Board Members


  • Reginald Bell MD
  • Tripp Buckley MD
  • Ken Chang MD
  • Christy Dunst MD
  • Santiago Horgan MD
  • Blair Jobe MD
  • Peter Kahrilas MD
  • Phil Katz MD
  • John Lipham MD
  • Dan Lister MD
  • Joel Richter MD
  • Felice Schnoll-Sussman MD
  • Michael S Smith MD
  • Lee Swanstrom MD
  • Rena Yadlapati MD



  • John Lipham MD- Past President
  • Peter Kahrilas MD- President
  • Michael Smith MD- Secretary
  • Dan Lister MD- Treasurer
  • Felice Schnoll-Sussman MD- Annual Meeting Chair
  • Reginald Bell MD- Chairman of the Board/President Elect



  • Kate Freeman NP


Reginald C.W. Bell

Reginald C.W. Bell MD

Dr Bell is a surgeon in Denver Colorado who specializes in foregut – esophageal and gastric – disorders. His primary clinical and research focus is the diagnosis and minimally invasive treatment of GERD and esophageal motility disorders

Dr Bell earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society. He subsequently completed his general surgery training at the University of Colorado in 1990. Since then, in private practice, he has specialized in foregut disease and been a lead investigator in clinical trials involving minimally invasive treatment of GERD. In 2018 he was a founding member and is currently chairman of the board of the American Foregut Society, a collaborative effort between GI and Surgeons to further research and patient care in this arena.

View Conflict of Interest Form


Tripp Buckley


Tripp Buckley MD

Dr. Tripp Buckley is the Medical Director and primary surgeon in The Center for Heartburn & Esophageal Disorders at UT Health Austin. He attended Tulane University Medical School and then completed his residency in The DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Dr. Buckley then served in the United States Air Force on active duty for four years at Nellis Air Force Base with tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is one of only a few physicians to be awarded the USAF Air Medal.

After deployment, he returned to Texas and joined Scott & White, where he began to focus on anti-reflux and esophageal surgery. He established a unique multidisciplinary center to take care of patients suffering from reflux disease. It grew to be one the busiest centers in the country serving patients from all over Texas, throughout the country, and even internationally.

He now has joined UTHA to further improve upon the concept of an integrated, patient focused care center known as The Center for Heartburn & Esophageal Disorders. The program partners with other specialties (GI, Pulmonary, ENT, and Radiology) in order to provide a multidisciplinary approach to treating patients and then keeping them well.

Dr. Buckley is heavily involved in clinical research with numerous peer reviewed publications, national presentations, current trials. He is committed to training both the next generation as well as practicing surgeons in cutting-edge surgical techniques. Over 200 surgeons have either observed him operate or have had Dr. Buckley serve as their proctor/mentor.

View Conflict of Interest Form



Kenneth J. Chang


Kenneth J. Chang MD

Dr. Chang’s clinical research focuses on development of endoscopic modalities for cancer diagnosis, staging and therapy. He has pioneered the development of Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)-guided FNA, and subsequently, EUS-guided FNI (fine needle injection) and has written more than 300 publications and book chapters regarding its utility in GI malignancies. He has conducted numerous clinical trials on the development of new biologic agents against esophageal and pancreatic cancers.

His clinical expertise in pancreatico-biliary endoscopy includes EUS, EUS-guided FNA and FNB, EUS-guided Intervention (celiac ganglion neurolysis, choledochoduodenostomy, EUS-guided liver biopsy and portal pressure measurement, etc), and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). For esophageal and gastric interventions, his expertise includes endoscopic treatment of gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), as well as endoscopic mucosal resection, laser-induced endomicroscopy, radiofrequency and cryo ablation therapy for Barrett’s and esophageal cancer. He is also considered the West Coast expert in Per-oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM), endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) and endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) for obesity.

