As its team of professionals expands to meet the growing volume and needs of patients, the interventional endoscopy group at Mount Sinai is steadfastly in tune with gender equity. In addition to naming women and minority members to leadership roles within its organization, the physicians in the Dr. Henry D. Janowitz Division of Gastroenterology have authored a host of high-visibility studies focused on gender dynamics in areas such as advanced endoscopy, medical education, mentorship, and pregnancy and the working gastroenterologist.
“Diversity, equity, and inclusion are integral aspects of our academic and clinical work, and critical to providing the best possible patient care,” says Nikhil A. Kumta, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Medicine (Gastroenterology) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and System Director of Interventional Endoscopy. “Because our field needs to do a better job of recruiting top talent, I’m glad that these issues are getting increased attention from medical institutions and beyond. Our team is determined to be among the leaders in training and supporting women and underrepresented minorities.”
Indeed, at a time when an estimated 82 percent of gastroenterologists in the country are male, Mount Sinai stands as a trailblazer with 9 of its 12 GI fellowship positions currently filled by women (two years ago, the number was 12 out of 12). Moreover, Yakira David, MBBS, recently became the first female fellow to graduate from the program’s prestigious fourth year of fellowship training in advanced endoscopy. She also served as the lead author of two major studies: one on gender-specific factors impacting gastroenterologists in their decision to pursue careers in advanced endoscopy, and another examining the perceptions, realities, and systemic challenges of pregnancy on the working gastroenterologist.
Dr. Kumta also takes pride in the appointment of Julie Yang, MD, who joined the interventional endoscopy faculty in August, to Director of Endoscopic GI Cancer Services and Outreach. In this key role, Dr. Yang will spearhead efforts to expand screening and early detection of GI cancers, particularly gastric cancer. And in July, Satish Nagula, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine (Gastroenterology), was named Director of the Gastroenterology Fellowship Program, taking the reins from Steven Itzkowitz, MD, who headed up the effort for 23 years and was a recognized champion of gender dynamics.
The interventional endoscopy group’s success in gender equity was acknowledged in 2022 by the Women in Endoscopy (WIE) organization, which recognized Dr. Kumta with its #HeforWIE Male Ally Award—an honor the Director attributes to the work of his entire team.
On the clinical side, Mount Sinai has emerged as one of the leading (and highest-volume) interventional endoscopy programs in the country, offering an array of minimally invasive endoscopic options for the management of esophageal diseases, precancerous and cancerous lesions of the GI tract, and obesity. “Because of the innovative techniques our clinicians use,” notes Dr. Kumta, “we’re able to achieve excellent outcomes for our patients.”
Nikhil Kumta, MD, MS
Associate Professor of Medicine (Gastroenterology)