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Stuart Spechler is Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology at the Dallas VA Medical Center, Professor of Medicine, and Holder of the Berta M. and Cecil O. Patterson Chair in Gastroenterology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
He graduated from Boston University School of Medicine in 1974, and spent the next 23 years working in Boston, both at the Boston VA Medical Center, and at the Beth Israel Hospital and Harvard Medical School where he was the Director of the Center for Swallowing Disorders from 1990 to 1997. He has been in Dallas on the faculty of UT Southwester since 1997.
Dr Spechler's research has focused primarily on disorders of the esophagus, especially gastroesophageal reflux disease and its complications. He is the Chair of the large VA Cooperative Study on Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, and he has published numerous scientific reports, editorials, review articles, and book chapters on esophageal disorders. He is perhaps best known for his work in the area of Barrett's esophagus.
Dr Spechler has served on the editorial board of numerous journals including Gastroenterology, Gastroenterology Clinics of North America, Current Treatment Options in Gastroenterology, Clinical Perspectives in Gastroenterology, and Diseases of the Esophagus. Since 1997, he has served as Chair of the Gastroenterology Teaching Project of the American Gastroenterological Association.
- What made you decide to become a gastroenterologist?
- During my internal medicine training, the professors who impressed me the most were gastroenterologists. They were my most enthusiastic teachers. During my GI rotations, I was taken by the intellectual challenge of the GI diseases and by the fun of endoscopy. I've never regretted my decision to become a gastroenterologist.
- Who was the teacher you admired the most?
- Elihu Schimmel, my Chief and mentor during my GI fellowship, was the quintessential clinical scholar. He taught me to think critically.
- Which research paper influenced you the most?
- A report on the histologic spectrum of Barrett's esophagus that was published during my medical residency (Paull A, et al. N Engl J Med 1976; 295:476-80). This was a superb piece of clinical investigation that involved two of my most respected colleagues and mentors, Raj Goyal and Jerry Trier.
- What is the most important fact that you have discovered?
- That short-segment Barrett's esophagus is a common condition.
- What is your unfulfilled ambition?
- To develop a cohesive research unit in which basic and clinical scientists work hand in hand with a common goal.
- What is your greatest regret?
- Regrets? I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention. (With apologies to Frank Sinatra).
- How do you relax?
- My favorite hobby is underwater photography, especially photography involving big pelagic animals like sharks and rays. I also play piano professionally. In addition, I enjoy working out at the gym, and playing tennis and hockey.
- What is your favorite sport?
- I love to watch American football, and to play tennis and hockey.
- What is your best place in the world?
- The Bahamas. I love the people, the ambience, and the scuba diving.
- What is your favorite film?
- "The Godfather".
- What car do you drive?
- BMW 528i.
- What is your best electronic 'toy'?
- My Palm Pilot.
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- "The Greatest Generation" by Tom Brokaw.
- Why did you get in involved in GastroHep.com?
- My colleagues, Drs Pounder and Peterson, made me an offer I couldn't refuse.