ASGE and the ASGE Foundation honored several outstanding gastroenterologists who have contributed to the advancement of GI endoscopy during the 12th Annual Crystal Awards Dinner on Sunday, May 22, at the U.S. Grant Hotel in San Diego.

The dinner, which featured honorary ASGE Foundation Trustee and guest emcee Kathy Ireland, also raised funds for gastrointestinal research, physician education and public outreach. Following the awards presentation, attendees celebrated ASGE’s 75th anniversary during a 1940s-themed party with live music and dancing.

The gastroenterologists awarded ASGE’s highest honors during the event were:

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M. Brian Fennerty, MD, FASGE

Schindler Award
ASGE’s top honor, the Rudolf V. Schindler Award recognizes monumental achievement in endoscopy. The 2016 Schindler Award winner is M. Brian Fennerty, MD, FASGE, professor of medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, Portland.

Dr. Fennerty has a long history of leadership in ASGE and other organizations. He’s served ASGE as councilor, secretary and most recently as president. Dr. Fennerty is a past member and current consultant of the FDA Advisory Panel on Gastrointestinal and Urological Devices. He previously served as a member of the Gastroenterology Committee for the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and as chair of the Gastroenterology SEP Committee of the ABIM.

Dr. Fennerty has served on the ASGE Research Committee and is currently principal investigator of the AGA Center for GI Innovation and Technology’s STAR Registry project. He is also past chair of the AGA’s Imaging and Advanced Technology section.

Dr. Fennerty has published more than 300 papers, book chapters and abstracts, including nine papers in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Annals of Internal Medicine. He’s also published 16 papers in Gastroenterology and 21 papers in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Dr. Fennerty currently serves as editor of JournalWatch Gastroenterology and previously served as associate editor of the American Journal of Gastroenterology, Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics and Clinical Perspectives in Gastroenterology.


Bret T. Petersen, MD, FASGE

Master Endoscopist Award
This award recognizes clinicians who spend the majority of their time in patient care and are recognized regionally or nationally for their expertise and longitudinal contributions to the practice of GI endoscopy. This year’s recipient is Bret T. Petersen, MD, FASGE, professor of medicine in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, where he’s been on staff since 1989.

Dr. Petersen practices in the Mayo Pancreas Clinic and the Advanced Endoscopy Interest Group. His professional interests include pancreatic diseases, Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography performance and outcomes, and delivery of endoscopic services.

Dr. Petersen is a past director of endoscopy at Mayo Clinic and has served on multiple clinic and foundation committees. He has received the Mayo Award for Excellence, GI Fellows Award for Outstanding Teacher and the Department of Medicine Laureate Award.

Dr. Petersen served on the ASGE Governing Board from 2012 to 2015 and has served on several committees, including the ASGE Technology Committee and the Quality Assurance in Endoscopy Committee.


Jonathan Cohen, MD, FASGE

Distinguished Service Award
The Distinguished Service Award is presented to someone who has made a long-term contribution 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 honoree is Jonathan Cohen, MD, FASGE, clinical professor of medicine at New York University Langone School of Medicine, NY. He is also a partner and practicing gastroenterologist at Concorde Medical Group, New York, NY.

Dr. Cohen is recognized as an expert on quality indicators in endoscopy, endoscopy simulators and training, and advanced imaging technologies. He has edited two textbooks: “Successful Training in Endoscopy” and “Comprehensive Atlas of High-Resolution Endoscopy and Narrowband Imaging”. He has also directed more than 50 courses worldwide.

Dr. Cohen currently serves as chair of the ASGE Training Committee and director of the World Endoscopy Organization Program for Endoscopic Teachers. He is a past president of the New York Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, where he introduced hands-on training workshops in 1998.

Dr. Cohen joined ASGE in 1996 and has since served on numerous committees and task forces. He was active in the planning and implementation of several key ASGE initiatives, including the first DDW Video Forum, the inaugural first-year fellows course, the Quality Indicators for Endoscopy papers, and the Quality in the Endoscopy Unit Course series of the ASGE Endoscopic Unit Recognition Program. Dr. Cohen has also participated in a number of ASGE committees and is past chair of the Quality Assurance in Endoscopy committee.


Robert Sedlack, MD, MHPE, FASGE

Distinguished Educator
The Distinguished Educator Award recognizes the contributions of a physician educator for involvement with trainee education, development or participation in endoscopy seminars or national postgraduate courses, published scholarly reviews or published educational materials, including videos. This year’s recipient is Robert Sedlack, MD, MHPE, FASGE, associate professor of medical education and associate professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

Dr. Sedlack has focused his career on endoscopic education. As a fellow, he was the first to publish research demonstrating that a traditional endoscopy curriculum augmented by computer simulation training can improve a fellow’s bedside skills while improving patient comfort. After receiving his master’s degree, he began collecting roughly 10,000 procedures’ worth of data using his newly developed Mayo Colonoscopy Skills Assessment Tool, the results of which redefined how the profession measures competence in colonoscopy.

Dr. Sedlack served for six years on ASGE’s Training Committee and was the ASGE liaison to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education work on the Next Accreditation System. He also served for three years as Continuing Medical Education editor for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Dr. Sedlack has said his biggest accomplishment is his work on the ASGE Skills Training Assessment Reinforcement (STAR) certificate program. As chair of the initial STAR workgroup, he and his team redefined hands-on courses at the ASGE Institute for Training and Technology, creating a training curricula that, in addition to teaching hands-on skills, also focuses heavily on the cognitive aspects of training, including assessment of both cognitive and motor skills. Dr. Sedlack remains a member of the Institute for Training and Technology committee, which oversees the STAR courses, while continuing his research in endoscopy education and assessment.