View Conflict of Interest Form


Christy Dunst MD

Dr. Dunst graduated from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver Colorado. After general surgery residency at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Dr. Dunst completed a fellowship in Thoracic Foregut and Esophageal Surgery at the University of Southern California under Dr.Tom DeMeester. She then joined Dr. Lee Swanstrom in Portland with the multispecialty group, The Oregon Clinic. She currently serves as the Executive Director of The Foundation for Surgical Innovation and Education (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of surgery through education and invention. Dr Dunst is the Program Director for the Advanced GI-Foregut surgical fellowship at Providence Portland Medical Center and serves on the board of the American Society of General Surgeons. She is an active member of several organizations, including the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons, and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract.

View Conflict of Interest Form



Santiago Horgan

Santiago Horgan MD

Dr. Santiago Horgan is an internationally recognized expert in robot-assisted surgery and other minimally invasive surgical techniques.

Dr. Horgan is among the first surgeons trained to perform the Lap-Band Adjustable Gastric Banding System procedure used for the treatment of obesity. As the director of UC San Diego’s Center for the Treatment of Obesity, he has performed more than 1,000 Lap-Band procedures and instructs other surgeons in the Lap-Band and Realize Band techniques throughout the United States.

In addition, Dr. Horgan performs other weight loss surgeries including gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and gastric banding with the Realize band.

A specialist in minimally invasive surgical techniques, Dr. Horgan is skilled in the use of the da Vinci robot system, which enables surgeons to perform even the most complex and delicate procedures through very small incisions with unmatched precision.

Dr. Horgan is also a pioneer in the emerging field of Natural Orifice Translumenal Surgery (NOTES), in which surgical instruments are passed through a natural orifice such as the mouth to reach the desired organ. By avoiding major incisions, the NOTES procedure can provide patients with a faster recovery time and virtually no scarring.

As the director of UC San Diego’s Center for the Future of Surgery, Dr. Horgan is working with colleagues to advance these scarless techniques by investigating, developing, testing, and teaching procedures that will revolutionize the field of surgery. To date, he has performed more than a dozen NOTES procedures and is involved in continuing clinical trials.

Dr. Horgan is also a specialist in esophageal disorders, using minimally invasive procedures to treat conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux, achalasia, esophageal cancer and Barrett’s esophagus.

Before he joined the UC San Diego Department of Surgery as Professor of Clinical Surgery in 2006, Dr. Horgan was Director of the Minimally Invasive Surgery and Robotic Surgery Department and Co-Director of the Swallowing Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was also Director of the Minimally Invasive Bariatric Center in Chicago. In 2005, he was named one of America’s Top Doctors by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd.


Blair A. Jobe


Blair A. Jobe MD

Dr. Jobe is the Director of the Esophageal Institute at Allegheny Health Network, Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh He is a staff surgeon at several hospitals within the Allegheny Health Network. Dr. Jobe is also a Clinical Professor in the Department of Surgery at Temple University School of Medicine. He leads the innovative, Esophageal Institute which has combined discipline; such as, ENT, Pulmonary, GI, Speech Pathology and nutrition for the sole purpose of providing patient-centered disease based care.

Dr. Jobe received his medical degree from Creighton University School of Medicine. He completed his general surgery residency at Oregon Health and Science University, and esophageal surgery fellowship training at the Swedish Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle, WA. Certified by the American Board of Surgery, Dr. Jobe is a prolific medical researcher and international lecturer.

Dr. Jobe is considered one of the leading specialists and pioneers in the field of minimally invasive surgery and endoscopic therapy for the treatment of esophageal cancer, Barrett’s esophagus, esophageal motility disorders and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

He served as the principal investigator for two NIH grants that focused on improving early detection of esophageal cancer. Dr. Jobe is currently working on the development of serum and tissue biomarkers that predict the likelihood of disease progression in patients with Barrett’s esophagus as well as on novel agents for preventing and treating esophageal cancer.


Kenneth J. Chang


Peter James Kahrilas MD

Peter J Kahrilas is the Gilbert H. Marquardt Professor in Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago where he has worked since 1986, serving as Division Chief for 7 years. Dr Kahrilas’ research is on esophageal pathophysiology, a topic on which he has published more than 400 original papers. Dr Kahrilas is currently on the editorial boards of Gastroenterology and the American Journal of Physiology. He has served on the AGA council, AGA governing board, and as president of the ISDE. He was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) in 1998 and the Association of American Physicians (AAP) in 2015.

