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ASGE Crystal Awards ceremony recognizes outstanding contributions to the profession and the society

ASGE and the ASGE Foundation honored several outstanding gastroenterologists who have contributed to the advancement of GI endoscopy during the 13th Annual Crystal Awards Dinner on Sunday, May 7, at the posh Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago.

Held in conjunction with DDW®, the Crystal Awards gala recognized award winners for their notable achievements and significant contributions to the profession and the society. Proceeds from the Crystal Awards support the ASGE Foundation. To make a tax-deductible contribution to the ASGE Foundation, visit www.asge.org or call 630-573-0600 or 800-343-ASGE (2743).

The gastroenterologists awarded ASGE’s highest honors during the event are highlighted below.


Rudolf V. Schindler Award

ASGE’s highest honor, the Rudolf V. Schindler Award, is given to a member whose accomplishments in endoscopic research, teaching and/or service to ASGE exemplifies the standards and traditions of Rudolf V. Schindler, MD, founder of the American Gastroscopic Club, the forerunner of ASGE. This year’s awardee is Robert A. Ganz, MD, FASGE, of Minnesota Gastroenterology.

Dr. Ganz has had an active research career with more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and more than 150 abstracts published. His main research focus is the treatment for diseases of the esophagus and stomach, particularly novel device therapy for H. pylori, acid reflux and Barrett’s esophagus. He is an avid inventor with more than 20 patents in the field of medicine.

Among the many highlights and accomplishments of his career, Dr. Ganz is the inventor of balloon-based radiofrequency therapy for Barrett’s esophagus and he performed the first balloon-based ablation of Barrett’s esophagus. He co-wrote the original method patent for using radiofrequency energy to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, was the first to identify that H. pylori can be treated with phototherapy, helped develop the magnetic sphincter implant (LINX) for gastroesophageal reflux and led the first implant in a patient in the world. His other inventions include the CLO-temp incubator, a rotatable biopsy forceps and a laterally deflecting ERCP cannula.

Dr. Ganz has also been very active in ASGE. He was chair of the ASGE Health and Public Policy Committee, served on the Governing Board of the society, was a trustee on the ASGE Foundation Board of Trustees and later chair of the ASGE Foundation Board of Trustees. He is very interested in practice economics and lectures widely on political and economic issues pertaining to the field of GI.

ASGE President Kenneth R. McQuaid, MD, FASGE, presented the Rudolf V. Schindler Award to Robert A. Ganz, MD, FASGE (right)
ASGE President Kenneth R. McQuaid, MD, FASGE, presented the Rudolf V. Schindler Award to Robert A. Ganz, MD, FASGE (right)


Distinguished Service Award

Irving M. Pike, MD, FASGE, AGAF
Irving M. Pike, MD, FASGE, AGAF

This award is presented to an individual who has made long-term contributions to GI endoscopy in the areas of equipment research and development, and who has been a strong supporter of the educational and research mission of ASGE. This year’s awardee is Irving M. Pike, MD, FASGE, AGAF, of John Muir Health, Walnut Creek, CA.

Dr. Pike has been an active member of ASGE and the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) for many years and is a fellow of both societies. He has served as a member of the Practice Management Committee of ASGE and as a member of the ASGE Quality Task Force, which became the ASGE Quality Committee. He also served ASGE as the chair of the ASC Special Interest Group.

In 2005, Dr. Pike co-chaired the ASGE/ACG Joint Task Force for GI Endoscopic Quality Indicators. Upon conclusion of the task force’s work and the publication of five seminal articles on quality in endoscopy, Dr. Pike developed a grassroots effort, the Benchmarking Advisory Committee. This group developed a nationwide pilot that eventually led to the development of the GI Quality Improvement Consortium, LTD (GIQuIC), which is now a Qualified Clinical Data Registry. Dr. Pike served as a director, president and chair of the board of directors of GIQuIC and, in 2015, he co-chaired the joint task force with Jonathan Cohen, MD, FASGE, AGAF, to revise the endoscopic quality indicator documents.

Dr. Pike is currently president-elect of ACG. He is the senior vice president and chief medical officer of John Muir Health and president of the John Muir Specialty Medical Group.


Distinguished Educator Award

Brenda J. Hoffman, MD, FASGE
Brenda J. Hoffman, MD, FASGE

This award recognizes contributions to the education of fellows through endoscopy seminars, participation in national postgraduate courses and published scholarly reviews or educational materials, including videos. This year’s awardee is Brenda J. Hoffman, MD, FASGE, of the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston.

Dr. Hoffman’s clinical interests include endoscopic ultrasound, endoscopic submucosal dissection, endoscopic mucosal resection, ablative therapy for Barrett’s esophagus and capsule endoscopy. Her clinical research interests include endoscopic intervention and prevention and control. Dr. Hoffman’s career has been devoted to the application of therapeutic endoscopy in the early detection and management of precancerous lesions of the pancreas and GI tract.

Dr. Hoffman is a member of several organizations, including ASGE, ACG, Charleston Medical Society and the South Carolina Gastroenterology Association. She has received numerous honors, including a faculty excellence award; Top 20 Female Physicians-Southern Woman to Woman; Who’s Who/Physicians of the Southeast; ASGE Audiovisual Award; America’s Top Doctors; and Best Doctors.


