Newswise — PHILADELPHIA  – Anil K. Rustgi, MD, has received the 2017 Julius Friedenwald Medal from the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), the leading national and international society of the field with 17,000 members. Rustgi is chief of the division of Gastroenterology and director of the NIH/NIDDK Penn Digestive Diseases Research Core Center as well as Director of the Penn-CHOP Center for Digestive, Liver and Pancreatic Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Rustgi received the honor during the annual Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) meeting, which draws more than 20,000 experts for the world's largest gathering of physicians, researchers and industry in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery, in Chicago on May 8.

As a physician-scientist, Rustgi, his group and collaborators are experts in GI (esophageal, pancreatic, colon) cancers and pre-cancerous changes and conditions in these organs. As the recipient of extensive funding from the NCI and NIDDK as well as private foundations, Rustgi has published over 220 papers in leading journals. He has been elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation, American Association of American Physicians and has received the honor of an American Cancer Society Professorship.  He has been active in the AGA, serving as President (2013-2014), chair of various committees or sections (Education and Training, Research Policy, and GI oncology) and he served as editor-in-chief of the discipline’s flagship journal, Gastroenterology from 2006 to 2011.  In addition, he is past president of the International Society of GI carcinogenesis, and will become president of the American Pancreas Association in 2019-2020.  He is editor of textbooks in GI cancers, and is associate editor of the Goldman-Cecil Textbook of Medicine.

In addition, Rustgi has been an active physician in gastroenterology, endoscopy and GI cancer genetics. Best Doctors in America, Inc. has named Rustgi one of the United States’ “Best Doctors” for ten consecutive years. A passionate teacher and mentor, he has won Penn’s Arthur Asbury Distinguished Faculty Mentorship award and Penn’s Biomedical Postdoctoral Program’s Distinguished Faculty Mentorship award. He has also received the AGA’s distinguished mentorship award.

Established in 1941, the Julius Friedenwald Medal honors an individual who has contributed significantly to all aspects of gastroenterology, including research, clinical medicine, education and service. This is the highest lifetime honor bestowed by the AGA. The AGA, which was founded in 1897, has had only eight individuals who have been president of the society, editor-in-chief of Gastroenterology and received the Friedenwald medal. Rustgi is also one of the three youngest individuals in the history of the Friedenwald medal to receive it.


Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.