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  February 18, 2021

Meet the 2021 Women’s Leadership Conference faculty

We're bringing you an all-star lineup. Learn more about this year's faculty and register before next week's deadline.
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AGA is bringing together distinguished women in GI and renowned experts for the 2021 Women’s Leadership Conference to equip and inspire you on your leadership journey and maximize your impact in the field along the way. Join us for a unique development experience focused on your growth.

Learn more about the faculty by clicking the photos below, and make sure to register before the Feb. 26 deadline to reserve your spot:

  • Barbara Jung, MD
    h2

    Barbara Jung, MD

  • Deanna Nguyen, MD
    h2

    Deanna Nguyen, MD

    Theravance Biopharma
  • Ellen Zimmermann, MD, AGAF
    h2

    Ellen Zimmermann, MD, AGAF

  • Fola May, MD, PhD, Mphil
    h2

    Fola May, MD, PhD, Mphil

  • Gail Hecht, MD, MS, AGAF
    h2

    Gail Hecht, MD, MS, AGAF

  • Jennifer Hunt, MD, Med
    h2

    Jennifer Hunt, MD, Med

  • Jenny Sauk, MD, AGAF
    h2

    Jenny Sauk, MD, AGAF

  • John Hart
    h2

    John Hart

  • Juanita Merchant, MD, PhD
    h2

    Juanita Merchant, MD, PhD

  • Marcia Cruz-Correa, MD, PhD, AGAF
    h2

    Marcia Cruz-Correa, MD, PhD, AGAF

  • Maria T. Abreu, MD
    h2

    Maria T. Abreu, MD

  • Marie-Pier Tetreault, PhD
    h2

    Marie-Pier Tetreault, PhD

  • Milena Gould Suarez, MD
    h2

    Milena Gould Suarez, MD

  • Monina Pascua, MD, PharmD, MSCE
    h2

    Monina Pascua, MD, PharmD, MSCE

  • Priti Golechha, MD
    h2

    Priti Golechha, MD

  • Renee Williams, MD, MHPE
    h2

    Renee Williams, MD, MHPE

  • Richa Shukla, MD
    h2

    Richa Shukla, MD

    Baylor College of Medicine
  • Robynne K. Chutkan, MD, FASGE
    h2

    Robynne K. Chutkan, MD, FASGE

  • Sharmila Anandasabapathy, MD, AGAF
    h2

    Sharmila Anandasabapathy, MD, AGAF

  • Sharon Reis
    h2

    Sharon Reis

  • Sonia Kupfer, MD, AGAF
    h2

    Sonia Kupfer, MD, AGAF

  • Suzi Rose, MD, MSEd, AGAF
    h2

    Suzi Rose, MD, MSEd, AGAF

Barbara Jung, MD

Dr. Barbara Jung became the sixth chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington on September 1, 2019.

She received her medical degree with thesis in 1996 from the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in San Diego, she completed a residency in internal medicine and fellowship in gastroenterology at UC San Diego.

She accepted a faculty position at UC San Diego in 2004 and became assistant program director for the Gastroenterology Fellowship Program in 2006. She was recruited to Northwestern in 2009 and to the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013 as the Thomas J. Layden Endowed Professor in Digestive and Liver Diseases and Division Chief of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Dr. Jung’s research interests are in colorectal cancer, tumor genetics, and activin signaling and tumor progression and she studies colon cancer progression and metastasis. Her research in acute pancreatitis focuses on the relationship between activin signaling and inflammation. Her clinical focus is on the diagnosis and management of patients with Lynch and polyposis syndromes and she has led a multidisciplinary, personalized high-risk GI clinic with an associated clinical and tissue registry. 

She has a strong track record of teaching and mentoring students, residents, and fellows.

Theravance Biopharma

Deanna Nguyen, MD

Senior Medical Director, Clinical Development

Ellen Zimmermann, MD, AGAF

Ellen Zimmermann, MD, AGAF, is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Vice-Chair for Academic Affairs in the Department of Medicine (DOM) at the University of Florida.

