Stacy Harper, Martha Perkins, and Faith Mawyer, continues its strong clinical presence in helping us provide exceptional care to our hepatology patients.

Our hepatology team has refined our urgent outpatient clinic visit triage mechanism that helps to provide general and transplant consultative care on a time-sensitive basis according to the urgency of the request. This has been successful in helping to maintain a manageable wait time for clinic access to hepatology care. Dr. Nicolas Intagliata is working collaboratively with Transplant Social Work (Bill Potts) and Addiction Medicine (Kelly Schorling) teams to modernize the UVA Liver Transplant team’s approach to transplant candidacy for alcoholic liver disease patients, emphasizing a more individualized, relapse risk-based approach rather than the traditional but unproven “6 months of sobriety” requirement.

The Hepatology Section has had the following notable recognitions over the last year:

1) Dr. Brian Wentworth continued his 2-year AASLD Clinical Research Grant supporting his advancing study of hypoadrenalism in cirrhosis.

2) Dr. Nicolas Intagliata and Dr. Curt Argo were each awarded a 2022 DoM Award for Clinical Excellence based on high productivity and patient satisfaction in their inpatient and outpatient hepatology practice.

3) Dr. Zach Henry was awarded a 2022 DoM Award for Educational Excellence.

4) Neeral Shah was awarded a 2022 DoM Award for Excellence in Mentorship for his continued efforts at providing multi-level mentorship to UVA medical students, medicine residents, GI/Hepatology fellows, and faculty colleagues across divisions.

5) Curt Argo was awarded a 2023 GME Master Educator Award (2 awards per year across the health system) after a decade of leadership of the Transplant Hepatology Fellowship and continued dedication to graduate education.

UVA GI Instagram

Research Updates

Stephen Caldwell MD

Stephen Caldwell MD
Director of Research

The Division’s Clinical Research consists of eight Clinical Research Coordinators, now working on twenty-six different therapeutic and diagnostic protocols, overseen by twelve faculty physicians. The work is self-sustained under the direction of CRC manager Sharon Foster and director Dr. Stephen Caldwell. The Division’s research is a productive enterprise that manages a research budget of approximately $1.34 million (direct funds) derived from industry, federal, and state. The Division receives funding from 2 NIH U-awards (2 for Dr. Wang), with one pending for Dr. Tuskey, a new/anticipated award. Dr. Shami has recently been invited to join a U-award as a site PI that focuses on EUS-guided pancreatic cyst ablation. Dr. Behm is a sub-investigator on two R01 awards held separately by Dr. Bill Petri and Dr. Cirle Warren (Infection Diseases/DOM).

Active areas of clinical research are in Hepatology (clinical trials concerning therapeutics for fatty liver, autoimmune liver disease, cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and coagulopathy), Advanced Endoscopy (acute pancreatitis treatment/prevention, endoluminal resection of premalignant and early GI malignancies, endoscopic ablative therapy for cholangiocarcinoma, screening for premalignant gastric conditions, endohepatology), celiac disease, and GI motility. Our IBD team participates in several phase 2 and 3 multi-centered treatment trials for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Current clinical trials include therapeutics for fatty liver, autoimmune liver disease, cirrhosis (Drs. Caldwell, Henry, Argo, Shah), inflammatory bowel disease (Drs. Tuskey, Figueroa, Behm), prevention of procedure-related pancreatitis (Drs. Wang, Strand, Buerlein, and Podboy), and EUS-guided measurement of portal hypertension (Drs. Shami, Henry). There are several new clinical studies in development for a wide variety of potentially severe liver and GI diseases, including cutting-edge studies of gene therapy for Wilson’s disease and hyperbaric therapy of refractory Ulcerative Colitis as well as immunomodulatory therapy, which offers a potential cure of PBC (an autoimmune liver disease) and celiac disease (Dr. Kumral). Investigator-initiated studies include an international consortium started at UVA (Dr. Intagliata), which focuses on bleeding risk in liver disease patients undergoing various procedures and involves over 1,000 patients from centers in North, South, and Central America; a consortium of centers with a focus on strategies in managing gastric variceal bleeding (Dr. Henry); and studies of disordered cholesterol and hepatic lipoprotein metabolism in patients with more advanced liver disease (Dr. Wentworth). Almost 100 patients are involved in current treatment trials, and nearly 200 additional patients are engaged in ongoing observational studies.