View Conflict of Interest Form


Philip Katz


Philip Katz MD

Philip Katz, MD, is chairman of the division of gastroenterology at Einstein Medical Center and holds a teaching appointment at Jefferson Medical College, both located in Philadelphia. He is a past president of the American College of Gastroenterology. He has served as treasurer and vice president of the ACG, and has been a member of its board of trustees since 2001.

Dr. Katz has a professional interest in achalasia, gastroesophageal reflux and swallowing disorders. His research interests center on gastroesophageal reflux disease, including nocturnal recovery of gastric acid secretion during proton pump inhibitor therapy and esophageal pain perception.

Dr. Katz has published more than 120 peer-reviewed papers, numerous abstracts, books, book chapters and monographs. He is an editorial reviewer for a number of prestigious journals, including the Annals of Internal Medicine, American Journal of Gastroenterology and Journal of the American Geriatric Association. In 2013, he received the ACG Berk/Fise Clinical Achievement Award.

Dr. Katz received his medical degree from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C, where he also completed his residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in gastroenterology. Additionally, he has completed a faculty development fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

View Conflict of Interest Form



John C. Lipham


John C. Lipham MD

John C. Lipham, M.D. is Chief of the Division of Upper GI and General Surgery and Professor of Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Dr Lipham is also the Director of the USC Digestive Health Center. He serves as the Foregut Cancer Program Director and Chief of USC Affiliated Academic Programs at Hoag Hospital and is the James & Pamela Muzzy Endowed Chair in GI Cancer. He focuses on benign and malignant diseases of the esophagus and stomach. His clinical interests include the diagnosis and treatment of GERD, hiatal hernias, Barrett’s esophagus, esophageal motility disorders, achalasia, malignant diseases of the esophagus and stomach. His current research interests include developing minimally invasive methods of diagnosing and treating gastroesophageal reflux disease, Barrett’s, esophageal cancer and gastric cancer.

View Conflict of Interest Form


Dan Lister


Dan Lister MD

Dr. Lister earned his undergraduate degree at Hendrix College in Conway, AR. He earned his medical degree at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, AR and completed his residency at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. He is board certified in General Surgery. Dr. Lister is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He is one of the co-founders of the American Foregut Society and serves as Treasurer of that organization. He is on the Board of Directors of the American Society of General Surgeons and is a member of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons. He serves as the Chief of Surgery at Baptist Health Medical Center in Heber Springs, AR and is on staff at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock, AR.

View Conflict of Interest Form


Joel Richter


Joel Richter MD

Dr. Richter joined the faculty as the division director in September 2011. He received his MD from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas and completed his internship at the Naval Regional Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Richter went on to complete his residency in medicine and fellowship in gastroenterology at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Among past academic appointments, Dr. Richter was Chairman, Department of Gastroenterology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, for 10 years and Chairman of Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA for 7 years. Dr. Richter is past president of the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) and served as director, ACG Institute for Clinical Research and Education from 1995 to 2004. He is the recipient of several awards for his work in digestive diseases, including the Berk/Fise Lifetime Clinical Achievement Award from ACG, Joseph B. Kirsner Award in Gastroenterology (2000), the Janssen Award in Gastroenterology for Clinical Research in Digestive Diseases (2001), and The Samuel Weiss Award for Outstanding Service to the ACG (2001). From 2002 to 2003, Dr. Richter served as president of the World Organization for Specialized Studies on Diseases of the Esophagus. He was co-editor in chief for the American Journal of Gastroenterology from 2003-2009 and named to the Best Doctors in America for gastroenterology multiple times.

Dr. Richter is the author or coauthor of more than 290 original papers, 121 editorials/reviews, 11 books, and 109 book chapters. He and Dr. Donald Castell are the editors of the new 5th Edition of The Esophagus.

