2016-05-18 17:13:48 UTC

AGA Honors Dr. Richard Boland with 2016 Friedenwald Medal

May 22, 2016

Dr. Boland was presented with the Julius Friedenwald Medal, the highest honor AGA bestows on a member.

AGA bestowed the 2016 Julius Friedenwald Medal, on C. Richard Boland, MD, AGAF, of Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, TX, for his lifelong contributions to the field of gastroenterology and AGA. The Friedenwald Medal, which Dr. Boland received at Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) 2016, in San Diego, CA, is the highest honor AGA bestows on a member.

Dr. Boland’s commitment and enormous compassion in this discipline are known both within AGA and throughout the field, as his ground-breaking research is well documented in the literature. His key research contributions, which form the basis for the genetic diagnosis of Lynch syndrome, in addition to his support of both young and established academicians throughout this country and abroad, make him an exceptional leader and role model within the industry and the community at large.

Dr. Boland currently serves as the chief of gastroenterology at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas — a position he has held for more than 12 years. He manages the GI Cancer Research Laboratory at the Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, TX, and has adjunct appointments at the University of Texas Southwestern, Texas A&M College of Medicine and Baylor University. 

Over the last 40 years, Dr. Boland has been relentlessly focused on understanding the pathogenesis and diagnostic approach of patients with familial colorectal cancer. As a medical student, Dr. Boland wrote his thesis on hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer. He coined the term “Lynch syndrome” when he first joined the University of Michigan in 1984 and sub-classified patients into Lynch syndrome I and Lynch syndrome II, depending on clinical phenotypic expressions. Dr. Boland’s research led to the identification of the microsatellite instability as a major mechanism responsible for many of the colorectal cancers. His group developed the first in vitro model of defective DNA mismatch report, which is still widely employed in many labs worldwide to study this disorder. He also helped to define a number of clinical phenotypes that mimic Lynch syndrome, but with different prognoses, which require management with different strategies. Dr. Boland is clearly a thought leader in this field, as his research has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1979 and has resulted in 350 papers published in impact journals, with his work on this topic being cited over 2,000 times.

In addition to his impressive body of work in colon cancer, Dr. Boland remains a force in training scores of academic gastroenterologists, many of whom are already making important contributions themselves. With over 50 GI fellows, Dr. Boland has closely involved in the training of each fellow and had an important influence on their career development. His accomplishments as a mentor and commitment to clinical care have created a legacy to which each trainee strives to live up to.  

Dr. Boland’s achievements and influence transcend our organization and our field. Beyond his work in research, moving the field ahead, and his commitment to the next generation of physicians and researchers, Dr. Boland continues to serve and positively impact AGA in a variety of ways. As a member of AGA since 1978, Dr. Boland has served in many high-level capacities, such as chair of the GI Oncology Section, chair of the AGA Research Committee, associate editor of Gastroenterology, and culminating as president of the AGA from 2011 to 2012. He also received the 2015 AGA William Beaumont Prize and the GI Oncology Section Distinguished Mentor Award in 2011. 

After receiving his medical degree from Yale University, New Haven, CT, in 1973, and spending two years in the Indian Health Service as a general medical officer, Dr. Boland completed his residency at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital, San Francisco, CA. From 1978 to 1981, Dr. Boland was a GI fellow at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, where he was appointed assistant professor in 1981. From 1984 to 1995, Dr. Boland served as the chief of the GI section at the Ann Arbor VA and faculty member at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, Ann Arbor. In 1995, he served as professor of medicine and GI division chief at the University of California, San Diego. 

The breadth of his impact through his own original research, his legions of trainees and dedication to advancing the field make him especially deserving of the honor of receiving the Julius Friedenwald Medal. 

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