Friday, November 6, 2015

Pediatric Gastroenterology pioneer honored with endowed chair

REMARKABLE CONTRIBUTIONS: Fasano and Walker

It is not unusual for MGH employees to enjoy long and distinguished careers. But for W. Allan Walker, MD, the nearly 50 years he has spent at the MGH also have resulted in seminal contributions to the field of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition, including authorship of the textbook, “Walker’s Gastrointestinal Disease,” now in its fifth printing.

“Everyone in the field of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition has been touched – in a very positive way – by Dr. Walker’s career,” said
Ronald Kleinman, MD, physician-in-chief of MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC), at a reception to celebrate the creation of the
W. A. Walker, MD Endowed Chair in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. Some 100 colleagues, friends and family members attended the Oct. 8 event at the Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation. 

Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president, recognized Walker for his contributions to the field, including his long-term research into the prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis, an often-fatal disease that affects premature infants.

Slavin also acknowledged another “superb physician,” Alessio Fasano, MD, the first incumbent of the Walker Chair. Fasano is chief of the Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition and director of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at MGHfC. “Alessio’s efforts have contributed to enormous progress in raising awareness and improving understanding of celiac disease, a lifelong condition, and other gluten-related disorders,” said Slavin.

The award will enable stable funding for Fasano to continue his research, which includes a long-term prospective study of infants to unravel the complex factors that contribute to the development of celiac disease.


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