Crystal Awards

Totally '80s Celebration
Sunday, June 3, 2018
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
Washington, D.C.


Rudolf V. Schindler Award
Grace H. Elta, MD, FASGE

Rudolf Schindler was the father of gastroscopy and of the “club” that eventually became the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. I am awed by the list of prior Schindler awardees and am deeply honored to be included. 

Grace H. Elta was born in Flint, Michigan in 1951. She attended the U. of Michigan for both her bachelor of science and medical degrees where she was awarded Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha honor societies. Her Internal Medicine residency and GI fellowship were at Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston. In 1982, she returned to Ann Arbor for a faculty position and was promoted to Professor of Medicine in 1997. In 2015 she was named the H. Marvin Pollard Collegiate Chair of Gastroenterology.  She has had many administrative duties in Ann Arbor; since 1986 she was the physician lead of the GI outpatient clinics and from 2002-2017 was the Associate Chief for Clinical Programs in Gastroenterology and the Physician Lead for the Medical Procedures Unit.

In the 1990s Grace served on the American Gastroenterology Association’s (AGA) governing board during her term as Chair of the AGA’s Patient Care Committee and in 2005 completed a six-year term on the Subspecialty Board in Gastroenterology for the American Board of Internal Medicine. However, Grace has been primarily involved in the ASGE serving on several committees, as councilor on the governing board, as ASGE secretary and annual meeting program chair, culminating as Society president from 2007 to 2008. Currently she serves as Chair of the Digestive Disease Week council, the four society group that puts on the largest annual GI professional conference in the world.

Since 2001, she has been on the annual list of “Best Doctors in America” and she is the recipient of many grants and awards. She has received two University of Michigan outstanding clinician awards. In 2013 she received both the AGA’s Distinguished Clinician Award and the ASGE Distinguished Educator Award.  Dr. Elta is a frequent speaker at national and international meetings, and has authored over 100 original peer-reviewed manuscripts as well as numerous abstracts and book chapters.  Interventional endoscopy has been her GI subspecialty.

Grace has been married to Michael Elta for 45 years, has three children, and three grandchildren. She is currently in “phased retirement” which gives her additional time off for three years prior to retirement. She primarily spends this “off time” at her lake home in northern Michigan with her husband and two Corgis. Grace and Michael enjoy numerous outdoors activities throughout all of the seasons. 

F_ChapmanDistinguished Service Award

Frank J. Chapman, MBA

ASGE was on the forefront in recognizing the value of engaging practice administrators when discussing the needs of the membership as they try and navigate the regulatory complexity related to the practice of medicine. That was in 2005.

The industry was faced with annual reductions of ASC facility fees to be spread over several years. There were some who felt the market for endoscopic ASCs was at an end.

The ASGE Practice Management Committee began internal discussions to identify the best practices of efficient ASC operations and how best to get that information out to the membership. We felt that efficient operations would survive, and they did. Over 10 years later the ASGE now publishes the findings of its annual ASGE Endoscopic Operations Benchmark to assist endoscopic units in identifying metrics to use as tools in measuring their operations against a cohort of other similar units.

While we continue our work to develop efficient operations, new challenges and increasing levels of regulatory complexity define the work ahead of us. The best solutions will always include multi-disciplined engagement.

It has been my extreme pleasure to be able to be involved in the continued develop of those processes involved in the efficient and safe performance of endoscopic procedures. I am extremely grateful to those physicians who allowed me to participate and who continue the engagement with other administrators and nurse leaders. Adding voices to the discussion has been beneficial to us all.

Frank J. Chapman is the Chief Operating Officer of Ohio Gastroenterology Group, Inc. a 34 physician single specialty gastroenterology private practice based in Columbus, Ohio. The organization currently has five offices and four endoscopic ambulatory surgery centers. Two new endoscopic surgery centers are under development.

Mr. Chapman is a past president of the Medical Group Management Association’s (MGMA) Gastroenterology Administrators Assembly. He is also past chair of MGMA’s Patient Safety and Quality Committee whose focus is raising the awareness of patient safety and infection control as a key component of non-clinical practice administrators. He served several years as a member of MGMA’s Government Affairs Committee.

Mr. Chapman was the first non-physician to hold a seat on the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy’s (ASGE) Practice Management Committee, a committee which he currently is vice-chair.   He represents the ASGE on the Board of Directors of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) where he is a past Chairman of the Board of Directors. He currently is the chair of the Standards and Survey Process Committee.  Mr. Chapman has been a surveyor for AAAHC since 2005 and is a trained and active Medicare surveyor specializing in endoscopic ASCs.

