Thursday, March 05, 2009

Honoring Dr. Douglas Pleskow

About ten years ago, two women with pancreatic disease happened to meet, discussed the lack of scientific knowledge about their disease, and decided to establish the National Pancreas Foundation to support research in this arena and to provide support to pancreatic patients and their loved ones. In the time since, the foundation has funded over $1.5 million in research, organized support groups, and engaged in other fine programs in pursuit of that mission.

Each year, the NPF holds a gala dinner and recognizes a person who has helped in this field. Last night, the honoree was Dr. Douglas Pleskow. Doug started practicing at New England Deaconess Hospital in 1987 (prior to its merger with Beth Israel Hospital in 1996). He was named Co-Director of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy in 1995.

Here's a summary from the program book:

Doug sees patients with complex gastrointestinal problems related to the pancreaticobiliary tree and Barrett’s esophagus. A major part of his practice involves patients that require therapeutic endoscopic procedures. An expert in all aspects of biliary endoscopy and endoscopic ultrasound, he is also an expert in all types of pancreatic diseases. Dr. Pleskow’s major research interests have been the study of serologic markers in pancreatic disease, therapeutic pancreaticobiliary endoscopy and endoscopic ultrasound. He has pioneered the endoscopic placement of gold markers in patients with pancreaticobiliary malignancy to facilitate Cyberknife therapy. He and his colleagues have worked closely on the endoscopic treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and Barrett’s esophagus.

Beyond his practice Dr. Pleskow is an active and influential member of the NPF board and its Executive Committee. He has previously served as Executive Director and currently presides over the Scientific Advisory Committee and sits on the Grant Review Council.

I had the privilege of introducing Doug last night and presenting his award to him. I ended the presentation with the following quote from one of his patients:

“You are introducing a great man tonight . . . a rare combination of professional expert, highly competent physician, compassionate care giver, and friend. A man who -- seeing the dearth of knowledge and tools to improve the treatment of pancreas diseases -- committed his time and talent to help fill that void. And with that, you can add another quality that makes Doug even more rare . . . leadership. I am blessed and fortunate to be in his care.”

We, too, are blessed and fortunate to have a person of Doug's ability and character at BIDMC and congratulate him on this honor.

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