Important interdisciplinary collaborations include work with Interventional Radiology in Hepatocellular Cancer therapy, Allergy and Immunology in the care of Eosinophilic Esophagitis (Drs. Sauer and McGowen), and the Division’s work in supporting innovative trials in Liver Transplantation, especially for organ preservation (Ds. Argo, Pelletier, Goldaracena) as well as Basic Science collaboration with colleagues in Pharmacology (Drs. Schulman, Caldwell) studying advanced models of disordered liver fat metabolism. Dr. Podboy has successfully published seven articles to date in bariatric endoscopy and is excited for future collaboration with pulmonary medicine utilizing endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) as a bridge to translation in patients where weight is a contraindication to transplant. Dr. Podboy is also the lead PI on a multi-site prospective trial utilizing a novel high-resolution electrogastrography device to identify myoelectric gastric patterns that could help predict response for patients undergoing gastric POEM.

Clinical research in the Division has flourished and been sustained for over 35 years. Early studies included gut motility, biliary diseases and therapeutic interventions, inflammatory bowel disease, and therapeutics for viral hepatitis C and B, as well as work with gastric variceal bleeding and hepatitis B prevention after liver transplantation. Early work also closely involved extensive studies of Helicobacter pylori, which contributed to the Nobel Prize in Medicine being awarded to our alumnus Dr. Barry Marshall (and Dr. Robin Warren). Dr. Marshall recently attended our Division’s H. Pylori and Gastric Cancer Symposium and was honored as the inaugural David A. Peura Endowed Lecturer.

The Hepatology section remains a national leader in clinical research. Dr. Brian Wentworth, our newest faculty member, successfully won an AASLD Clinical Research Award on his first attempt to push forward his study of hypoadrenalism in cirrhosis patients. Dr. Nicolas Intagliata successfully published in Gastroenterology (a top journal in our field) the first results of his multicenter, multi-continent consortium he formed to investigate the relationship between cirrhosis and peri-procedural bleeding risk with an enrollment of over 1,500 patients. In the industry-sponsored realm, UVA’s team has maintained a strong presence in trials involving NAFLD/NASH, PBC, PSC, alcoholic hepatitis, Wilson disease, and liver fibrosis. Led by physicians, Drs. Steve Caldwell and Zachary Henry and powered by an eager and hardworking crew of clinical research nurse coordinators, the number of trials in which the group participates is at the highest level ever.

Education Updates

Neeral Shah MD

Neeral Shah MD
Section Chief of Education

The UVA Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology is very proud of its strong tradition of excellence in education and of its many contributions at UVA (School of Medicine and Fellowship), in the region (local committees and conferences), nationally (via national committees and conferences), and internationally (panel moderators, international trainees, invited talks).

Drs. Amy Doran and Jeanetta Frye spent time this academic year creating a fourth-year medical student clinic elective in luminal GI, which received excellent reviews. They look to expand the availability and offerings of this elective in the future. Dr. Doran also serves on the medical school curriculum committee, and Dr. Frye is a coach in the Foundations of Clinical Medicine course. Dr. Dennis Kumral has helped direct the medical school clerkship and IM residency program rotations on the GI inpatient and outpatient services. The GI course at the medical school continues to flourish under the leadership of Drs. Tuskey and Shah.

The Division also holds an annual regional GI course co-directed by Drs. Neeral Shah and Dennis Kumral that is regularly attended by over 100 providers. This year the attendees came from five surrounding states. Also in attendance was a group of scholars from other training programs, which also promoted underrepresented minorities interested in GI. This program was sponsored through a grant from the Jefferson Trust Foundation. The Division is also involved in planning the annual American College of Gastroenterology/VGS Regional Postgraduate Course, which over 300 providers attend. Dr. Daniel Strand is the Co-Director for the upcoming course in September 2023.

Our premier GI and Hepatology Fellowship Program, led by Dr. Neeral Shah (Program Director) and Dr. Amy Doran (Associate Program Director), selects four candidates each year from an extremely competitive applicant pool. Our fellowship aims to impart our trainees with a solid clinical foundation and mentor their development as researchers and academic leaders. The 3-year program comprises clinical training in year 1, research training in year 2, and third-year training focused on individual needs and career goals. A 4-year track incorporating formal degree training in clinical research or public health is also offered for qualified candidates. The UVA Fellowship Program is accredited for five fellows/year, although we currently only have funding for four fellows/year (our entire fellowship program is comprised of 12 fellows). We have the inpatient and outpatient volume to educate and train five fellows/year and have requested additional funding to support a 5th fellow per year.

The Division also has a long-standing and successful ACGME Transplant Hepatology Fellowship that Dr. Nicolas Intagliata directs. Additionally, Dr. Andrew Wang restarted the Advanced Endoscopy Fellowship (AEF) program in 2012, now directed by Dr. Strand, which trains 1-2 AEF trainees each year. Our AEFs also serve as Clinical Instructors in the SOM. 75% of our AEF program graduates remain in academics, and many have gone on to become Directors of Endoscopy at large academic and referral centers.