Mr. Chapman has a special interest in benchmarking and patient safety.  He has authored several white papers on the subject of patient safety and was second author of the Multi-Society Guideline for Safety in the Non-Sterile Environment of Endoscopy. He is on the faculty of AAAHC’s Achieving Accreditation course, developed the ASGE’s Practice Management 101 and 201 courses and has been a past director and co-director of the GI Outlook course.

  Distinguished Educator Award

  Frank G. Gress, MD, FASGE

I am truly honored to receive the 2018 ASGE Distinguished Educator Award. This award was an unexpected surprise for me. Being recognized as an educator and teacher of endoscopy is very special to me. However, I could not have succeeded without great mentors and educators who motivated and inspired me to succeed. I have also been truly blessed to have worked with dedicated colleagues who embrace teaching and education and I thank them too for their support and encouragement throughout the years. So, I am very honored to accept this award, but I share it with my mentors, fellows, advanced fellows and colleagues that I have had the privilege to work with over the last 25 years.

Teaching is something that we should all strive to participate in, whatever way we can and regardless of one’s practice setting. It is a most gratifying feeling to give back to our trainees, where not too long ago, we were all once in their shoes.

I am also grateful to the ASGE for it unwavering commitment and support of education for our trainees and members. Not to mention, my own career where I am indebted to the ASGE for their support of my advanced endoscopic training which provided me with the tools to be successful in my career.

Dr. Gress completed his medical school training at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and his residency in Internal Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY. He completed his Fellowship in Gastroenterology under the mentorship of Dr. Maurice Cerulli at the Brooklyn Hospital Center and State University of New York, Health Sciences Center, Brooklyn, NY. After completing his fellowship, Dr. Gress was awarded the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) Advanced Endoscopy Scholarship, which was established to support advanced training in therapeutic endoscopy. Dr. Gress completed this advanced therapeutic endoscopy fellowship in 1994 at Indiana University Medical Center under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Hawes and Dr. Glen Lehman. It is there that he trained in the emerging field of Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) and was an early investigator in the development of EUS as it evolved into an important diagnostic and therapeutic technique.

Dr. Gress has published over 100 articles on original research in respected peer review journals and contributed over 50 review articles and book chapters to numerous textbooks on clinical gastroenterology and gastrointestinal endoscopy. In addition, Dr. Gress has also co-authored several textbooks including "Curbside Consultations for the Pancreas" and “Endoscopic Ultrasonography” which is widely appraised as a premier text for learning EUS. He also recently co-authored "Atlas of Endoscopic Ultrasonography". The Atlas has received recognition for its case-based format with digital video presentations for those desiring to learn or expand their exposure to therapeutic EUS techniques. He has also presented invited lectures at regional, national and international meetings and conferences.

Dr. Gress has had an active research career. His research has primarily focused on EUS and interventional endoscopy and is an active investigator on many clinical studies involving the use of new devices and techniques to diagnose and treat pancreaticobiliary diseases. An important focus of his research has been on the application of EUS in the diagnosis, staging, and biopsy of pancreatic malignancies.

Dr. Gress has also been very active in the ASGE. He was chair of the ASGE Training Committee and has served on numerous committees, including Postgraduate Education, Nominations, Publications, and more recently on Member Engagement and Diversity. He is also a member of the editorial review board for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. He is currently the chair of the Trainee Engagement Task Force.

Dr. Gress most recently has served as Professor of Medicine and Clinical Chief in the Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases at Columbia University Medical Center and Chief of Interventional Endoscopy at New York-Presbyterian/CUMC, New York, NY.

P_KelseyDistinguished Endoscopic Research Mentoring Award 
Peter B. Kelsey, MD, FASGE

For many years into my career, I could hear the voice of my mentor, Bob Schapiro, the first biliary Interventionalist in the Northeast (and ASGE Master Endoscopist Award Recipient in 2010), softly coach me through the steps of pyloric intubation, papilla hunting, cannulation and so on. During those many hundreds of hours of one-on-one teaching, I was the single subject of my mentor’s attention. It is through this persistent force that we transition from novice to expert and ultimately from trainee to trainer. Our best mentors nudge us ahead, so that we can bring new skills, develop new technologies and advance our practice standards. And our former fellows will do the same for their young trainees.  I most enjoy learning from former fellows, who are now my teachers, through conferences, journal articles, and lectures as they push forward the science of our field. I am grateful to have played a role in this dynamic process.

