History of the Gastroenterology Research Group
The Gastroenterology Research Group (GRG) was established in 1955 stemming from the desire from younger American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) members in academic centers to have a forum for the discussion of scientific issues and new research problems in digestive diseases, according to a report prepared by Dr. Joseph Kirsner, (J. Clin. Gastroenterol., 25, 667-677, 1997). At that time, research in digestive diseases was not well represented or supported by the AGA or the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI). Under the efforts of Basil Hirschowitz, E.C. Texter and J.B. Kirsner, the initial GRG meeting was held in November 1955, attended by approximately 150 physicians and lasting 3 days covering a variety of topics related to gastrointestinal biology. The group next met in Atlantic City, New Jersey in April 1956 with the American Federation for Clinical Research, attended by approximately 300 physicians. Subsequently, the AGA welcomed the GRG-sponsored Gastroenterology Research Forum as part of its annual meeting, an arrangement that continues to the present. A long list of distinguished scientist members of the AGA can be attributed to the strength of the Gastroenterology Research Group.
Focus and Goals of the Current Gastroenterology Research Group
The GRG is dedicated to promoting and expanding and the science of gastroenterology through clinical and basic research. With intense competition for young investigator (physician-scientists and doctoral scientists) funding, the GRG recognizes the need to provide career support for this often vulnerable population. Thus the GRG aims to provide a network for scientists to promote the exchange of cutting edge scientific information, to enhance the flow of scientific communications and foster partnerships between basic and clinical investigators, and to cultivate, support, and promote young investigators (MD and PhD) from fellowship or post-doctoral training through successful initiation and renewal of grant awards from local and federal agencies.
GRG supports the future of gastroenterology research through:
- Sponsoring or co-sponsoring state-of-the-art conferences and symposia on current topics relevant to advancing gastroenterology-focused research.
- Providing educational programs themed towards promoting the success of investigators engaged in basic, clinical, and outcomes research.
- Providing a network of mentors for young investigators through the organization’s senior membership.
- Recognizing the accomplishments of investigators through travel awards, and young investigator awards for clinical and basic research.
- Attracting ambitious and young, capable individuals into research within the field of gastroenterology.
- Fostering productive interactions between the GRG’s senior mentors and young investigators by encouraging submission of up to date translational research reviews to Digestive Diseases and Sciences, the official journal of the GRG.