Northwestern Medicine has recently created the Michael A. Ruchim, MD, Fellowship Director in Digestive Health position in honor of Dr. Ruchim and his years of dedication to the health and care of his patients and their families. The directorship was awarded with an endowment of $5.25 million to support the ongoing costs of training and educating future digestive health clinicians as well as the salary of the medical director overseeing the Northwestern Medicine Gastroenterology and Hepatology Fellowship Program.

The Northwestern Medicine Gastroenterology and Hepatology Fellowship is a rigorous, three-year educational training program for physicians who wish to become specialists in the field of digestive health. The application process is extremely competitive and typically only four fellows are accepted each year. Participants work closely with experienced doctors and scientists at the Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Center and are exposed to highly innovative clinical studies and research. In the past five years, 75% of fellows have successfully pursued academic careers.

Leila Kia, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern Medicine, will serve as the Michael A. Ruchim, MD, Fellowship Director in Digestive Health and will guide the fellows throughout their training to ensure that they are ready to treat a variety of acute digestive issues with leading-edge care. Dr. Ruchim and John Pandolfino, MD, the chief of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Northwestern Medicine, will continue to provide integral leadership and will collaborate with the fellows and fellowship directors to determine what subspecialties and additional research will be supported through the endowment.

During his career at Northwestern Medicine, Dr. Ruchim has participated in the training of over 75 gastroenterology fellows and over 600 medical students and residents. “Medical fellowships are hands-on, full of practical experience and extremely coveted,” says Dr. Pandolfino. “With limited availability, only the best and brightest are chosen. Dr. Ruchim has been on both sides of this equation – mentee and mentor – and we are thrilled that the directorship of this internationally ranked program now bears his name.”

Dr. Ruchim is the Associate Chief Medical Officer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Vice President of Medical Affairs at Northwestern Memorial Foundation, as well as a Board Director for the Digestive Health Foundation. Dr. Ruchim is well known for his skills as an interventional endoscopist, especially for his work in ERCP’s (a procedure for getting into the bile ducts, liver and pancreas through the mouth), as well as being one of the first in the country to publish a new non-surgical technique for treating bile duct leaks. Other professional highlights include his selection as Teacher of the Year in 1987 and becoming President of the Chicago Society for Gastroenterology in 1996.