History of the Division

Division heads

John G. Mateer, M.D., 1920-1953
Robert J. Priest, M.D., 1953-1976
Bernard M. Shuman, M.D., 1976-1983
Surinder K. Batra, M.D. (Acting), 1983-1986
Helmut V. Ammon, M.D., 1986-1988
Surinder K. Batra, M.D., 1988-1990
Ronald P. Fogel, M.D., 1990-2003
Kimberly A. Brown, M.D., 2003-Present

John G. Mateer, M.D., was recruited by Dr. Frank Sladen, Physician-in-Chief of Henry Ford Hospital and also a Johns Hopkins graduate, to found the Division of Gastroenterology in 1920. He remained chief of the Division even after his appointment to Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine. He was a prominent physician in the Detroit area and physician to several members of the Ford family. Dr. Mateer was called a gifted teacher, training many young physicians on the importance of concern for the patient’s problems, and published important research regarding liver function tests and correlation of hepatic pathology with liver function. He was President of the American Gastroenterological Association in 1950. An alumnus of the College of Wooster, in 1966 Dr. Mateer was honored by his friends and patients who provided a gift to build and name the science building after him.

Robert J. Priest, M.D., served as Division Head from 1953 to 1976. Dr. Priest and his colleague Robert K. Nixon, M.D., published “Familial Recurring Polyserositis: A Disease Entity” in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 1959; he also published many other clinical and research studies. He over saw the introduction of early endoscopy procedures at Henry Ford and received a Distinguished Career Award from Henry Ford Hospital later in his career.

William S. Haubrich, M.D., another noted gastroenterologist at Henry Ford Hospital from 1954 to 1970, focused his research on the ultrastructure of the small bowel mucosa. He published his work on Whipple’s disease with scientist Dr. John Watson from the Edsel B. Ford Research Institute. In 1970, Dr. Haubrich joined the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla, CA, where he became head of the GI department two years later and remained there until his retirement. Dr. Haubrich received the Rudolf V. Schindler Award in 1985 from the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Bernard M. Schuman, M.D., Division Head from 1976 to 1983, received the Distinguished Service Award in 1991 from the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Surinder K. Batra, M.D., from New Delhi, India, completed his gastroenterology fellowship at Henry Ford Hospital in 1975 and has been a beloved senior staff member for nearly 40 years. Dr. Batra was Acting Chief of the Division twice, 1983-1986 and 1988-1990. He is widely published on his work with gastrointestinal cancer.

Ronald P. Fogel, M.D., served 13 years as Division Head, from 1990 to 2003. A graduate of McGill University, he completed residencies at Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital and the University of California and a research fellowship in gastroenterology at Tufts University in Boston, MA. Under Dr. Fogel’s leadership, the Division pursued the prevention and aggressive treatment of gastrointestinal disease and expertise in transplantation medicine. His special areas of interest include the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome as well as screening and prevention/education for colon cancer. In 2003 Dr. Fogel established and remains chief of the Digestive Health Center of Michigan (DHCMI) which is affiliated with Henry Ford Macomb Hospital.

Kimberly A. Brown, M.D., became Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology in 2003. She has served previously as the Medical Director of Liver Transplantation and the Fellowship Director for Gastroenterology. Dr. Brown is a graduate of Wayne State University Medical School and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Gastroenterology at the University of Michigan Medical Center. She joined Henry Ford Hospital in 1994 as Medical Director of Liver Transplantation, a position in which she served until she became Division Chief. Dr. Brown’s research interest is in viral hepatitis and recurrent disease following liver transplantation. She was one of the first members on the ABIM Board for Advanced Hepatology and Transplantation and served as a member of the ABIM Board to develop learning modules in Advanced Hepatology and Liver Transplantation. She has served on the UNOS Liver and Intestine Committee and is actively involved in the field of liver transplantation having received the AST Mentoring Award in 2017. She is a past Board Member and Treasurer of the American Transplantation Society and currently serves Secretary for AASLD. She has served on the Henry Ford Medical Group’s Board of Governors for 9 years and is a current member of the Henry Ford Hospital and Health Network Board for Henry Ford Health System.


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