This year’s incoming GI/Hepatology fellows are from UVA, Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, and the University of California San Diego. Drs. Shah and Doran are gearing up for the next fellowship recruitment season, beginning this July. This past year Dr. Kumral won the Teaching Attending Award, and Dr. Copland won the Endoscopy Teaching Award. Our fellows choose the faculty awardees, and these are notable achievements. In partnership with Dr. Ross Buerlein, Dr. Copland plays an active role in endoscopy education for our fellowship program, supplementing the daily clinical experience with hands-on and didactic experiences. Many of the simulation devices and tools were developed by Drs. Copland and Buerlein.

Outside of UVA, the Division has played an active role in committees for our national societies, which educate on a national and international scale, such as the ASGE Technology Assessment Committee (Dr. Copland), ACG Training Committee (Dr. Tuskey/Chair, Dr. Frye, and Dr. Shah), ABIM Gastroenterology Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment Committee (Dr. Worthington), AGA Clinical Practice Updates Committee (Dr. Wang/Chair, Dr. Frye). Dr. Copland has helped conduct hands-on educational sessions in polypectomy and endoscopic mucosal resection at our national conference (DDW – Digestive Disease Week) and for an educational program directed to second-year GI fellows across the country (ACG). Dr. Frye has completed the Rome Foundation Communication Educator Program and helped create patient education videos for the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders.

Dr. Anne Tuskey is the current chair of the ACG Training Committee and has led the development of materials and webinars for residents applying for a GI Fellowship. She is joined on the Committee by Dr. Frye and Dr. Shah.

Dr. Shah is a co-editor of the AGA’s DDSEP Board Review Materials for the ABIM Certification exam and ACG Education Universe, the online curricular materials for CME for practicing physicians and trainees. Finally, Dr. Shah is currently an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Gastroenterology, one of the leading journals in GI (Impact Factor in 2023 – 12.045).

Dr. Wang is a regularly invited speaker and hands-on trainer at various endoscopy courses (he taught at the Florida ESD Course held in Orlando in 2022, at the Pacific Northwest Gastroenterology Society’s 7th Biennial State-of-the-Art in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Course in 2023, and at the Creighton University, Norton Thoracic Institute and St. Joseph’s Medical Center’s 2023 Esophageal Symposium.) Dr. Wang was also an invited faculty member at Stanford University’s 2022 Gastric Cancer Summit. In May 2023, Dr. Wang and Dr. Shah hosted the UVA H. pylori and Gastric Cancer Symposium, which assembled faculty from throughout the U.S., and internationally from Colombia, China, and Australia. This educational conference was held in-person and Livestreamed, culminating in former faculty member and Nobel Laureate Dr. Barry Marshall giving the inaugural Dr. David Peura Endowed Lectureship at DOM Grand Rounds.

Boards Head GI Conference

February 2023 – UVA Regional Conference (Charlottesville, VA) – Course directors Neeral Shah and Dennis Kumral held this annual UVA GI Conference at the Boars Head Resort. They had over 120 attendees, which included 30 trainees. Two alumni from the fellowship program (Drs. Jessica Davis and Darius Jahann) were visiting faculty for the program.

This year the Division was honored to host three outstanding educational events:

1) The 15th Annual GI Conference was hosted at the Boar’s Head and had expansive representation from our regional colleagues,

2) The Dr. James Respess Endowed Professorship and Lectures were delivered by Dr. James Lewis from University of Pennsylvania, with his keynote talk focusing on mentorship in academic medicine,

3) The inaugural Dr. David Peura Endowed Lectureship, which was given by Dr. Barry Marshall (Nobel Prize winner in 2005), which was the keynote talk following the UVA H. pylori and Gastric Cancer Symposium held in Pinn Hall.

Finally, some notable awards for this year included the Dean’s Master Educator Award given to Dr. Curtis Argo for his work in the GME realm as the founding Program Director for the Transplant Hepatology Fellowship. Dr. Lindsey Bierle (a second-year fellow who will be Chief Fellow in FY24) won the Mulholland Teaching Award, an award chosen by fourth-year medical students recognizing excellence in teaching medical students. Finally, Dr. Vanessa Shami received the Distinguished Educator Award from the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy in May 2023. This award is given to the most outstanding teachers of endoscopy on an international stage. It is the culmination of Dr. Shami’s twenty years as a master clinician-educator who has left an indelible mark on endoscopic education and trained generations of GI fellows and advanced endoscopists.

UVA GI on Twitter

Recent Events

UVA Faculty

UVA faculty attending the 2023 ACG Postgraduate Course in Charlotte, NC.

November 2022 –American College of Gastroenterology National Scientific Meeting (Charlotte, NC) had excellent representation by the UVA GI Faculty, Fellows, and Residents. UVA faculty and trainees generated over 25 presentations/posters during the conference.