The most significant portions of my 35 years at MGH were spent with my mentor and colleague Dr. Robert Schapiro, my unit Chief, Dr. Daniel Podolsky, and my closest associate, and then chief of endoscopy Dr. William Brugge. It was with these wonderful people that I experienced the two great joys of my career. During my association with Dr. Brugge, and our friends at the BWH we developed one of the first advanced endoscopic training programs. In this setting, I was exposed to many brilliant and talented young physicians. As a part of their mentoring process, it was a privilege to see their endoscopic, clinical and scholarly strengths flourish. 

The second gift in my career came with the opportunity to open new fields in endoscopic videography and on-line education. Along with Dr. William Brugge and Dr. Brenna Casey, I developed the DAVE project, the first online, open access, peer reviewed, video resource for gastroenterologists worldwide. This was followed by years of ASGE co-sponsored teaching and hands on courses. Through these busy years, my wife Brenna and our 6 children were the inspiring and supportive presence of my life.

  Master Endoscopist Award

  Norio Fukami, MD, FASGE

It is a tremendous honor to receive the 2018 ASGE Master Endoscopist Award and I would like to humbly accept this award with heartfelt gratitude.

Since I joined ASGE over 15 years ago, I took every opportunity to learn from exceptional members of ASGE with innovative mind, vast knowledge and mastery of endoscopic procedures. As dual trained in U.S. and in Japan, I would like to recognize the crucial role of both U.S. masters and Japanese masters who directed and guided me to the right path to achieve, elevate, and innovate endoscopic techniques for the benefit of patients, and who emphasized the importance of education to improve global health care delivery. I feel there is no greater honor to be recognized by the colleagues and masters of endoscopy of ASGE. 

Dr. Fukami is currently senior associate consultant at Mayo Clinic Arizona, and director of therapeutic endoscopy and advanced endoscopy fellowship program.

Norio graduated from Kyusyu University, Fukuoka, Japan and underwent postgraduate training in Japan and in the U.S. for 9 long years. He finished internal medicine residency at Beth Israel Medical Center, NY and GI fellowship at the University of Texas, Houston, MD Anderson Cancer center. Norio went back to Japan to take a faculty position at Showa University Northern Yokohama Hospital. In 2004, he returned to the U.S. at MD Anderson Cancer Center, TX, where he started to blend U.S. and Japanese endoscopic techniques and approaches to benefit patients in the U.S. bringing back innovative techniques from Japan.  Later in 2006, he took a position at the University of Colorado under the mentorship of Dr. Yang Chen. This multi-national and -institutional experience was critically important for him, meeting and influenced by many colleagues, friends, and masters to develop academic and clinical practice in the U.S. After 9 years in Colorado, he took his current position to work with exceptional colleagues lead by Dr. Douglas Faigel (former ASGE President).

Dr. Fukami's enthusiasm for EUS and ERCP was inspired by his mentors; Dr. Hiroshi Fujishima in Japan for EUS and by Dr. Isaac Raijman for ERCP during his GI fellowship. After GI fellowship, he had the privilege to work with internationally renowned physicians; Dr. Shin-ei Kudo and Dr. Haruhiro Inoue for years. Their innovative work and tireless research with their colleagues became his aspiration for innovation and research.

Norio has been involved in the ASGE and served on the International membership committee, Assessment and Certification Task Force, Standards of Practice Committee, and IT&T Committee. ASGE’s mission and commitment for education was a great attraction for his ambition to support education in endoscopy and he has taught many ASGE courses and is privileged to continue serving as an educator.

As academic interventional gastroenterologist, Dr. Fukami has authored many peer-reviewed manuscripts and invited articles, as well as abstracts and book chapters. As recognition for his excellent patient care and tireless work at the University of Colorado, he was given a great honor at the State Capital of Colorado and received recognition for excellence in cancer care with advanced endoscopic treatment.

A_KInternational Service Award

Ajay Kumar, MD

With utmost humility, I accept this honorary International Service Award given to me by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.  Receiving a phone call personally from Karen Woods, the President of ASGE to inform me of the Committee’s decision was a wonderful surprise and is a rewarding gift to my career in GI Endoscopy spanning over 30 years. 