Gregory G. Ginsberg, MD

Distinguished Endoscopic Research Mentoring
The Distinguished Endoscopic Research Mentoring Award honors career achievement by an ASGE member or fellow in mentoring faculty or gastroenterology trainees in clinical- or lab-related endoscopic research. It also recognizes mentors who have devoted substantial time and effort to develop and nurture the next generation of endoscopic investigators. The 2016 honoree is Gregory G. Ginsberg, MD, professor of medicine in the gastroenterology division at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia.

A past ASGE president, Dr. Ginsberg has had a hand in training more than 100 GI fellows at Penn Medicine, where he’s worked since 1993 and currently serves as executive director of endoscopic services. His clinical practice and research focus on the development, evaluation and implementation of new techniques and technologies for endoluminal diagnosis and management of the digestive tract and related disorders.

In 2008, Dr. Ginsberg received the ASGE Distinguished Educator Award. He has more than 200 publications to his name, including several authoritative texts pertaining to gastrointestinal endoscopy.


Juergen Hochberger, MD, PhD, FASGE

International Service
This distinguished honor is presented to one or more international members who have served in a significant way to advance the mission of the society in the international community. The 2016 honorees are Juergen Hochberger, MD, PhD, FASGE, professor of medicine and chair of gastroenterology and GI endoscopy at Strasbourg University Hospitals, Strasbourg, France, and Zeyad K. Sharaiha, MD, Amman Surgical Hospital, Amman, Jordan.

Dr. Hochberger has extensive experience in the use of lasers and laser lithotripsy, natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery and complex endoscopic submucosal dissection. He gained international recognition for his advances in training and education with the development of the EASIE simulator using specially prepared pig stomachs and other organs.

Dr. Hochberger has served the ASGE as course director, co-course director and faculty for numerous ASGE hands-on courses, workshops and training programs in hemostasis, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography endoscopic mucosal resection and endoscopic submucosal dissection, and complication management, most recently for the STAR EMR program. He has served as associate editor of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy for more than five years, and has served two terms on the ASGE International Committee.


Zeyad K. Sharaiha, MD

Dr. Sharaiha returned to Jordan after training in the U.S. He formed the first advanced GI unit at the Royal Hussein Medical Center, which has become a leading gastroenterology referral center in the region. In 1988, he helped charter and was the first president of the Jordanian Society for Gastroenterology.

Dr. Sharaiha also helped establish and lead several other organizations, including the Pan-Arab GI Society and the African Middle East Society for Gastroenterology. In 1996, he helped form the Jordanian Gastroenterology Nurses Society and later helped form the Pan-Arab Society for GI nurses.

Dr. Sharaiha has remained connected to issues in the U.S., including maintaining involvement with ASGE. He is a former member of the International Committee, where he helped promote ASGE membership internationally and promoted ASGE partnerships with regional GI societies in the developing world.

In 2009, Dr. Sharaiha was awarded the Master of the WGO Award, the highest honor of the World Gastroenterology Organization.


Thomas M. Deas Jr., MD, FASGE

President’s Award
Awarded at the discretion of the ASGE president, the ASGE President’s Award honors an individual making exceptional contributions to ASGE and its mission. This year’s recipient is Thomas M. Deas Jr., MD, FASGE, vice president of physician development at North Texas Specialty Physicians, Fort Worth. He previously served as president of North Texas Specialty Physicians, an independent practice association that manages 80,000 Medicare Advantage patients.

A former ASGE president, Dr. Deas is an outspoken advocate for improving patient care through health information technology. He frequently speaks and writes about improving care quality, health information technology and achieving efficient, high-quality care.

Dr. Deas has also served ASGE as chair of the Practice Management Committee, as a board member and treasurer. He served on the Advisory Board for the GI Quality Improvement Coalition, the first gastroenterology quality registry, which was established in 2008.

Dr. Deas is a member of the Physician Advisory Board for Surgical Care Affiliates and was appointed to the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association Board and the ABIM Gastroenterology Subspecialty Board.


Senator Bill Cassidy, MD

Congressional Service Awards
Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA): Bill Cassidy, MD, is a U.S. Senator representing Louisiana. He attended Louisiana State University for his undergraduate and medical education.

For nearly three decades, Dr. Cassidy has provided care for the uninsured and underinsured in Louisiana. He co-founded the Greater Baton Rouge Community Clinic, which provides free dental and health care to the working uninsured. He also created a private-public partnership to vaccinate 36,000 Baton Rouge-area children against hepatitis B at no cost to schools or parents.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he led a group of health-care volunteers to convert an abandoned big-box retail building into an emergency health-care facility, providing basic health care to hurricane evacuees.

In the Senate, Dr. Cassidy serves on the Health Education Labor & Pensions (HELP), Energy and Natural Resources, Appropriations, Veterans Affairs and Joint Economic committees.


Representative Diane Black

Representative Diane Black (R-TN): Congresswoman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th district. After working in the health-care field for more than 40 years, Rep. Black knows firsthand about the importance of high-quality care and the obstacles faced by patients, health-care providers and employers. Her real-world experience as a nurse has uniquely positioned her to work on health-care policy in Congress.

Black serves on the House Ways and Means committee and has led efforts to fundamentally reform the U.S. tax code. She is also a member of the House Budget committee and co-author of the 2014 Path to Prosperity budget, which aims to reduce the federal budget within 10 years, reduce federal spending by $4.6 trillion, save Medicare for future generations and promote private sector economic growth.