Her clinical specialty is in the care of patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, with particular interest in caring for college students with IBD. Dr. Zimmermann trained in medicine at the University of Wisconsin and in gastroenterology at the University of Michigan. After completing a research fellowship at the University of North Carolina she returned to the University of Michigan where she joined the GI division and established her independent NIH-funded lab studying mechanisms of inflammation and fibrosis in IBD. While at Michigan, she directed the UM Crohn’s and Colitis Program that grew to a nationally recognized Center of Excellence in IBD research and innovative clinical care.

Dr. Zimmermann joined the University of Florida in 2013. In her UF laboratory, she works with a talented group of investigators studying Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Her primary research interests include studying mechanisms of fibrosis and factors that contribute to intestinal stricture formation in patients with Crohn’s disease. She is studying better non-invasive methods to detect the diseases and monitor disease progression. In her role as the Vice-Chair for Academic Affairs, she helps enhance faculty development in the DOM and beyond by helping set departmental goals, facilitating the promotion & tenure process, and mentoring junior faculty. She is particularly interested in faculty retention and facilitating individualized mentoring and career development programs.  Dr. Zimmermann is a 2018 graduate of Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for academic women faculty.

Fola May, MD, PhD, Mphil

Dr. Fola May is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Director of the May Health Services Research Lab at UCLA, and Director of Quality Improvement in Gastroenterology at UCLA Health. 

She is a graduate of Yale University (BA, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology), the University of Cambridge (MS, Epidemiology), and Harvard Medical School (MD). She trained in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and in gastroenterology at UCLA where she also obtained a PhD in Health Policy and Management. In the May Laboratory at UCLA, the team engages in work to improve population health strategies, increase access to preventive services, and eliminate health disparities. She is passionate about improving awareness about preventive health and health equity and is involved in advocacy at the state and national level to develop and encourage policy to improve health care delivery and access to care.

Gail Hecht, MD, MS, AGAF

Dr. Hecht is Professor of Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology and Chief, Gastroenterology and Nutrition at Loyola University Chicago.

She earned her MD from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, completed Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and her Fellowship in Gastroenterology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Her initial faculty appointment was at the University of Illinois Chicago where she rose through the ranks to Professor and was appointed Chief of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition. She relocated to Loyola in her current position in January 2013. She serves as Editor-in-Chief of a new journal Gut Microbes published by Landes Bioscience. Dr. Hecht has been very active in the American Gastroenterological Association functioning as Chair of the Intestinal Disorders Section of the AGA Council, as Basic Research Councilor to the Governing Board and ultimately serving as President from 2009-2010, only the second woman to serve in that capacity.

Jennifer Hunt, MD, Med

Dr. Hunt is a physician executive and keynote speaker who has served in many leadership roles, including her current role as Chair of Pathology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and as the first female Chief of Staff at the University of Arkansas.

Dr. Hunt has been an elected board member and officer for multiple different national pathology organizations. Dr. Hunt’s passion is working to increase the number of women in leadership roles in healthcare and she is well known as a mentor, sponsor and promoter of women physicians. She is a certified executive leadership coach and works with physician leaders and future leaders across the country. Dr. Hunt created and facilitates a popular impactful leadership development program, “Unlocking the Authentic Self”, which helps women to build confidence, abandon self-doubt, overcome impostor tendencies, and live more powerful and intentional professional lives. In all of her roles, from Chair, to physician leader, to executive coach, Dr. Hunt finds great joy in teaching people practical tools, skills, and strategies for personal empowerment and growth.

Jenny Sauk, MD, AGAF

John Hart

A recognized expert on leadership, John is the founder of Impact Center. He helps leaders and institutions develop capacity for improved performance. As a seasoned coach, facilitator and program designer, he has worked with senior-level executives and executive teams at the highest levels of public organizations.

Known for establishing trusted advisory relationships, John applies his diverse experience and senior consulting expertise to achieve breakthrough, long-term results. Clients consistently credit John with providing keen insights into their individual motivation and group and organizational dynamics, as well as enhancing the depth and breadth of their thinking and decision-making.

John was the Project Manager for the Presidential Appointee Leadership Program. The program featured a White House-Cabinet Retreat for the President, Vice President, all 22 Cabinet-rank officials, and senior White House staff. Additionally, John has facilitated chief executive level strategic programs for the President’s Management Council, the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the First Lady.

