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National Liver Expert Robert G. Gish, MD, Joins UC San Diego Health System


August 30, 2010  |  

Robert G. Gish, MD, world-renowned hepatologist, has been recruited to the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine to co-direct the Center for Hepatobiliary Disease and Abdominal Transplantation (CHAT) ─ a multidisciplinary program designed to offer adult and pediatric patients in the western United States a single destination for the diagnosis and treatment of liver disease from common to complex.

Robert Gish

Robert G. Gish, MD

“Hepatitis B is a global problem with more than 400 million infected individuals and more than one million deaths occurring as a result of cirrhosis and liver cancer each year,” said Gish, the new Co-director of CHAT, Chief of Clinical Hepatology and Professor of Clinical Medicine. “The UCSD team will not only focus on lifesaving therapies for liver disease but on promoting liver health locally and across continents through multi-lingual health education.”

For more than two decades, Gish has lead an extensive hepatology practice specializing in the care of liver failure, liver transplantation, viral hepatitis and liver cancer. He has served more than 22,000 patients in California and Nevada treating challenging types of liver disease in diverse populations. Gish is recognized in Southeast Asia for establishing a roadmap to improve screening and treatment for, and prevention of liver disease and Hepatitis B in Vietnam. He received the “Humanitarian of the Year” award from the San Francisco-Ho Chi Minh City Sister City Committee for this work.

Gish is a NIH-funded researcher whose work will focus on the epidemiology of liver disease, biomarkers for liver disease and multi-targeted therapies for liver cancer such as protein kinase inhibitors, fibroblast growth factors and iRNA technologies to prevent liver graft rejection. Novel therapies also include bio-artificial liver devices (BAL) as a bridge to transplant for patients suffering from acute liver failure.

“Gish’s international expertise in treating complex liver disease will further elevate UC San Diego as a world-class center for innovative liver care,” said Alan Hemming, MD, Professor of Surgery, Chief of Transplantation and Co-director of CHAT. “Our care is aligned around the patient experience integrating advanced diagnostics, state-of-the-art radiation, experimental medical therapies and novel surgical approaches for liver resection and transplantation.”

As Chief of Clinical Hepatology, Gish joins William Sandborn, MD, who was recently named Division Chief for Gastroenterology in the Department of Medicine. Together, they will bring UC San Diego Health System to the forefront of gastrointestinal medicine.

Prior to UC San Diego, Gish was medical director of the Liver Disease Management and Transplant Program at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, California as well as Division Chief of the Section on Hepatology and Complex Gastroenterology within the Physicians Foundation at California Pacific Medical Center. He is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Nevada in Reno and an Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Gish received his undergraduate training in pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Kansas in Lawrence and his medical degree from the University of Kansas in Kansas City. After graduation, he went on to complete his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and a fellowship in Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology and has the advance Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ) in Liver Transplantation and is a UNOS certified Liver Transplant Physician.

He is a member of the American Association for the Study of the Liver, the American Gastroenterological Association, the American Society of Transplant Physicians, and the International Liver Transplant Society, among others.

Gish has published more than 500 original articles, reviews, abstracts, and book chapters regarding all aspects of liver disease and transplantation and is a widely requested speaker both nationally and internationally. He is fluent in Spanish and Vietnamese.

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Media Contact: Jackie Carr, 619-543-6163,

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