Crystal Awards

Sunday, May 19, 2019
The US Grant Hotel
San Diego, California
6:15 P.M. Reception
7:30 P.M. Dinner and Program
After-party immediately following
Reservations are $375 per person


 Rudolf V. Schindler Award
 Gregory G. Ginsberg, MD, FASGE
I am forever grateful for the ASGE. As my professional society it provided the role-models and means to pursue an immensely satisfying career as a Physician, Gastrointestinal Endoscopist, educator and clinical investigator in academic medicine. The ASGE consistently provides learning and training opportunities, mentoring opportunities, clinical research funding opportunities.  I have benefitted from these, perhaps more than most. Throughout my career the ASGE was my virtual Club House, where in committee work and at post-graduate educational programs I could exchange ideas and aspirations with the best and the brightest in our field, wherein I developed lasting friendships with some of the most spectacular physicians and staff one could ever hope to meet, wherein I honed my craft as a clinician. an educator and lecturer, an investigator and a leader. I feel immensely honored to be recognized by the ASGE with the Rudolph Schindler Award and will continue to dedicate myself to do honor to its legacy.

Gregory G. Ginsberg, MD is Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine where he is a member of the Gastroenterology Division and Executive Director of Endoscopic Services at Penn Medicine and a member of its Abramson Cancer Center.  Dr. Ginsberg received his Medical Degree from the Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine and completed Internal Medicine Residency training at Georgetown University Medical Center.  He completed his Gastroenterology Fellowship at the Georgetown University/Washington DC VAMC/NIH program and formal training in Advanced Endoscopy at Georgetown University Medical Center. 

Dr. Ginsberg was recruited to Penn in 1993 where his clinical practice and research focuses on the development, evaluation, and implementation of new techniques and technologies as they apply to endoluminal diagnosis and management of digestive tract and related disorders. This work was recognized with the 1998 Sidney Cohen Teaching Award for Faculty in recognition of teaching in Gastroenterology, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine 2004 Luigi Mastroianni, Jr., Clinical Innovator Award of Excellence and the 2018 Louis Duhring Outstanding Clinical Specialist Award.  He has been Director of Endoscopic Services at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania since 1995 and is the Executive Director of Endoscopic Services for Penn Medicine.

Ongoing clinical expertise and research includes that related to Barrett's esophagus endoscopic eradication therapy, gastrointestinal neoplasia (in particular EMR), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography [ERCP], endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), and Per-Oral Endoscopic Myotomy (POEM).  A large animal developmental endoscopic research capability has supplemented patient oriented research.  Much of this work has been geared towards successfully applying minimally invasive approaches to digestive tract and related disorders as alternatives to operative interventions.

He has over 200 publications including several authoritative texts pertaining to gastrointestinal endoscopy. He is a perennial Top-Docs and Best Doctors in America selection. He has served on the American Gastroenterological Association Council while Chairman of the AGAI Imaging and Advanced Technology Section, 2006-2008.  He is recipient of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) 2008 Distinguished Educator Award, 2016 Distinguished Endoscopic Research Mentoring Award and is a Past-President of the ASGE (2011-2012). As ASGE President he oversaw a Strategic Planning Retreat that charted the society’s course for the next decade and launched the Capital Campaign that led to the development of the ASGE Headquarters and the ITT Center among other initiatives.  

C_SchmittDistinguished Service Award

Colleen M. Schmitt, MD, MHS, FASGE

The Society and the members who afford me this honor are an inspiration to me. I have great respect and admiration for the colleagues who have mentored me and who provided opportunities for me to serve in the ASGE. The committee work has been great fun, has allowed be to learn and grow as a professional, and has surrounded me with the highest caliber of physician endoscopists and staff.  I am deeply honored to receive the ASGE Distinguished Service Award.

Dr. Schmitt is a Fellow and Past President of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) where she founded the ASGE Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) program for women and minorities. She was the first female independent practice leader to become president in the 75-year history of the organization, and currently serves as Trustee and Vice President of the ASGE Foundation. Dr. Schmitt currently serves on the Board of the GI Quality Improvement Consortium. She has chaired the ASGE Health & Public Policy Committee, the Nominations Committee, and the Awards Committee, and served on the Research Committee, Annual Scientific Program Committee, the Budget & Finance Committee, and the Minority & Women’s Issues Committee. The staff of this society, her colleagues, and her office and endoscopy suite staff continuously inspire and motivate her to focus on professional quality and excellence. ASGE has enriched and defined her professional career.

