Get to know Regional Gi’s gastroenterology specialists in this interview series with Lancaster’s premier GI doctors.

Dale Rosenberg, MD

Colon Cancer Screening Saves Lives

Dr. Dale Rosenberg

Dr. Dale Rosenberg
MD: Jefferson Medical College
Internship: Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, PA
Residency: Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, PA
Clinical and Research Fellowship: University of Pennsylvania
Board Certification: Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Many people who develop colorectal cancer have no symptoms during the early stages of the disease, which is why it is often discovered when it is too late. Fortunately, a simple screening colonoscopy can catch colorectal cancer easily and often stop it in its tracks.

The main advantage of a colonoscopy is that we look for polyps, which can lead to cancer.

“The vast majority of polyps don’t cause any symptoms; they just grow silently,” says Dr. Dale Rosenberg, a board-certified internist, gastroenterologist, and medical director at Regional Gi.

“If someone is at average risk, the recommendation is that they start screening at age 50. If they have other colon cancer risk factors like a family history of polyps or colon cancer, they would start sooner, around age 40.”

Due to evidence that African-Americans develop colon cancer at a younger age, they should have their first screening around age 45.

Once a patient has had a colonoscopy, they do not need to have another one for a decade, unless polyps are detected or they experience a change in bowel habits.

Colonoscopies are quick and painless; the procedure generally takes 20-30 minutes. Rosenberg informs patients that the only side effect. they are likely to have when they get home is a bit of mild gas.

“In Lancaster County, the vast majority of colonoscopies are administered with Propofol anesthesia, and the patient is sleeping deeply and generally doesn’t feel anything.”

Rosenberg says less than 60 percent of people who should be screened in Lancaster County are screened regularly, but he hopes more people will be willing to schedule the procedure after learning how simple and essential it is.

Medicare and most insurance companies will cover colonoscopies, which are offered at all area hospitals and three Regional Gi ambulatory surgery centers, located at 2104 Harrisburg Pike, Suite 300, Lancaster; 2112 Harrisburg Pike, Suite 323, Lancaster; and 4140 Oregon Pike, Ephrata.

Rosenberg and the other specialists at Regional Gi would like you to consider that “20-30 minutes of screening could mean many more years of health and happiness.”

For more information regarding colon cancer screening, contact your primary care physician or call Regional Gi at (717) 869-4600, or go online at www.regionalgi.com.

Sadiya Cheshty, MD

Dr. Cheshty on the Women’s Digestive Health Center

Dr. Sadiya Cheshty

Dr. Sadiya Cheshty, Medical Director of the Women’s Digestive Health Center talks about the New Women’s Digestive Health Center and why it’s important for women to stay proactive when dealing with their health issues.

Sadiya Cheshty, MD

Dr. Sadiya Cheshty on the Women’s Specialty Center

Regional Gi Gastroenterologist Lancaster Pa Dr. Sadiya CheshtyDr. Sadiya Cheshty is the Gastroenterology Director at the Women’s Specialty Center. The center focuses on women’s health. The Women’s Specialty Center provides just the right environment for women to discuss their health concerns. It is the only specialty center of its kind in the region, bringing personalized care in one beautiful, spa-like location. The center is exclusively for women, and run by women.

Cheshty uses a holistic approach, incorporating the latest advances in technology, endoscopic procedures and a variety of other therapies including lifestyle modifications to optimize digestive health.

Digestive disorders uniquely affect women. Certain GI disorders like IBS, reflux, and a liver disease called Primary Biliary Cholangitis are more common in women. Although for the most part, anatomically women and men have similar GI tracts, there are some notable differences.

One difference between men and women is the colon. Occasionally colonoscopies are more difficult to perform in women, due to a longer bowel and women tend to have more abdominal surgeries (Caesarean sections and hysterectomies) than men that may cause adhesions or scar tissue. I recommend women begin screening for colon cancer at age 50 and earlier if there is a family history of the disease or they are experiencing warning signs, such as a change in bowel habits, blood in the stool or stomach discomfort.

Gastrointestinal disorders including abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, reflux and irritable bowel syndrome disrupt and interfere with the daily activities and quality of life of many women. Women can suffer from disorders unique to hormonal fluctuations, surgeries, pregnancy and delivery. Each stage of a woman’s life comes with a unique set of experiences and challenges. Women are also more susceptible to pelvic floor disorders, primarily from pregnancy and childbearing. This may lead weakened to pelvic muscles and issues with diarrhea or fecal incontinence.

Hormonal fluctuations may intensify or diminish symptoms of certain GI disorders. Many women suffering from inflammatory bowel disease find relief from their symptoms while they are pregnant, while women who have never suffered from IBD may experience initial symptoms during pregnancy. Some common GI disorders are brought on by hormonally mediated processes. Many women taking birth control pills or during pregnancy can have reflux and nausea. Women being treated for osteoporosis experience intense reflux symptoms.

