Dr. Raj J. Shah graduated from a combined 6-year BS/MD program at the Northeast Ohio Medical University followed by Internal Medicine residency at the University of Pittsburgh, Gastroenterology and Hepatology fellowship at the University of Cincinnati, and an Interventional Endoscopy Fellowship at Maine Medical Center. He joined the faculty of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Colorado in 2001 and is currently Professor of Medicine and Director of Pancreas and Biliary Endoscopy. Within the ASGE, he served on several committees including Technology, EUS (Chair), ERCP (Chair), ASGE Institute for Training and Technology Center, Assessment and Certification Task Force, Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Journal Editorial Board Committee, and founded the Intraductal Endoscopy and Cholangiopancreatoscopy Special Interest Group for which he currently serves as Chair. In 2014, he received an Alumnus of the Year for Special Achievement from his high school alma mater. In 2015, he received an Outstanding Teaching and Service Award from the Gastroenterology Division.
Dr. Shah has had the privilege to deliver over 125 invited lectures at conferences and institutions throughout the United States, Central America, South America, Australia, Europe, and Asia. Dr. Shah has been a clinical and research mentor to advanced endoscopy fellows for 16 years, general gastroenterology fellows and medicine residents for 20 years and most importantly to him, he has guided dozens of residents, fellows and faculty in endoscopy, research, writing, career development, and the coordination of live courses. He has served as Co-Course Director for several ASGE conferences and the Rocky Mountain Interventional Endoscopy Course. He has received over twenty industry and philanthropic gifts for the funding of research protocols and has been author and co-author for approximately 300 original articles, reviews, editorials, book chapters, and research abstracts.
It is with great humility and a deep indebtedness to my family and academic mentors, that I accept the ASGE’s Master Endoscopist award. Career nurturing that I received by masters within the field and the unwavering support of my family made this recognition even remotely possible. In reflection on the path that I have embarked on, academic Interventional Endoscopy appeared to permit: the pursuit of excellence in endoscopic practice, contributions to the cutting edge of innovation, the performance of meaningful clinical research, and training of the next generation of endoscopists. Though I have been fortunate enough to see some of these lofty ideals materialize, what maintains my enthusiasm and desire to remain on this path is the continued relationships and rewards garnered from my patients, referring physicians, and colleagues at home and abroad. These interactions sometimes validate, but frequently challenge, beliefs and techniques; and has allowed rediscovery and creativity to blossom permitting an enhanced engagement of my purpose. I believe that identifying ones true purpose allows continued satisfaction and reward throughout a professional career.
The ASGE has provided to me immeasurable opportunities to lead, collaborate, develop lifelong friendships, and to help me realize many of the identified goals I had early in my career. The magnitude of privilege I have had being the son of immigrant parents does not escape me; they influenced my work ethic and commitment to education which are forever ingrained in my fabric. I realize that the type of opportunities I have enjoyed are not always available for many less fortunate in circumstance due to societal racial and ethnic inequalities and hope that I may contribute in some way to improve opportunities for those less represented. Finally, I have come to realize that maturity in academia is truly transitioning from inspiring individuals to do what you think is meaningful to inspiring people to be great at what they are destined to do. I’d like to express sincere gratitude to the ASGE and the awards selection committee for bestowing upon me this signature career milestone.