Hope & Healing: The UF Health Blog

University of Florida Health Leads the Way in Gastroenterology and Gastrointestinal Surgery

Dear colleagues,

In the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at University of Florida Health, we run a comprehensive program that covers the vast majority of gastrointestinal diseases, with faculty that provide specific expertise and services for tertiary and quaternary level consultations. In addition to care for pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, the division specializes in advanced endoscopic procedures.

In the Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery, we specialize in both colorectal surgery and minimally invasive bariatric surgery.

We have broad-based expertise in pancreatitis that includes consultative care, a comprehensive program in pancreatic surgery for pancreatitis and a robust clinical research program that is uncovering better ways to treat pancreatitis. Patients who are referred to UF Health for second opinions on diagnoses of acute and chronic pancreatitis gain access to a team of experts who can determine the appropriateness of endoscopic therapy and additional diagnostic testing, and provide strategies for effective disease management. The strength of our program is built on a combination of multidisciplinary clinical expertise, particularly our collaborative work with pancreatic surgeons, and a solid research program.

Our leadership in pancreatic cancer care is exemplified by our Center of Excellence designation for pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer by the National Pancreas Foundation. We are one of 10 clinical centers in the Consortium for the Study of Chronic Pancreatitis, Diabetes and Pancreatic Cancer, funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Diseases. The clinical centers are collaborating to understand the links between pancreatitis, diabetes and pancreatic cancer. This research brings together specialties across the spectrum of expertise at UF Health, including gastroenterology, surgery and endocrinology, to focus on these interrelated diseases.

We are also one of 10 institutions selected to be part of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Precision Promise program. Precision Promise seeks to predict the response of groups of patients to specific drug therapies based on genomic signatures found in their pancreatic cancer cells. This program has the potential to deliver precision medicine for pancreatic cancer patients, and we are well-poised as an institution to help lead this effort because of our basic science expertise, translational scientists and data-crunching abilities.

At UF Health, we are committed to improving outcomes for patients undergoing colorectal surgery. Our colorectal surgery group performs routine and complicated surgeries to treat colorectal cancers. We provide integrated multidisciplinary colorectal cancer care – our team holds weekly conferences to ensure that medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons, pathologists and radiologists work together for the benefit of patients.

Our coordination of surgical care with radiation oncologists, involvement of colorectal cancer specialists and constant work to improve surgical techniques all make UF Health a leader in colorectal surgery care. The colorectal surgery group also plays a role in training residents in surgery and is involved in the treatment of other gastrointestinal disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease.

Our minimally invasive bariatric surgery program is an American College of Surgeons- and American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery-accredited bariatric surgery center. The group offers advanced minimally invasive surgery, which significantly reduces the stress that patients experience compared with major, open surgeries.

We collaborate across UF Health with experts in psychiatry, cardiology, pulmonology, medicine, nephrology and nutrition to offer a variety of procedures, including gastric bypass and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. The group also performs corrective and revision surgeries to address complications and conversion surgeries, such as converting a laparoscopic band to a sleeve or Roux-en-Y. These options help make UF Health a leader in ensuring that patients experience better outcomes in bariatric surgery. 

The practice of gastrointestinal medicine is often compartmentalized with gastroenterologists and gastrointestinal surgeons working independently, but here at UF Health, we foster close collaborations between the medical and surgical sides to improve patient care and outcomes.

Now that you’ve learned more about us, please consider voting for us in the U.S. News & World Report rankings for Gastroenterology. 

Sincerely,

Chris Forsmark, M.D.
Chief, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Department of Medicine
University of Florida

Thomas Read, M.D.
Chief, Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Department of Medicine
University of Florida

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