Dr. Schmitt advises the Tennessee Department of Health Care Finance Technical Advisory Group for Episodes of Care, and Co-Chairs the Subcommittee, advising on numerous Episodes of Care for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She serves as a Board member for the National Accountable Care Organization and as Chief of the Gastroenterology division, the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga Unit, where she was also Director of Clinical Research.   She founded her area’s first multi-specialty clinical trials units.

Dr. Schmitt volunteers at local leadership programs and high school Biology, Anatomy, and Physiology classes and is the current President of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society. She is a founding physician for Volunteers in Medicine, and a volunteer for the Project Access, organizations that provide healthcare for the uninsured. 

Chak 2  Distinguished Educator Award

  Amitabh Chak, MD, FASGE

For me there can be no higher award than to be recognized by those who I have helped train. Personal accomplishments are not as rewarding as seeing a former mentee succeed in their career as he or she goes on to train others. Vedic philosophy has a long tradition of revering educators. The Sanskrit word for an educator is Guru, which has two syllables Gu and Ru - Gu denotes the spiritual ignorance that most of humankind is in whereas Ru represents the radiance of spiritual knowledge that dispels the spiritual ignorance. The ASGE Distinguished Educator Award gives me the stamp of “Endoscopic Guru”. 

My endoscopic research in Barrett’s Esophagus began as a junior attending at UHC/Case Western Reserve University when supported by an ASGE pilot grant I discovered that Barrett’s esophagus and cancers aggregated in certain families. I then obtained funding from the NIH to develop transnasal endoscopic screening and study this new syndrome. Furthermore, I was awarded a K24 grant, which allowed me to mentor a number of clinical investigators who have gone on to independent academic careers, at other institutions. 

My major focus in Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma has been the epidemiology and genetics of Familial Barrett’s Esophagus where we have discovered VSIG10L as the first susceptibility gene for Familial Barrett’s Esophagus. This interest has expanded to other aspects of these diseases including early detection, role of obesity specifically adipokines, and genetic biomarkers. I am currently the PI of a BETRNet Center Grant that is developing translational applications by investigating the genetics, epigenetics and transcriptomics of Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma. We have developed a molecular biomarker based method for the non-endoscopic detection of Barrett’s esophagus that is currently undergoing clinical trial. 

 Distinguished Endoscopic Research Mentoring Award 
 Christopher C. Thompson, MD, MSc, FASGE

This award is very special to me. It is always sad to see a fellow graduate and go off on their own. They become family. However, it is most gratifying to see them become independent and accomplish great things. Receiving text messages of their endoscopic victories, or hearing that they have a big presentation, are special gifts that all mentors cherish. It is an honor to have been a part of their growth as physicians and researchers, and to have provided guidance that may have helped them achieve some of their goals. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with such wonderful, creative and hardworking people year-after-year, and I have no doubt learned a great deal from them as well. I am very grateful for this award.

Dr. Christopher C. Thompson is the Director of Endoscopy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also the Advanced Endoscopy Fellowship Program Director and is clinical faculty at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Thompson’s clinical interests include endoscopic surgery as applied to foregut conditions, pancreatobiliary disease, postsurgical complications, and bariatric endoscopy. He spends the majority of his time performing these advanced endoscopic procedures and also cares for patients in the ambulatory setting and on the gastroenterology inpatient consult service.

The remainder of his time is devoted to research activities in endoscopic surgery, with a focus on device development, endoscopic education, and clinical outcomes. He currently has active clinical, translational, bench, and large animal protocols. He has also led several multicenter clinical trials. His research has resulted in numerous patents, the development of new endoscopic procedures, and over 200 publications. Some of his important clinical innovations include the development of new endoscopic techniques for treating pancreatic necrosis, gastric outlet obstruction, sleeve gastrectomy stenosis, pancreatojejunal anastomotic strictures, and postsurgical complications. Additionally, he was awarded the Brigham and Women’s Physician Organization Clinical Innovation Award in 2007 for developing and performing the first endoscopic suturing procedure to treat obesity. He also invented anastomosis technology which has been shown to effectively treat type 2 diabetes in early clinical trials. He was responsible for much of the early work in Bariatric Endoscopy, helping to pioneer the field, and edited the first textbook on the subject.

