David T. Rubin to head digestive diseases at University of Chicago Medicine

May 5, 2014

May 5, 2014

David T. Rubin, MD, a nationally recognized authority on digestive disease, investigational therapies and medical ethics, has been named section chief of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at the University of Chicago Medicine, effective May 1, 2014. He has served as interim chief since November, 2013.

Rubin, a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, is co-director of the medical center's Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center. He studies novel therapies for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, colon cancer prevention, and clinical medical ethics. He is the principal investigator for multiple clinical research projects and trials of novel therapies, including the first Food and Drug Administration-authorized study of fecal microbiota transplantation for ulcerative colitis.

"David Rubin has long been a leading figure in understanding and treating digestive disorders, especially inflammatory bowel disease. He leads many of the most promising clinical investigations in this area and lectures on this work at international meetings," said Kenneth Polonsky, MD, executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Chicago and dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine. "He received much of his training at the University of Chicago under the guidance of Joseph Kirsner, MD, PhD, patriarch of the field. It is noteworthy that Dr. Kirsner, a physician's physician, chose David as his doctor."

Rubin earned his medical degree with honors from the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine. He completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowships in gastroenterology and clinical medical ethics at UChicago Medicine.

He is a senior faculty scholar in the University of Chicago Medicine Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence, created to enhance the communication skills of doctors; an associate faculty member at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics; and an associate investigator at the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center. He served as director of the gastroenterology fellowship program for 11 years and in 2012 was appointed head of educational programs for gastroenterology.

Rubin's research interests include studies of novel therapies for inflammatory bowel disease and clinical outcomes, colon cancer prevention, and clinical medical ethics. He previously demonstrated the chemopreventive properties of aminosalicylates, and has confirmed the relationship between chronic inflammation and neoplasia in the colon, findings which have had direct implications for goals of therapy in inflammatory bowel disease patients. In 2006, he launched the national quality improvement initiative for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, and completed the first national survey of healthcare access for patients with Crohn's or colitis.

Rubin is the editor of a leading textbook on inflammatory bowel disease and an author or co-author of 150 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and invited commentary on inflammatory bowel disease, virtual colonoscopy, genetic testing, and colon cancer prevention and detection. He is a fellow of the American Gastroenterological Association, the American College of Gastroenterology, and American College of Physicians and an active national leader in the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America.

"This is an exciting time to take on this new role, and I'm honored to lead an incredible group of physicians and scientists," Rubin said. "The science of digestive disease has advanced radically in the last decade, leading to more precisely targeted therapies with fewer side effects, as well as new avenues of treatment such the growing focus on the role of the microbiome and its interactions with the digestive and immune systems. One of our goals will be to find new and effective ways to apply these gains, including those from outside the traditional focus on gastroenterology, to better patient care and disease prevention."

Rubin has earned many honors and awards in his field, including the Governors Award for Excellence in Clinical Research in 2003 and 2013 from the American College of Gastroenterology, and the Rosenthal Award in 2012 from the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. He is an associate editor for the journals Digestive Diseases & Sciences and Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology and serves on several other editorial boards.

"As interim section chief, David Rubin demonstrated exceptional leadership and thoughtful academic vision for the section," said Everett Vokes, MD, professor and chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago. "I am very grateful for the excellent work that he has done, elated that he has accepted this important role, and eager to work with him to enhance the section's already excellent clinical, research and educational programs and to maintain its reputation as one of top GI programs in the country."

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