He is a graduate of the Catholic University of America and Fordham University School of Law and the father of two daughters.

Juanita Merchant, MD, PhD

Dr. Juanita Merchant, joined the faculty at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson in July 2018 as a professor of medicine in the UA Department of Medicine and chief of the UA Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Dr. Merchant earned her MD and PhD at Yale University School of Medicine (MSTP), has written or co-written more than 120 peer-reviewed research publications, and is editor or co-editor of four books and several book chapters. In 2016, she was appointed to the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Additionally, she was recently elected to the National Academy of Medicine Council. Dr. Merchant is a co-PI on the NIH-AGA FORWARD program which was developed to increase the number of academic gastroenterologists from under-represented groups.  Dr. Merchant served as MSTP Associate Director at the University of Michigan and is also a member of the national advisory committee for the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program.  She has remained continuously funded by NIH for her work on gastrin and neuroendocrine tumors;  hedgehog signaling and gastric cancer; and transcriptional control mechanisms in colon cancer.

Marcia Cruz-Correa, MD, PhD, AGAF

She is Professor of Medicine at the UPR, Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD) and Adjunct Professor of Surgical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX).

Dr. Cruz-Correa is the Executive Director of the UPR Comprehensive Cancer Center and leads the Gastrointestinal Oncology Research Program. She is the lead investigator of the Hispanic Alliance for Clinical & Translational Research, NIGMS funded research infrastructure and career development grant. Her multidisciplinary research program is aimed at understanding the etiology and genetics of gastrointestinal cancer. Furthermore, the program explores multiple agents to prevent, intercept or treat cancer using early phase clinical trials. She is the Chief Medical Officer of Pan-American Center for Oncology Trials, research organization for development and conducting clinical trials in oncology. Dr. Cruz-Correa is a physician-scientist with strong focus in chemoprevention, hereditary cancer and health disparities. Dr. Cruz-Correa has been continuously funded by the NIH for over 18 years and leads several institutional networks and was the inaugural Dean for Research at the UPR Medical Sciences Campus.

She is actively involved in several national professional organizations including the American Association for Cancer Research (governing board member), as is past Chair of the AACR Minorities in Cancer Research Council and Women in Cancer Research. She is governing board member of the PR Colorectal Cancer Coalition, and past board member of the NCI National Cancer Advisory Board and the American Gastroenterology Association. She is also editor of several prestigious medical journals including Gastroenterology and AACR Cancer Prevention Research. Dr. Cruz-Correa has over 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles and has mentored over 50 graduate students as thesis/research advisor.

Maria T. Abreu, MD

Dr. Maria T. Abreu is a gastroenterologist who specializes in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). She is currently the Director of the Crohn’s and Colitis Center, Professor of Medicine and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

She was an Associate Professor of Medicine with Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NYC and head of the IBD Center. Dr. Abreu was honored in April 2018, with the Provost’s Award for Scholarly Activity. She was appointed in June 2018 to serve as the Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Abreu has more than 20 years of leadership experience in basic, translational and clinical research and mentoring. She is a nationally and internationally renowned physician-scientist in IBD. Dr. Abreu was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2010 and in 2018 to the Association of American Physicians (AAP); both are honor societies for physician-scientists. She holds key positions with several professional societies. She is past Council Chair of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute Council. Her most recent appointment is as the Deputy Chair of the International Organization for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IOIBD). Also, in 2019, she has been recognized as a new Councillor-at-Large member of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Governing Board for a term of three years.

In Fall of 2020, she received the Healio’s Lifetime Disruptor Award. This award goes to a gastroenterologist or hepatologist who consistently pushed the gastroenterology field forward through innovative treatments, practice management, patient care or research. Dr. Abreu is also a recipient of the 2019 Sherman Prize by The Bruce and Cynthia Sherman Charitable Foundation that recognizes outstanding achievements in IBD.

Dr. Abreu is frequently invited as a speaker (in English and Spanish) at CME-accredited seminars and symposia on basic science and clinical topics all over the world. As an educator, Dr. Abreu is regularly asked to speak at national and international symposia. She has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, books, chapters and reviews. Additionally, she has served as an editorial board member for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and Gastroenterology & Hepatology News; former editor for the Journal of Immunology; former Associate Editor of Journal of Crohn’s & Colitis and ongoing as a reviewer for several other prestigious journals.