View Conflict of Interest Form


Felice Schnoll-Sussman


Felice Schnoll-Sussman MD

Dr. Schnoll-Sussman has contributed numerous articles, abstracts, and reviews to the gastroenterology and oncology literature. She is the former president of the New York Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (NYSGE), the co-director of the New York City Colon Cancer Control Coalition (C5) Quality in Endoscopy task force and an active committee member of multiple national gastroenterology societies including the American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association, and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

The recipient of several awards, Dr. Schnoll-Sussman received the Women in Medicine Scholarship, Rubin Scholarship, New York Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Case Presentation Award, The New York Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy David Falkenstein Scholarship, and The Linda Horowitz Cancer Research Foundation Clinical Scholar Award.
Dr. Schnoll-Sussman attended the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education and received her medical degree from Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, New York.

View Conflict of Interest Form


Michael S Smith


Michael S Smith MD

Michael S. Smith, MD, MBA, is the Chief of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Mount Sinai West and Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospitals and Associate Professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. First at Temple University in Philadelphia and now at Mount Sinai, he has build a clinical practice focusing on the diagnosis and management of esophageal disorders, from GERD and motility to Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer. His research interests have focused on evaluating how new technologies are best incorporated into everyday treatment of diseases of the esophagus.

View Conflict of Interest Form


Lee L Swanstrom


Lee L Swanstrom MD

Dr. Lee Swanstrom is the Scientific Director and Chief Innovations Officer of the Institutes des Hôpitaux Universitaires (IHU) of the University of Strasbourg, France. He is Professor of Surgery at Oregon Health and Science University, a current Director of the American Board of Surgery and is Past President of the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), the Fellowship Council (FC) and is a founder and Board Member of the American Foregut Society. His clinical practice is primarily surgical endoscopy and minimally invasive foregut surgery.

Dr. Swanstrom received his MD degree from Creighton University following undergraduate work at the University of Paris (Sorbonne) and University of Colorado. He completed an internship and residency in general surgery in Portland and a fellowship in surgical endoscopy and GI surgery at the University of Western Ontario.

Dr. Swanstrom’s clinical focus is on minimally invasive treatments of a variety of esophageal and gastrointestinal disorders, particularly utilizing laparoscopy and interventional flexible endoscopy. He is a well-known educator and researcher with over 350 scientific papers, 80 book chapters and is the editor of 3 major surgical textbooks and the journal Surgical Innovation. His research focus is in foregut physiology, human factors and technology assessment and new procedure development.

View Conflict of Interest Form


Rena Yadlapati


Rena Yadlapati MD

Dr. Rena Yadlapati is an esophageal specialist at UC San Diego and the medical director of the esophageal motility program. Dr. Yadlapati completed her internal medicine training at the University of California Los Angeles and her gastroenterology fellowship training at Northwestern University where she pursued advanced esophageal physiology training, a T32 research fellowship, and her Masters in Health Services and Outcomes Research. Dr. Yadlapati has formal training in GRADE and RAND-UCLA Appropriateness methodology. Dr. Yadlapati is an active clinical researcher with a research focus on defining multi-disciplinary phenotype-based clinical pathways for extra-esophageal reflux and PPI non-responsive GERD. Dr. Yadlapati’s expertise includes interpretation of esophageal physiologic testing including pH monitoring, esophageal manometry, and functional lumen imaging planimetry (FLIP).

View Conflict of Interest Form


Kate Freeman


Kate Freeman NP

Kate has been a Nurse Practitioner for 20 years. She has worked the last 15 with Dr Reginald Bell at the Institute of Esophageal and Reflux Surgery. She sees patients, assists in surgery and is Director of the Motility lab. She has been involved with the American Foregut Society from the beginning, helping solidify the society in 2018. Given her passion to help those with foregut ailments, and for the society, she accepted a position as Executive Director in early 2019. She hopes to continue to bring clinical expertise and combine it with the dedicated leadership a new society needs to thrive. When not working, she loves cycling, hiking, photography, and anything outdoors.

View Conflict of Interest Form