Division Overview

The Division strives to be one of the top academic Gastroenterology and Liver units in the United States and internationally. A major emphasis and approach to achieve this goal is to develop world-class faculty in an environment that supports and recognizes excellence in research, education, and patient care.

Faculty of the Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases are committed to the education of future and current clinicians, physician-scientists, and scientists. The Division supports a robust fellowship program, integrated among several key clinical sites including those highlighted below.

The clinicians of the Division provide consultative and diagnostic services in gastroenterology and hepatology and attend to patients at UT Southwestern University Hospitals (St. Paul and Zale Lipshy), Parkland Health & Hospital System, and the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Physician scientists and research scientists within the Division explore diverse clinical and basic science topics focused on the digestive organs. Our fellows are also actively involved in many research efforts.

Division History

The history of the individual components of the Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases begins in 1957 with the recruitment of Burton Combes, M.D., to join the Department of Internal Medicine by then-chair Donald Seldin, M.D. In 1962, John Fordtran, M.D., joined the Department of Internal Medicine as its first gastroenterologist and became Chief of Gastroenterology in 1963.

The Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases was formed in 1998 by the merger of the Gastroenterology Division and the Liver Unit, which at the time were separate but mutually cooperative divisions. John Dietschy, M.D., was the first Chief of the combined Division; Don Rockey, M.D., led the Division from 2005–2012. The current Chief is Jay Horton, M.D.

History of the Liver Section

Burton Combes, M.D., was the founding member of the Liver Section and was chief of the Liver Section from its inception in 1957 until its merger with Gastroenterology in 1998. The Liver Section has included a number of other distinguished alumni, such as Joseph Goldstein, M.D., co-recipient of the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He was introduced to scholarly research as a summer student with Dr. Combes while attending UT Southwestern Medical School.

Other academic hepatologists among distinguished UT Southwestern alumni include Raymond Burk, M.D., Investigator and Senior Fellow, Kennedy Center, Vanderbilt University, and former Chief of Gastroenterology, Liver and Nutrition, Vanderbilt University; Steven Schenker, M.D., former Chief of Gastroenterology, UT Health Sciences Center at San Antonio; and Eugene Schiff, M.D., Chief, Center for Liver Diseases, University of Miami.

History of the Gastroenterology Section

John Fordtran, M.D., was the founding member of the Gastroenterology Section in 1962. He was joined by John Dietschy, M.D., later that same year. Both Drs. Fordtran and Dietschy received their clinical training in gastroenterology and their early research training at Boston University School of Medicine with Franz Ingelfinger, M.D. In 1979, Dr. Fordtran left UT Southwestern and was followed as Division Chief by Dr. Dietschy from 1979–98.

The Gastroenterology Section has included a number of other distinguished alumni, such as Michael Brown, M.D., co-recipient of the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Dr. Brown was a research fellow with Dr. Dietschy and performed the first endoscopies at UT Southwestern in the early 1970s.

Other academic gastroenterologists among distinguished UT Southwestern alumni include: Mark Feldman, M.D., former Chair of Medicine, Dallas VA Medical Center, Vice Chair of Internal Medicine, UT Southwestern, and currently Chair of Medicine, Presbyterian Hospital, Dallas, Texas; Raj Goyal, M.D., former Chief of Gastroenterology, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Harvard Medical School; and Guenter Krejs, M.D., Chair of Medicine, University of Graz, Austria.

Many gastroenterologists and hepatologists in practice in Texas were trained at UT Southwestern. The Division continues to attract outstanding young internists and train them for careers in patient care, education, and research related to gastrointestinal, liver, and pancreatic diseases.