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Introducing your 2023 AGA recognition prize recipients

Congrats to Dr. Sheila E. Crowe on receiving our highest honor, the Julius Friedenwald Medal.
2023 AGA recognition Award recipients collage
2023 AGA recognition Award recipients collage

We are proud to announce the 2023 recipients of our annual recognition prizes, given in honor of outstanding contributions and achievements in gastroenterology and hepatology. We look forward to celebrating the recipients at Digestive Disease Week® in May 2023.

Click on each image below to learn more about our 2023 AGA recognition prize recipients. 

Julius Friedenwald Medal

AGA bequeaths its highest honor, the Julius Friedenwald Medal, to Sheila E. Crowe, MD, AGAF, for her substantial contributions to the field of gastroenterology and AGA. The Julius Friedenwald Medal, presented annually since 1941, recognizes a physician for lifelong contributions to the field of gastroenterology.

Dr. Crowe is nationally and internationally recognized for her basic and clinical research and patient care contributions related to H. pylori and celiac disease. She has been a pioneer in advancing the role of women and under-represented populations in gastroenterology and has been an instrumental leader to countless GIs through her research mentorship and as chief at both University of Virginia and University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Crowe has demonstrated over 25 years of exemplary service to the AGA. She served on AGA committees related to research, education and women and was appointed by AGA leadership to direct key educational initiatives including the development of the AGA FORWARD Program. Significantly, her commitment to the AGA culminated in her serving as AGA president in 2017.

William Beaumont Prize

AGA honors Anil K. Rustgi, MD, AGAF, with the William Beaumont Prize in Gastroenterology, which recognizes individuals who have made major contributions that have significantly advanced the care of patients with digestive diseases through clinical or translational research.

Dr. Rustgi is a renowned investigator who has innovatively impacted the study of digestive cancers including esophagus, pancreas and colon cancers and is known as a pioneer in esophageal epithelial biology. During a span of 30 years of basic, translational and clinical research, he has authored more than 300 original articles and reviews published in high impact journals. Dr. Rustgi currently serves as the director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Distinguished Service Award in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

AGA honors Bishr Omary, MD, PhD, AGAF, with this year’s Distinguished Service Award in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This award honors members who have promoted diversity, equity and inclusion within AGA and the broader gastroenterology community.

Dr. Omary has dedicated his professional career to DEI-related success efforts and has a strong track record of health equity initiatives in gastroenterology and hepatology. During his tenure as AGA president, he was a driving force in the creation of the AGA Equity Project and responsible for securing NIH supplements for the AGA FORWARD Program. Dr. Omary is the vice chancellor for academic affairs and research at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, which includes all the health-related schools at Rutgers University.

Distinguished Achievement Award in Basic Science

AGA recognizes James R. Goldenring, MD, PhD, AGAF, with the AGA Distinguished Achievement Award in Basic Science for his major accomplishments in basic science research, which have significantly contributed to the understanding of GI diseases.

Dr. Goldenring’s seminal studies of both epithelial pathophysiology and gastric precancer have made immeasurable contributions to our understanding of GI diseases. His work has utilized cell biology and physiology to define GI pathophysiology and move towards defined treatments for congenital diarrheal diseases. He also transformed our mechanistic understanding of metaplasia induction with his pioneering 1999 description of spasmolytic polypeptide-expressing metaplasia (SPEM) in mouse models and humans. Dr. Goldenring is the Paul Sanger professor of surgery and professor of cell and developmental biology at Vanderbilt and co-director of the Vanderbilt Epithelial Biology Center.

Distinguished Educator Award

The AGA Distinguished Educator Award honors an individual for achievements as an outstanding educator over a lifelong career. AGA presents the 2023 award to Prateek Sharma, MD, for his outstanding contributions related to Barrett’s esophagus endoscopic quality. As GI fellow program director at Kansas University, he spends his days teaching medical students, residents and fellows and building the next generation. Dr. Sharma’s educational prowess extends to AGA, where he has served as course director of the AGA Postgraduate Course, chaired the AGA Freston Conference and is a former chair of the AGA Institute Education and Training Committee.

Distinguished Clinician Award


AGA presents the Distinguished Clinician Award in Private Practice to Kadirawel Iswara, MD, for his outstanding contributions as a clinician and advocate for patient care. Dr. Iswara is beloved by colleagues and patients alike. He puts his patients first in every endeavor – and every question that he asks with regards to research and education is linked to the ultimate measuring stick of improving patient care. He is currently the director of advanced endoscopy at Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY.

Distinguished Clinician Award


AGA is honored to present the Distinguished Clinician Award in Academic Practice to Bo Shen, MD, AGAF. Dr. Shen is a clinician, physician-scientist, educator and author who specializes in the medical and endoscopic management of complex inflammatory bowel disease and ileal pouch disorders. He is loved by his patients locally, regionally and internationally for his extreme compassion and dedication. An innovator in his specialty, Dr. Shen has participated in numerous clinical and translational NIH-funded research projects in IBD and pouch disorders. He currently serves as vice-chair for innovation of departments of medicine and surgery, director of Interventional IBD Center, and medical director of IBD Center at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center/New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Distinguished Mentor Award

The AGA Distinguished Mentor Award recognizes an individual who has committed lifelong efforts to the mentoring of trainees in the field of gastroenterology and for achievements as an outstanding mentor. AGA bestows this year’s award to Satish S.C. Rao, MD, PhD, AGAF.

Dr. Rao is an exceptional mentor who has directly supervised 87 postdoctoral fellows, 18 undergraduate research recipients and 56 other junior faculty along with numerous visiting fellows, nurses and faculty who have won competitive national and international research awards and hold leadership roles in gastroenterology programs throughout the world. Dr. Rao is currently the J. Harold Harrison distinguished university chair in gastroenterology at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

Young Investigator Awards


AGA honors Yin Cao, ScD, MPH, with the Young Investigator Award in Clinical Science. Dr. Cao’s translational epidemiology research focuses on addressing early onset colorectal cancer (CRC). Her work has advanced our understanding of both putative and emerging risk factors for CRC, a research priority identified by AGA and National Cancer Institute. Dr. Cao is an associate professor of surgery and medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.

Young Investigator Awards


AGA honors Sumera I. Ilyas, MBBS, with the Young Investigator Award in Basic Science. Dr. Ilyas’ research addresses important questions of biliary tract malignancy and the role of the tumor immune microenvironment in this disease. Her research has furthered understanding of cancer-associated fibroblasts and how they play a major role in the progression of cholangiocarcinoma. Dr. Ilyas is an assistant professor of immunology and medicine in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology within the department of internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

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