In addition to these clinical innovations, he developed an endoscopic part-task simulator that is used by many fellowship programs. He has also founded four medical device start-up companies including Beacon Endoscopic which was acquired by Covidien in 2013.  He was a founding member of the original NOTES working group and founding chair for the Association of Bariatric Endoscopy (ABE). These accomplishments have led to a broad clinical referral base, and to national and international invitations for lectureships and live case demonstrations, including the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) Blackwell Lectureship, the American Gastroenterology Association (AGA) Presidential Plenary Lecture, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) J. Edward Berk Presidential Plenary Lecture, the ACG Edgar Achkar Visiting Professorship, various post-graduate education courses for major US gastroenterology and surgical societies, and numerous respected courses throughout Europe, Asia, and South America.  He has mentored more than 20 fellows, many of whom have gone on to thrive in prestigious academic institutions, and established the first Fellowship in Bariatric Endoscopy. 

 Master Endoscopist Award

 Thomas J. Savides, MD, FASGE

I am grateful and honored to receive the 2019 ASGE Master Endoscopist Award.  I am privileged to have trained with two of the pioneers of modern GI endoscopy, Dr. Dean Jensen and Dr. Rob Hawes. They taught me the fine points of technical procedures, how to approach endoscopic research questions, and most importantly, that just because we can do endoscopic procedures doesn’t mean we should always do them. I have been fortunate to not only help patients with these endoscopic procedures, but also to play a small part in advancing research and training the next generation of GI leaders. I especially want to thank my colleagues and GI endoscopy team members at UC San Diego who provide great care for our patients.

Thomas J. Savides, MD, is a Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California San Diego.  After graduating from the UC San Diego School of Medicine, Dr. Savides completed his Internal Medicine Residency and GI Fellowship at UCLA, and EUS Training at Indiana University. He founded the UC San Diego advanced endoscopy program, serves as the GI Clinical Services Chief, and maintains a high-volume regional referral practice. Since 2014, Dr. Savides has been the Chief Experience Officer for UC San Diego Health, the region’s only academic health system. In 2018 he was named the UC San Diego Associate Chief Medical Officer for Medical Staff Affairs. His GI leadership positions have included the UC San Diego GI Fellowship Program Training Director, President of the San Diego Gastroenterology Society, and ASGE Governing Board Councilor.

Dr. Savides has authored more than 175 publications and edited two textbooks. His research interests have included EUS for GI and pulmonary malignancies, pancreatic cystic neoplasms, and endoscopic treatments of gastrointestinal bleeding. He has helped train more than 100 general and advanced UCS San Diego GI fellows.

He is a two-time recipient of the UC San Diego Health Attending Physician of the Year Award and received the UC San Diego Health Sciences Faculty Award for Excellence in Clinical Care. Dr. Savides has been named a top doctor in San Diego Magazine’s “Physicians of Exceptional Excellence" and U.S. News & World Report’s “Top Doctors" in Gastroenterology. In 2018, Dr. Savides was named one of the nation’s 30 Chief Experience Officers to know by Becker's Hospital Review.

  International Service Award

  Robert A. Enns, MD

ASGE has served as the foundation for most of my academic and clinical work during my career. The technology development, which is supported, published and emphasized through ASGE, has served as the basis for many of my activities. Virtually all of my goals and objectives have been drawn from principles clearly outlined through ASGE. Everything from the development of therapeutic endoscopy training, initiating a Provincial quality colonoscopy program and day to day practice have been drawn from ASGE Guidelines. Most of my research has been endoscopy related in keeping with advanced endoscopy quality of care.

So, this award, to me, demonstrates that I have disseminated the information broadly. The award is great, however, the recognition that I have distributed information from ASGE that is critical to patient care; thereby elevating patient and endoscopist care, is perhaps the greatest gift that ASGE could offer me. The last 10 years I have turned down various academic opportunities with the sole goal of emphasizing quality of care in my own Province. I had long felt that emphasizing many quality aspects abroad, while having marginal care in my own ‘house’ was not appropriate.  So this award from ASGE is highly appreciated as it recognizes me not only as a clinical scientist and as an ambassador for ASGE, but also somebody who emphasized the principles of ASGE in every aspect of patient care.