Master Endoscopist Award

Wong Kee Song, MD, FASGE
Louis-M. Wong Kee Song, MD, FASGE

This award recognizes a physician who spends the majority of his/her time in patient care and is recognized regionally or nationally for expertise and longitudinal contributions to the practice of gastrointestinal endoscopy. This year’s awardee is Louis-M. Wong Kee Song, MD, FASGE, of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

Dr. Wong Kee Song has put his advanced training to use by becoming an aficionado in the procedural aspects of advanced endoscopy, as well as through scholarship in this arena. He’s a career endoscopist whose interests include GI bleeding, advanced resection techniques and innovative procedures. At Mayo Clinic, he served as director of the GI bleeding team and is a member of the advanced endoscopy group. He is a recipient of the Department of Medicine Laureate Award for his outstanding achievements in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology.

Dr. Wong Kee Song has been active at the GI societal level, having served or currently serving on several ASGE committees, including the technology, research and publications committees. He has directed and participated in numerous ASGE-sponsored courses and workshops, and has published more than 175 works that pertain primarily to endoscopy.


Distinguished Endoscopic Research Mentoring Award

Douglas A. Howell, MD, FASGE
Douglas A. Howell, MD, FASGE

This award recognizes outstanding career achievement by an ASGE member in the mentoring of faculty of gastroenterology trainees in clinical or lab-related endoscopic research. This distinguished honor recognizes mentors who have devoted substantial time and effort to develop and nurture the next generation of endoscopic investigators. This year’s awardee is Douglas A. Howell, MD, FASGE, of the Maine Medical Center Portland Gastroenterology Center, Portland.

Dr. Howell is a past president of the New England Endoscopy Society and a fellow of ASGE and ACG. He has been active for many years in ASGE as a committee member and editorial review board member of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the American Journal of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

In 1992, Dr. Howell established one the first advanced interventional endoscopist fellowships in the U.S. and has served as its director for 25 years. His fellows have gone on to advance the field of endoscopy, with many joining academic facilities and helping to establish their own advanced fellowships. A fundamental part of his fellowship has been characterized by a devotion to endoscopic research, including new equipment testing and development, as well as new procedure outcomes. He has been principle investigator in numerous clinical trials and multidisciplinary studies and has contributed to the evolution of endoscopes and therapeutic accessories to advance the field.

Over the past 25 years, Dr. Howell, with his colleagues and fellows, has presented more than 100 abstracts and participated in many oral presentations, state-of-the-art lectures and panel discussions at ASGE meetings. He is a past recipient of ASGE’s Master Endoscopist Award and Distinguished Educator Award.


International Service Award

Hisao Tajiri, MD
Hisao Tajiri, MD

This award was created to recognize outstanding service by an international member who has made long-term contributions to GI endoscopy, as well as an individual who has been a strong supporter of the educational and research mission of the society. This year’s awardee is Hisao Tajiri, MD, of the Jikei University School of Medicine, Minato-Ku, Japan.

Dr. Tajiri specializes in the endoscopic diagnosis and treatment of GI malignancies using image-enhanced endoscopy, magnifying endoscopy, molecular imaging, EMR, ESD and robotic-assisted endoluminal surgery. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles and written numerous book chapters.

Dr. Tajiri has served as president of the Japan Gastroenterological Endoscopy Society since 2013 and president of the Japanese Association for Capsule Endoscopy since 2016. He has also served as vice president of the Asian Pacific Society for Digestive Endoscopy and chair of the Japan Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopy Surgery working group.

Dr. Tajiri has been honored several times for his distinguished research achievements, including honors such as the Japanese Cancer Association Award in 1987, and Honorary Membership Award from ASGE in 2007, the Princess Takamatsu Cancer Research Fund Prize in 2010, the International Service Award from Sociedad InterAmericana de Endoscopia Digestiva in 2016 and a European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Honorary Membership in 2016.


President’s Award

Samuel A. Haroz II, CPA
Samuel A. Haroz II, CPA

Awarded at the discretion of the ASGE President, the President’s Award honors individuals who make exceptional contributions to the society and its mission. Whether through organized volunteer opportunities or singular initiatives supporting the goals of ASGE, honorees are recognized for this assistance by the president. This year’s awardee is Samuel A. Haroz II, CPA, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, Downers Grove, IL.

Mr. Haroz joined the ASGE staff as chief financial officer in 2002. He was one of the first 13 full-time employees of ASGE. Over the past 15 years, Mr. Haroz has contributed to the ASGE’s expansion of revenue, membership and physician and patient educational programs. Among his most rewarding achievements was securing a $20 million loan to finance construction of the ASGE Institute for Training and Technology and corporate headquarters. He is a member of the Illinois CPA Society and the American Institute of CPAs.


Congressional Service Award

Leonard Lance (R-NJ-7)
Leonard Lance (R-NJ-7)

This award recognizes legislators in the U.S. Congress who are committed to developing and championing health-care legislation that advances digestive health and gastroenterological services and care. This year’s awardee is Representative Leonard Lance (R-NJ-7).

In the 114th Congress, Rep. Lance made it a priority to support passage of the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act of 2015. A strong advocate for patient access, Rep. Lance expressed deep concern to Medicare about the impact that physician payment cuts for GI services would have on access to CRC screening, particularly screening colonoscopies.

Congressman Lance was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2008 and reelected to a fourth term in 2014, representing New Jerseys 7th Congressional District. Rep. Lance was sworn in as a member of Congress on Jan. 6, 2009, and was appointed to the House Financial Services Committee, where he worked on a wide range of issues relating to the financial services sector and the U.S. economy. In 2011, he left the House Financial Services Committee and was appointed to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Energy and Commerce Committee has broad legislative jurisdiction, including national energy and environmental policy, health and health facilities, interstate and foreign commerce, consumer affairs and consumer protection, and travel and tourism. As a member of this powerful committee, Rep. Lance plays an important role in protecting and expanding jobs in New Jersey’s energy, life sciences and telecommunication sectors.

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