James Leavitt grew up in Boston and moved to New York in 5th grade. Two years later, much to the consternation of his family, he had abandoned his Boston Red Sox and became a Yankee fan. He guesses that heralded his future adaptability. After graduating from Dartmouth College, he headed back to New York for medical school. Jim always considered himself a Northeasterner and so decided to experience something different and did his post graduate training in Miami. After several winters there, his thoughts of moving back to the Northeast evaporated and he became the 4th person in a private GI practice in Miami. Jim was the first and for quite a while just about the only therapeutic endoscopist in private practice in Miami-Dade County and quickly grew his practice and reputation.
Through the years, Jim became interested not only in the practice of GI medicine but in the delivery of that care. It became apparent to him early on that physicians would need to consolidate. So, they began consolidating groups in the early 1990’s. They continued to expand and in 2016 Gastro Health was the first GI group to take on a private equity partner. They have since grown from 47 physicians in Miami to 325 physicians in 6 states and more importantly have added many sophisticated components to aid in the delivery of care for their patients.
Jim does not believe this would have happened without his involvement in ASGE. He had the opportunity to serve on several ASGE committees as well as being part of numerous ASGE courses both as a faculty member and as a course director. Through these endeavors, Jim was lucky enough to meet and befriend many of the people he considers the thought leaders in Gastroenterology. It was the knowledge and insight he gained through those relationships that helped him forge new concepts and approaches and opened his horizons to new and exciting possibilities.
“It is with great gratitude that I accept the 2021 ASGE President’s Award especially since I was nominated by someone I greatly admire, our current ASGE President Klaus Mergener. I cannot thank the ASGE enough. I know that I have received way more than I have given in this relationship.”