Fortunately, there are ways to maintain healthy GI function and alleviate digestive health problems. Not smoking, exercising and eating a well balanced diet are all good ways to keep the digestive tract healthy. Avoiding certain foods, including some that are thought of as healthy, can eliminate GI symptoms. In some cases, a minimally invasive office based procedures can provide a diagnosis and treatment.

Most GI disorders are highly treatable and women should be proactive in screening for certain digestive disorders and take control of their digestive health. I encourage women to take a proactive role. I encourage women to seek medical attention and adopt healthy lifestyles promoting wellness and prevention.

Ketan Kulkarni, MD

Heartburn: Normal or Problem?

Ketan Kulkarni, MD

Heartburn is one of the most common digestive symptoms that a person can experience. One in five people have heartburn at least once a month. It is usually described as a burning pain that is located behind the breastbone and can move upward to the throat. Heartburn is one manifestation of GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD occurs when stomach contents or acid flows back into the esophagus.

Occasional heartburn is normal. However frequent or more persistent heartburn can become troublesome and lead to a diagnosis of GERD. Additional manifestations of GERD include regurgitation, difficulty swallowing or sore throat. GERD can also result in esophagitis, chronic cough, hoarseness or even lung problems. Some individuals can have silent reflux, or manifestations of GERD in the absence of classic heartburn. Chronic GERD has been linked to Barrett’s esophagus, a condition in which the normal lining of the esophagus is damaged and can predispose to the development of esophageal cancer. A variety of factors are known to increase the risk for GERD, the most common being obesity, smoking, presence of a hiatal hernia, and pregnancy. It is important to realize that while heartburn is most commonly associated with GERD, heartburn can sometimes also be a symptom of a more serious condition. People may mistake heart related pain for reflux. Worsening heartburn or difficulty swallowing can be a sign of esophageal cancer. Gallstones can also result in symptoms that mimic heartburn. Therefore it is important for individuals with more than occasional heartburn to be evaluated by a doctor.

The most common tests used to evaluate patients with heartburn or symptoms of GERD include a barium esophagram and endoscopy. An esophagram is an x-ray test that allows your doctor to see a silhouette of your esophagus, stomach and upper intestine. An upper endoscopy is an outpatient procedure during which a thin flexible tube with a camera is utilized to directly visualize the upper gastrointestinal tract while one is sedated and comfortable. In some cases pH monitoring in the esophagus is needed to help direct therapy.

Evaluation by a doctor will help to determine if you have any significant consequences as a result of GERD and what treatment should be undertaken. Lifestyle changes such as eating smaller meals, elevating the head of your bed, losing weight, avoiding heavy evening meals and quitting smoking can help control GERD in many people. Foods that are known to trigger heartburn include spicy foods, acidic fruits and vegetables, chocolate, caffeine and fatty foods, to name a few. For patients who have more persistent symptoms, your doctor may recommend medications that reduce stomach acid production. In certain individuals surgery may be an option as well.

If you are experiencing any digestive system issues, please contact your primary care physician, or Regional Gi to schedule an appointment with a Gastroenterologist. Call 869-4600 or visit us at www.Regionalgi.com.

 

Christopher Shih, MD FACG

What is Gut Flora?

Regional Gi gastroenterologist lancaster pa specialist doctor shih

Christopher E. Shih M.D., F.A.C.G.

Lately we’ve been hearing a lot about the importance of the gut flora and its impact on both disease and wellness. Each of us carries an estimated 100 trillion microorganisms in our intestines, a number that is roughly ten times higher than the number of human cells in our bodies. Scientific advances over the past few years have demonstrated that the gut flora can profoundly affect everything from digestive disorders to mental health and obesity.

Like all symbiotic relationships, our gut flora serves many important functions, including digesting energy substrates, stimulating the immune system, synthesizing vitamins, and repressing the overgrowth of harmful microorganisms. Clostridium difficile, an example of one such harmful organism, is normally unable to flourish due to competition from beneficial bacteria. When this is disrupted in some way, like with antibiotic use, it can lead to a potentially life-threatening condition called pseudomembranous colitis. There are numerous examples of the important roles that the gut flora plays in immunity: studies have shown that children with severe allergies have different bacterial compositions than children without allergies. And inflammatory bowel disease, which encompasses ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, while relatively prevalent in developed countries, is virtually unreported in third-world nations. The theory is that excessive hygiene and lack of exposure to microorganisms lead to improper immune system development, and eventually to autoimmune responses that result in inflammation.

Clinically, these observations have resulted in a number of important useful developments. Studies have shown a clear benefit of certain probiotic strains in disorders ranging from irritable bowel syndrome to inflammatory bowel disease to the prevention of superinfections like C. difficile. Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), which is a way of rapidly and massively altering one’s flora, has emerged in recent years as a promising adjunct to the treatment of refractory C. difficile infection. The theory is that the healthy donor’s stool can replace the diseased host’s stool and thus restore a healthy balance to the gut flora.