Marie-Pier Tetreault, PhD

Dr. Tétreault joined Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine as Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology in 2015.

Dr. Tetreault’s research program aims to better understand the crosstalk between epithelial cells and their surrounding microenvironment in the context of esophageal diseases. In 2013, she contributed to a Commentary published in Gastroenterology about the opportunities and challenges that women are facing in Medicine and in Science. Dr. Tétreault has a long-lasting interest in serving the AGA. She served on the AGA women’s committee from 2016 to 2019 and she co-organized three AGA women’s committee-sponsored sessions at DDW. She has been a member of the AGA research award panel since June 2019.

She received her PhD from the University of Sherbrooke in Canada in 2007. Following the completion of her Ph.D. degree, she pursued a postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania.

Milena Gould Suarez, MD

Monina Pascua, MD, PharmD, MSCE

Dr. Pascua is currently Medical Director of Endoscopy and Chair of Quality Assurance at the Oregon Clinic – Gastroenterology South which is part of a large multi-specialty private practice that includes 50 Gastroenterologists in the Greater Portland area. 

She is serving as Chair of the AGA Women’s Leadership Council after having spent two years on the AGA Women’s Committee.   Her passion for promoting gender equity in medical leadership led her to co-author a publication in Gastroenterology titled “Promoting Leadership by Women in Gastroenterology – Lessons learned and Future Directions.”   Dr. Pascua received her Doctor of Pharmacy Degree (PharmD) from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, her master’s in clinical epidemiology (MSCE) from the University of Pennsylvania, and her medical degree (MD) from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA.

Priti Golechha, MD

Priti Golechha is a first-generation immigrant, a physician executive, a national award winner, a mom of two girls, and a lifelong learner. As her day job, she serves as Associate Chief Medical Officer for a nonprofit community organization, Golden Valley Health Center in Central California.

After medical school in India, she did her pediatrics residency at Mount Sinai Medical School and Elmhurst Hospital in New York. She identifies herself as a strong gender equality advocate. She is the founder of the “Physician Women in Leadership” Organization and in her spare time, she blogs about her experience as a BIPOC Healthcare Executive. She mentors and coaches early and mid-career women physicians to help them climb the leadership ladder and empower them with authentic leadership skills.

Renee Williams, MD, MHPE

Dr. Renee Williams is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine where she serves as the Program Director for the gastroenterology training program.

 Within the Department of Medicine she is the Director of the DIMOND (Department of Internal Medicine’s Organization for Nurturing Diversity) program.  Along with her interest in gastroenterology, she has a significant focus in medical education.  She completed her Master’s in Health Profession Education at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Maastricht University in the Netherlands.  She currently serves on the NYC Citywide Colorectal Cancer Coalition (C5) screening guidelines committee and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the American College of Gastroenterology. 

Baylor College of Medicine

Richa Shukla, MD

Robynne K. Chutkan, MD, FASGE

Dr. Robynne Chutkan is an integrative gastroenterologist and the bestselling author of Gutbliss, The Microbiome Solution, and The Bloat Cure. Educated at Yale and Columbia, she’s been on the faculty at Georgetown Hospital since 1997 and is the founder of the Digestive Center for Wellness.

She’s been a featured expert on Dr. Oz, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, The Doctors, and The Megyn Kelly Show and published dozens of scientific articles on gut health. She’s a former ASGE Governing Board member and Chair of the Training and PR Committees. Her educational platform, Gutbliss.com provides evidence-based digestive wellness advice. An avid runner, squash player and yogi, she is passionate about introducing more dirt, sweat and vegetables into people’s lives.

Sharmila Anandasabapathy, MD, AGAF

Sharmila Anandasabapathy, M.D. is a Professor of Medicine in Gastroenterology, and Vice President at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.