My mentors had always emphasized the ASGE principles and network as critical to success. My early mentors emphasized following the guidelines, becoming involved in various committees and working groups and research in the area. Early on in my career, I may not have recognized the importance of this foundation, but it is critical, particularly in the present climate, which often emphasizes finances over quality, that a group of technology and evidence driven physicians lead the charge. I am thrilled to be recognized as one who has played at least a small role in this space. I am indebted to the ASGE and their leadership for laying the foundation for endoscopists like myself to work and thrive in therapeutic endoscopy.

Dr. Robert Enns completed his medical school training at University of British Columbia (UBC) and did work in Primary Care for several years before returning to complete Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology (University of Calgary).  Therapeutic endoscopy was his interest and completion of therapeutics training was performed at Duke University Medical Center.

Coming back to Vancouver his interest in therapeutic endoscopy lead to many advances in patient care and the provision of endoscopy care in the Province. He founded the Annual GI Forum in Vancouver (now in 18th year), which emphasizes therapeutic endoscopy (live endoscopy in conjunction with St Michael’s Hospital) and the evidence behind it. The principles of the meeting are founded on ASGE guidelines, which have become the basis for multiple quality endoscopy programs in British Columbia.

Dr. Enns has been a member of ASGE for over 25 years with involvement in various capacities heading up special interest groups (capsule endoscopy), promoting ASGE activities locally as well as service with Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. He has been a reviewer for the Journal for many years and also worked as an Associate Editor over a 5-year term. He has published extensively in many areas of endoscopy, most recently emphasizing quality aspects of endoscopy; most based on ASGE recommendations. Technology advancement, supported by ASGE publications and recommendations has been a key emphasis of his career encouraging stakeholders locally, within a ‘fixed-budget’ system, to ensure that targets and standards are reached. This often leads to many interactions with administration/Ministry regarding funding issues during which ASGE published evidence and guidelines have been used successfully to advance our specialty.

His present role as Head of the Division of Gastroenterology at UBC has enabled more dissemination of quality aspects in endoscopy. The Division has invested energy in quality programs in endoscopy; particularly as it relates to a Provincial colon cancer-screening program where Provincial endoscopy unit web based continuous improvement scales are mandatory. Within this program ADR are collected individually and provincially, report cards disseminated yearly, skills enhancement programs offered and direct observation of procedural skills are performed regularly. All of these quality programs (even required information for report generation) have used and emphasized work published by ASGE.

Through all of his accomplishments, Dr. Enns has maintained a full time clinical practice developing and performing therapeutic procedures regularly. Therapeutic training programs has been initiated and developed, training International and Canadian fellows in specific aspects of ERCP/EUS and all aspects of therapeutics. He has managed to maintain an academic career emphasizing therapeutic aspects in endoscopy while still practicing clinically full-time. As a clinical scientist he has had the distinct privilege to work and recruit a group of similar thinking colleagues and base their practice on the principles of ASGE. The goal of emphasizing the academic, evidence-based endoscopist who works clinically and academically, has been a mainstay of his career. 

H_Ichikawa  Industry Service Award

  Hiroshi Ichikawa

I am truly honored to be the very first recipient of the newly established ASGE Industry Service Award. I was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. I came to the United States of America in 1968 and devoted the next 38 years of my life to Olympus America and the US endoscopy community. I am so grateful to my colleagues and friends for helping me to passionately develop innovative endoscopic technologies and services for the benefit of patients, physicians, nurses, and their related communities. I would like to share this exciting award with all of my Olympus colleagues, as none of my accomplishments would have been possible without their hard work and support.

Hiroshi Ichikawa joined Olympus Optical Company in 1964 as a microscope design engineer, after studying precision mechanical engineering at Chuo University in Tokyo. 

In 1968, Olympus transferred him to Olympus America, its newly established subsidiary in New York. Endoscopy was in its infancy. The company's mission was to promote the use of flexible gastrocameras and early fiberoptic endoscopes in the US market.  He pioneered many product development initiatives at Olympus America for the US market. During these early years he established his lifelong practice of visiting GI unit after GI unit throughout the country to exchange ideas with leading endoscopists for new products and to identify unmet clinical needs. Mr. Ichikawa worked with Olympus Tokyo to introduce numerous new endoscopic products to the US market, including a number of new colonoscopes, upper GI endoscopes, and duodenoscopes for ERCP.  Many of these products were designed specifically for the US market and differed from product counterparts sold in Japan. 

