2016-05-24 22:25:47 UTC

Dr. Rustgi Receives 2016 Distinguished Mentor Award

May 22, 2016

Anil K. Rustgi receives second of two Distinguished Mentor Awards presented at DDW® 2016.

AGA presents the second of two Distinguished Mentor Awards to Anil K. Rustgi, MD, AGAF. A consummate physician, Dr. Rustgi has played an instrumental role as an advocate in the research and practice of GI oncology, doing important work in esophageal and colon cancer biology, with landmark publications in numerous high-impact journals. 

As a world-class physician-scientist, Dr. Rustgi takes the greatest pride in his responsibilities as a mentor. His guidance and superior knowledge help his mentees develop their own scientific mind while learning practical skills in and out of the lab. His supportive approach and exceptional ability to shape a young scientist’s career in a very structured fashion has made him a stand out leader and sought after mentor in the field. Dr. Rustgi is the T. Grier Miller Professor of Medicine and Genetics, chief of the gastroenterology division and is the director of the NIH-funded Center for Molecular Studies in Digestive and Liver Diseases at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. 

Dr. Rustgi continues to be actively involved with AGA. He has held numerous positions within AGA, including as president from 2013-2014, as editor-in-chief of Gastroenterology for five years and as chair and chair-elect for numerous committees, including the Leadership Cabinet, Research Policy Committee, Executive Finance Committee, and Finance and Operations Committee. Additionally, he has served as a member of the AGA Audit Committee, Nominating Committee and Education and Training Committee. Dr. Rustgi has also been able to train more than 40 postdoctoral students, 10 undergraduate students, six medical students, four MD/PhD students and 10 PhD students. To this day, he mentors many faculty and trainees at Penn in clinical, educational and research arenas and is an advisor to many throughout the country, remaining in contact with many of his previous students.

Dr. Rustgi’s dedication to his trainees is demonstrated through his diverse and continued efforts to help them along their various journeys. With each trainee, he makes a concerted effort to fully understand their strengths and weaknesses in order to help develop their full potential, especially in the context of work-life balance, offering advice on how to structure time to make the balancing of roles as stress-free as possible. The words of those he has mentored prove his attentiveness and enthusiasm even decades later. A prominent theme, besides his proactive nature and ability to instill trust and confidence, is Dr. Rustgi’s public advocacy for improved gender and minority representation in academic medicine and research. At Penn, he established both the Underrepresented Minority Committee and the Women in Gastroenterology Committee within the GI division. These committees are dedicated to the recruitment, retention and career development of underrepresented minorities at all levels, as well the oversight of issues such as work-life balance. 

With this continued prominence as a mentor, it is of no surprise that he has already garnered every possible mentoring award that can be given at Penn, including Distinguished Mentor Award, Biomedical Postdoctoral Program and the Arthur Asbury Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award. Dr. Rustgi was also the recipient of the AGA Institute Council Gastrointestinal Oncology Section Research Mentor Award in 2012. Dr. Rustgi’s positive attitude, capacity to develop close, caring and personal relationships, and constructive criticism presented in an upbeat manner is truly exceptional. Dr. Rustgi is most deserving of the AGA Distinguished Mentor Award. 

Dr. Rustgi received a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his medical degree from Duke University. His internship and residency were completed at Beth Israel Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and he was a clinical and research fellow in gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He remained an instructor and professor at Harvard Medical School for many years, before moving to the University of Pennsylvania in 1998.

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