In her current role, she oversees Baylor’s global programs and affiliations, as well as The Baylor Global Innovation Center which seeks to develop innovative approaches to global health challenges. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering at Rice University in Houston. She holds a B.A. in English literature from Yale University and an M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Dr. Anandasabapathy trained at New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center (Internal Medicine) and Mount Sinai (Gastroenterology). Prior to her position at Baylor, she was Chief of Endoscopy at Mount Sinai. Dr. Anandasabapathy’s research focus involves the development and validation of novel technologies for the diagnosis and management of gastrointestinal cancer. She currently holds two RO1s (National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health) and has lead multiple international clinical trials focused on the endoscopic diagnosis of esophageal, and gastric cancer. These trials have been conducted in the United States, Africa, China, Honduras, and Brazil. In addition, she and her group are involved in several projects which seek to develop innovative technological approaches to addressing cancer and other chronic diseases in low-resource areas worldwide. These involve the development of remote medical technologies such as augmented (and virtual) reality-based platforms for surgical or endoscopic training, cell phone apps, and portable, battery-operated technologies for medical management in low-resource environments.

A recent innovation, Emergency Smart Pod (bcm.edu/smart-pod) a mobile, lower-cost shipping-container unit for the management of Ebola and other emergencies, was awarded funding by USAID and The Paul G. Allen Funding and presented at both the World Health Organization and The White House Office of Science and Technology. In addition to being recognized as a Castle Connolly Top Doctor and Super Doctor, she was a featured USAID female innovator and a 2017 Texas Executive Women ‘Woman on the Move’ award recipient.

Sharon Reis

Sharon is a 25-year veteran of the public relations industry who has long been dedicated to representing top-tier clients in health and healthcare. She has special expertise in thought leadership and regularly works with the c-suite of leading health systems, medical societies, and foundations to raise their profile and position them as leaders with both internal and external audiences.

Sharon helps senior-level executives carve out issue platforms, provides communications training and guides them on how to achieve their goals. She understands the limited time health care professionals have to focus on this issue, the pressure Boards put on them to raise their profile, and the need to demonstrate a return on every activity undertaken.

Named one of the top women in public relations by Washington Women in Public Relations, Sharon holds a B.A. in communications from the University of Massachusetts and an M.A. in communications with a concentration in marketing from the University of Hartford.

Sonia Kupfer, MD, AGAF

Sonia Kupfer is an adult gastroenterologist with clinical and research interests in inherited gastrointestinal cancers and colorectal cancer disparities. She serves as Director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Risk and Prevention clinic at the University of Chicago.

She graduated from Yale University and completed her medical training including Chief Residency and Gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Chicago. Dr. Kupfer holds grants from the National Institute of Health to study colorectal cancer disparities. Sonia has served as co-Director of several national clinical genetics conferences and is a core faculty member in the City of Hope cancer genetics educational program. Dr. Kupfer is Past-President of the Collaborative Group of the Americas on Inherited Gastrointestinal Cancer. In 2017, Dr. Kupfer was awarded the Division of Biological Sciences Diversity and Inclusion Junior award and the Joseph B. Kirsner Mentorship Award. In 2019, Dr. Kupfer was awarded the AGA Young Investigator Award. She is a member of the AGA Publications committee, AGA Congressional Advocates and the PAC Board and serves on the editorial board of GI and Hepatology News.

Suzi Rose, MD, MSEd, AGAF

Dr. Rose currently serves as Senior Vice Dean for Medical Education at the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM). She has served many leadership roles in the AGA including as Education Councillor on the Governing Board. She convened all six GI societies to create end of training entrustable professional activities, co-created the first subspecialty Academy for educators in this country, served as one of the directors of the AGA Future Leaders Program and was appointed Course Director for the Postgraduate Course in 2017. She was awarded the AGA Distinguished Educator Award in 2016 and the inaugural NEGEA Distinguished Service and Leadership Award in 2015 from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Dr. Rose received her bachelor’s degree in Russian language and literature, followed by a master’s degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated from Case Western University School of Medicine as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society and completed her internship and residency there. Her GI fellowship, including the chief fellow year, was done at The Cleveland Clinic, OH. Dr. Rose has been married to Rabbi Kenneth Stern coming up on 40 years and is a mother, mother-in-law and is a grandmother to a most adorable little girl who will soon be a big sister.

Check out the agenda, benefits of attending, eligibility and more on AGA University.

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