Julius Friedenwald Medal

Chung Owyang, MD

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 

The AGA bestows the Julius Friedenwald Medal on Chung Owyang, MD, for his lifelong contributions to the field of gastroenterology and the AGA. The Friedenwald Medal is the highest honor the AGA bestows on a member.

Dr. Owyang has dedicated his distinguished, 34-year career to the field of gastroenterology and to the service of the AGA and its membership. His renowned career began in 1978 when he became an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Michigan, where he currently is the chief of the division of gastroenterology — a position he has held since 1991. Dr. Owyang is a world class investigator, professor, mentor and leader who has provided outstanding and remarkable contributions and dedication to the field.

Dr. Owyang’s impressive career includes overseeing and building one of the truly elite GI programs in the U.S., while making many important discoveries through his own research program. His work has advanced our understanding of the physiology of pancreatic secretion and gastrointestinal motility. Dr. Owyang is virtually unique in integrating basic laboratory studies with clinical investigation in which man is the experimental model.

As a world-renowned leader in the fields of neurohormonal control of pancreatic and endocrine secretion, GI motility, and the enteric nervous system, he has been recognized with the AGA Joseph B. Kirsner Award for Clinical Research in Gastroenterology and the Janssen Award for Basic or Clinical Research in Gastrointestinal Motility. He has published nearly 200 original articles and reviews in high-profile journals, including Gastroenterology and the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and has been editor and served on the editorial boards of several prestigious journals, including Gastroenterology and the American Journal of Physiology.

His contributions to the AGA include serving as chair of the AGA International Committee from 2003 to 2006 and as director for the AGA Postgraduate Course in 1997 and 1998. He has also been a member of the AGA Research Policy Committee, AGA Nominating Committee, the AGA Council and various abstract selection committees. In addition to his service to the AGA, he has been a permanent NIH study section member.

Dr. Owyang provides constant education to the GI community through his academic roles, and he has trained nearly 50 fellows. His trainees are currently practicing in academic units of gastroenterology, surgery, nutrition or physiology in the U.S. and abroad. Notably, he received the 2010 AGA Distinguished Mentor Award.

As his colleagues attest, Dr. Owyang’s accomplishments are all the more admirable because of the personal qualities of unwavering integrity and humility he brings to all of his endeavors. He works constantly for the betterment of his faculty and trainees. His humble attributes, yet incredible and unrelenting passion to serve the field, his faculty and co-workers, are reflected in his durable and unmatched success over the years.

After receiving his undergraduate and medical degree from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Dr. Owyang served his internship and residency in internal medicine at Montreal General Hospital. Dr. Owyang completed his fellowship in gastroenterology at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Rochester, MN.

AGA Institute gratefully acknowledges AstraZeneca for making this award possible through a restricted grant.