April 2023 – Respess Lectureship – The annual Dr. David Respess Endowed Lectureship was resumed after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr. James Lewis from the University of Pennsylvania discussed “Evidence-based Nutrition for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.” The lecture was attended by UVA GI Faculty, Fellows, and community GI physicians from Charlottesville and the surrounding counties. Dr. Lewis also lectured at GI Grand Rounds on mentorship in academic medicine.

UVA doctors

Drs. Shami and Bigelow (UVA DOM resident) presenting their research at DDW 2023 in Chicago, IL.


UVA GI fellows with Dr. Jim Lewis at the Ivy Inn (April 2023)

Drs. Wang and Lewis

Dr. Andrew Wang presenting a framed certificate to Dr. James Lewis, following his giving the James Respess, MD Endowed Lecture at GI Grand Rounds (April 2023)

UVA doctors

Drs. Alex Podboy, Anuragh Gudur (UVA medicine resident) and Bryan Sauer presenting research at DDW 2023.














May 2023 –Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2023 was held in Chicago, IL. The Division’s alumni reception at DDW included former residents and fellows from UVA. Once again, at this meeting, UVA GI had an exceptional presence, with over 18 invited talks or oral presentations at the podium and 12 poster presentations in the exhibit hall. During the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy’s awards ceremony (the Crystal Awards), Dr. Vanessa Shami was presented with the ASGE’s Distinguished Educator Award for her lifetime achievements in endoscopic education.

UVA doctors

Dr. Neeral Shah with Dr. Katya Swarts and Dr. Shaina Hasan (both UVA medicine residents) presenting research at DDW 2023.

UVA doctors

From left: Drs. Anuragh Gudur (UVA DOM resident), Neeral Shah, Abhi Shenoy (former UVA resident now a GI fellow at U. Michigan), Rebecca Haug (former UVA chief resident and now UVA GI fellow), Amy Gould Oguirck (former UVA chief resident and now Yale GI faculty.)













UVA doctors

Dr. Vanessa Shami’s table at 2023 ASGE Crystal Awards where she was honored with the Distinguished Educator Award (Chicago, IL). Current UVA faculty were joined by Dr. Jennifer Maranki (far left, former UVA GI fellow and UVA Advanced Endoscopy Fellow, who is now a Professor and Director of Endoscopy at Penn State Health) and Dr. Samer El-Dika (far right, former UVA Advanced Endoscopy Fellow, who is now an Associate Professor at Stanford University.)

May 2023 – UVA H. pylori and Gastric Cancer Symposium & Rotunda Dinner celebrating Emeritus Professor Dr. David Peura and former faculty member and Nobel Laureate Dr.

Barry Marshall and Mitch Rosner

Dr. Mitch Rosner presents a framed certificate to Dr. Barry Marshall commemorating his return to UVA as the inaugural David Peura, MD Endowed Lecturer.

Barry Marshall. The Division hosted its first H. pylori and Gastric Cancer Symposium. An acclaimed cast of invited faculty from the U.S. (Drs. Manuel Amieva, Shailja Shah, Haejin In, Joo Ha Hwang) and other countries.
(Drs. Pengyuan Zheng/China, Fabian Emura/Colombia, Barry Marshall/Australia) delivered outstanding talks meant to further patient care and health care policy and to address health care disparities in clinical care and research pertaining to gastric cancer. Nobel Laureate Dr. Barry Marshall, a former faculty member of our Division, gave the keynote Dr. David Peura Endowed Lectureship at the Department of Medicine Grand Rounds. The day culminated with a dinner reception and celebration at the UVA Rotunda in honor of Drs. Peura and Marshall that included former GI fellows, distinguished guests, grateful patients, and testimonials from Mrs. Cornelia Campbell and Dr. Samuel Kang regarding their experiences with gastric cancer.

UVA doctors

Faculty and attendees of the first UVA H. pylori and Gastric Cancer Symposium (Pinn Hall, May 12, 2023)

Barry Marshall

Dr. Neeral Shah, Dr. Barry Marshall, Dr. Andy Wang, Dr. K. Craig Kent, and Ms. Marjie Morrissette at the UVA Rotunda.

UVA doctors

Drs. Neeral Shah, Mrs. Kristin Peura, Dr. David Peura and Dr. Vanessa Shami at the UVA Rotunda.

Lindsey Bierle

Dr. Lindsey Bierlie receiving the Mulholland Teaching Award.

May 2023 – Mulholland Teaching Award – Second-year fellow, soon-to-be Chief Fellow, Dr. Lindsey Bierle was awarded the Mulholland Teaching Award from the UVA SOM Class of 2023 and presented by Dr. Susan Kirk at DOM Grand Rounds.









July 2023 – We look forward to welcoming our new fellows, who will be the Class of 2026.
GI Class of 2026


Filed Under: Basic Research, Clinical Research, Education, In the Know, News and Notes, Notable Achievements, Publications, Research

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,