Dr. Sheila Crowe Becomes President of AGA

Sheila E. Crowe, MD, FRCPC, FACP, FACG, AGAF, of University of California, San Diego (UCSD), began her term as 112th president of the AGA Institute immediately following Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) 2017.

A former AGA Governing Board member and chair of the AGA Council, which plans DDW, Dr. Crowe has had a successful career in research while also developing a robust clinical practice focused on celiac disease and food allergy.

“Sheila is a “triple threat” as exemplified by her commitment to excellence in education, research, and clinical care — a combination of success that is often talked about but seldom achieved,” noted colleague William J. Sandborn, MD, AGAF, in a profile of Dr. Crowe in the May issue of Gastroenterology.

Dr. Crowe received her medical degree from McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, where she also completed her internship, residencies (internal medicine and gastroenterology) and her research fellowship. Since 2011, Dr. Crowe has been a professor of medicine and director of research at University of California, San Diego. Previously, Dr. Crowe has held professional appointments at McMaster University, the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, and the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

Reflecting on her early career, Don Powell, MD, AGAF, former AGA president and Dr. Crowe’s chair of medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston said, “It was clear from the start that she was going to accomplish much in academic gastroenterology. She had a forceful but engaging personality and she was an excellent clinician who soon became “the gastroenterologist” of our faculty or their families: her patients loved her. It took her a short time to find a new research niche she could call her own, but she did and excelled. Early on, she was a strong and verbal supporter of women faculty and fellows. Those of us who knew Sheila in the early ‘90s are not at all surprised that she is now the president of the American Gastroenterological Association; we expected it.”

In addition to her work on the AGA board, council and editor of AGA Perspectives, Dr. Crowe has served on AGA committees related to research, education and women.

Dr. Crowe is part of an informal supportive group affectionately referred to as “The Swans” — a flock of women who trained, mentored or befriended each other and have provided tremendous leadership to other women and substantial inspiration to each other.

“I remember clearly meeting Sheila at a DDW in San Diego in 1995. I was still a GI fellow and pregnant with my son. I of course knew her name and was immediately struck by her warmth, down-to-earth nature and her sense of style! There was the shared conspiracy that she had also spent part of her early academic career pregnant and/or with small children. Her success was a natural inspiration that it could be done. She took an interest (or at least did a great job pretending!) in my poster and it was the beginning of my admiration for her as a colleague, a mentor, a leader, a clinician, a scientist and a friend,” said Maria Abreu, MD, AGAF.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Crowe has been an active AGA member, serving on a variety of committees including the AGA Institute Research Policy Committee, AGA Institute Education and Training Committee, AGA Women’s Committee, AGA Nominating Committee, and as chair of the AGA Institute Publications Committee. Dr. Crowe also served on the AGA Institute Council representing the esophageal, gastric and duodenal disorders section and then as the AGA Council chair. She directed the 2010 AGA Spring Postgraduate Course.

Dr. Crowe works closely with her husband Peter B. Ernst, PhD, at UCSD. They have two children, Stephen and Alexandra. This article includes excerpts from a profile of Dr. Crowe written by Dr. Ernst in the May issue of Gastroenterology.

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