As an ASGE member, I was always impressed by the way the Society was organized to provide leadership and guidance in the field of GI endoscopy and has done an impressive job in spreading education and establishing quality in endoscopy throughout the world.  I have similar personal goals and have strived to promote high quality education and quality in endoscopy both in India and other developing countries over the last two decades.

As the past Secretary and President of the Society of Gastrointestinal Endsocopy of India, I was able to collaborate with ASGE and other international organizations to promote these activities.  My colleagues from the Endoscopy community throughout the world have helped me shape and achieve my career goals.  I feel this is recognition of not just my individual efforts but that of the entire Endoscopy fraternity in India.

I am thankful to my nominees and the ASGE committee for considering me worthy of such an honor and recognition. I feel honored to join the list of some of the most eminent contributors in the field of GI endoscopy across the world.

I had the honor of being recognized by other societies and the Government of India for my contributions in medical education and service, this particular Award by the ASGE is closer to my heart, as there is no greater honor than to be recognized by your own peers.

With such recognition comes great responsibility, the responsibility to not let your quest for excellence wane and confidence placed in you not be belied.  With my new responsibility as the President Elect of Indian Society of Gastroenterology, it should incentivize to carry forward the friendship and relationship between the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the Indian GI community.

Awards and recognitions also do not come without the cooperation and sacrifice of family.  I would like to extend my sincere thanks to my loving wife Anjali and my children.

Dr. Ajay Kumar is currently Chairman, Fortis Escorts Liver and Digestive Diseases Institute, New Delhi, India. He had his undergraduate medical training from GGS Medical college, Faridkot (Punjab), Internal medicine training from PGIMER, Chandigarh and Fellowship in Gastroenterology from GB Pant Hospital, New Delhi. He is in clinical practice for more than 30 years in Delhi. After establishing advanced endoscopy services at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, he moved on to the present position to set up the comprehensive state of the art Liver and Digestive disease Institute.

While being primarily a clinician, his major interest has been in therapeutic GI Endoscopy. While carrying out these procedures and adding and expanding advanced therapeutic procedures, he has continued interest in education by way of training post doctoral students, delivering guest lectures in India and abroad. He has conducted multiple GI Endoscopy live workshops and has been an invitee for such live courses all over the world. 

In addition, he has contributed significantly in research in areas of corrosive esophageal strictures, nomenclature of gastric varices and in endoscopic management of post liver transplant biliary strictures. For his work, he has received many awards like J Mitra Olympus award for the endoscopist of the year by Indian Society of Gastroenterology. Sisco - Pentax oration of Society of GI Endoscopy.

Dr. Ajay Kumar in addition to clinician, endoscopist, teacher, has distinguished himself as a leader in the medical field. He has been the Secretary and President of the Society of GI Endoscopy of India by virtue of which, has worked to promote the association of ASGE with SGEI. This promoted the culture of co-hosting and sponsoring numerous endoscopy related educational activities. Ajay is also an active member of the Committee on Practices/Publications and Member Hygiene in Digestive Endoscopy of World Endoscopy Organization. He has been on the International editorial board of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. He has also been part of National working committee on IBS, GERD and UGI Bleed.

He was the founder vice president of Crohn’s Colitis Foundation of India. He was also advisor to the Health Minister of NCR Delhi and founder executive member of Delhi Medical council and later on member of the expert group set up by Govt of India to work on restructuring of Medical council of India. Currently he is President elect of Indian society of Gastroenterology.

He has been honoured with the National award (BC Roy) by the President of India for his distinguished work.

K_Wang  President's Award

  Kenneth K. Wang, MD, FASGE

I truly appreciate this award since I likely do not deserve it. This makes it even better. Honestly, my association with the ASGE has given much more than I have given to the organization. The people in the society have represented the best of the profession and I am blessed to have known them. Karen Woods should have this award for all of the work she has done.

Kenneth Wang was born in Taipei, Taiwan and immigrated at an early age to the United States. He completed his education in Michigan, receiving a BS from the University of Michigan and MD from Wayne State University. He received his postgraduate training at the Mayo Clinic where he went on staff and is currently director of advanced endoscopy and the Van Cleve Professorship in Gastroenterology Research. His interests have been in Barrett’s esophagus, biomedical photonics, and endoscopy. He is past president of the ASGE where he made many friends and learned a great deal from the best endoscopists in the world.