One of Mr. Ichikawa's major efforts was developing endoscopic polypectomy devices and technology at the request of New York surgeon Dr. Hiromi Shinya whose dream was to develop a less invasive surgical procedure to remove colon polyps, though many regarded the new endoscopic procedure as very risky at the time. After much testing, in 1970, Dr. Shinya and Mr. Ichikawa introduced polypectomy technology for the first time to the worldwide endoscopy community. Since then it has become standard endoscopic practice.

In 1985 Mr. Ichikawa was selected to head the endoscope division of Olympus America. In 1989 he was assigned to manage Olympus' manufacturing plant in Albuquerque, NM, as well as its repair service plant in San Jose, CA. In 1996 he returned to New York to manage Olympus’ Marketing and R&D groups in Olympus' North American corporate headquarters.

He also continued working as a member of the Olympus international team for worldwide endoscopic technical innovation and business. In this work he reported to Mr. Ichizo Kawahara, the well-known head of Olympus Tokyo's Medical Division. When Olympus America’s headquarters relocated from New York to Pennsylvania, Mr. Ichikawa continued his work in the R&D and Marketing groups.

Prior to retiring from his long career at Olympus he served as Vice President of Customer Relations, working with leading US endoscopists and the ASGE to support and advance endoscopy education and the development of new endoscopic technologies. After a 43-year career with Olympus, Mr. Ichikawa retired in 2007 and now resides in Long Island, New York, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

GS_Raju  President's Award

  Gottumukkala S. Raju, MD, FASGE

I am grateful to Dr. Steve Edmundowicz for bestowing this special honor of the 2019 ASGE President’s Award. This award is reflection of friendship and community work put in by many fun loving, dedicated and passionate endoscopists at the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. I am grateful to each and every one of them. In addition, I want to share my admiration for the ASGE staff who are truly exceptional professionals – they took care of us and set the stage for service. Let me leave with my favorite quote from Sai Baba: "Hands that serve are holier than lips that pray". ASGE offered an opportunity for me to serve.

Dr. Gottumukkala Subba Raju serves as a faculty member at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston in the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition. He holds the John Stroehlein Distinguished Professorship and leads the Charles Butt, H-E-B GI Cancer Prevention, Research, and Education Program. He serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Video GIE, an official journal of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Dr. Raju is developing a dedicated two year education program for endoscopy techs, similar to the one for surgical techs, at the Coleman College for Health Sciences in Houston.

Dr. Raju graduated from the Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnum (MBBS) with distinction. After completing his internal medicine residency at the PGIMER, Chandigarh and gastroenterology fellowship in GB Pant Hospital, Delhi University, Dr. Raju served as a clinical and research registrar in Dr. K.D.Bardhan’s unit under the Royal College of Physicians of UK Overseas Doctor Training Program; during this period he completed his membership exam of the Royal College of Physicians. He came to the United States in 1993 and underwent training at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, where he graduated as the best outgoing resident. After completing his gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Dr. Raju underwent therapeutic endoscopy training at Beth-Israel Deaconess Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Dr. Raju assumed his first academic appointment at Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas City (1998) and subsequently moved to the UTMB, Galveston (2001), and joined the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston in 2009.

Dr. Raju is repeatedly listed in the Best Doctors of America and is a Fellow of the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy & American College of Gastroenterology. He started his ASGE service on the postgraduate education committee in 2002. ASGE offered him several opportunities to serve – chair of the web education committee, chair of the educational products committee, co-chair/chair of GESAP V,VI, VII, VIII, and served as the editor for GIE CME section from 2005 to 2014, co-editor of VideoGIE section in GIE, co-editor-in-chief of Video GIE along with Dr. Todd Baron. He recieved Distinguished Service Award from the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. He is rated in the top 1% nationally on Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems measures related to patient care experience by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality / US Department of Health & Human Services.

Dr. Raju is passionate about service and education. Dr. Raju's YouTube colonoscopy education channel shares colonoscopy techniques to prevent colon cancer through better detection and resection with over 700 videos and 1,000,000 views.