This balance may also be important for our brains. There’s no question that our mind has a profound influence on our gut function, and recent evidence suggests that it’s not necessarily a one-way street. Our gut flora composition can actually affect our mental health, well-being, and even appetite. A recent article described how obesity in mice can be influenced by which gut flora they’re fed. When mice without their own native flora were fed bacteria from an obese twin, they got fat. When they were fed bacteria from a non-obese twin, they stayed slim.

These fascinating advances hold tremendous promise for the future of not only digestive disorders, but also a wide range of diseases that importantly includes obesity, which is reaching epidemic proportions. As our understanding of this field continues to grow, we hope to acquire more and more tools to better serve our patients, and to potentially cure their disabling and often deadly diseases.

If you are experiencing any digestive system issues, please contact your primary care physician, or Regional Gi to schedule an appointment with a Gastroenterologist.

Christopher Shih, MD FACG

WGAL Features Regional Gi and Dr. Shih

Regional Gi gastroenterologist lancaster pa specialist doctor shihRoughly 3 million people currently suffer from Hepatitis C, a severe viral infection of the liver. If left untreated, sufferers are at risk for Cirrhosis or even cancer. However, new medicinal treatments allow patients to effectively combat this severe liver inflammation.

“Now, we can prescribe a pill a day for twelve weeks with almost no side effects. The cure rates are around 95%,” said Dr. Shih, Regional Gi.

It is important to seek testing and treatment if suffering from Hepatitis C. Please contact Regional Gi for more information. To listen to the rest of Dr. Shih’s interview, please visit WGAL.

Mehul Lalani, MD

Interview with a Doctor | Dr. Lalani

Dr. Mehul J. Lalani specializes in Gastroenterology ; conditions and diseases relative to the digestive system. In this months Interview with a Doctor, Dr. Lalani explains why he became a physician and why he chose gastroenterology as his specialty.

Why did you enter medicine?
“I always wanted to practice in a profession which would contribute something worthwhile to make people’s lives  better. I also enjoyed the challenges along with the rigors of the medical field.”

Why Gastroenterology?
“The interaction with patients along with the procedural aspect of the field has always brought a sense of satisfaction to me. I enjoy the science behind medicine and the constant intellectual challenge.”

What do you enjoy about working at Regional Gi?
“The collegiality amongst the physicians at Regional Gi is remarkable. We collaborate effectively and efficiently to benefit the health of the patient. We genuinely enjoy working together. We all practice humility.”

What are your hobbies outside of work?
“I have been fortunate to have been involved in many competitive sports. I really enjoy playing tennis and golf. I moved to Lancaster 9 years ago. I have a beautiful family which includes my wife and 2 daughters. Lancaster is an exceptional place to raise a family.”

What is your patient care philosophy?
“Take care of patients how you or your family would want to be treated.”

Dale Whitebloom, DO

Interview with a Doctor | Dale Whitebloom D.O.

Dale Whitebloom D.O. 

Dr. Whitebloom is a physician, managing partner, and president at Regional Gi with a special interest in Hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, and disorders of the esophagus.

Dr. Whitebloom reflects on how scientific curiosity, patient-centered care, and the quality of the Regional Gi practice inspires him in his work.

 

 

Why did you go into medicine?
“I have always been interested in science, even since elementary school. I started college as a chemistry major, but couldn’t see myself working in a lab all the time – especially because I like interacting with people. I always saw myself as a people person. Medicine had that perfect combination of science and human interaction. It just clicked – and here I am 25 years later!”

Why Gastroenterology?
“I think that the digestive tract is really fascinating and something you may take for granted. There are many complicated and fascinating diseases that can be involved in the digestive system so it is really interesting from a scientific perspective as well as intellectually stimulating. During my internal medicine and fellowship training, I really enjoyed the procedural focus and felt that it was a strength of mine. You also get that human interaction and build strong relationships with your patients. There aren’t many medical specialties where you get to have these professional combinations.”

What do you enjoy about Regional Gi?
“We have a great group, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a part of it. It’s because we have great facilities, a great group of doctors, great nurse practitioners, and our managers and staff are just phenomenal. I think any patient that comes in can feel that, it permeates the entire organization. We’re focused on quality and doing the right thing for our patients – we want to make them feel comfortable while helping them feel better. I’m proud to just be a small part of all of that.”

What are your hobbies outside of work?
“I love sports; I’m a hockey player and frequently ride bike. I also love working in my yard and gardening. I have an amazing wife who cooks great food—pair that with wine and it makes for a great night. I guess you could say I’m a lucky man.”

What is your patient care philosophy?
“When I was in medical school, another doctor whom I really looked up to gave us the advice of ‘always do what is best for the patient.’ It may seem like such a trite phrase but it’s so true. These days it’s easy to lose track of something so simple. It has always been a driving principle for me as a doctor.”

 

Internship
Chicago Osteopathic Medical Center

Residency
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. JFK Memorial Hospital

Clinical and Research Fellowship
Chicago Osteopathic Medical Center

Board Certification
Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology

Areas of Interest
ERCP, GERD, IBD

Founding Partner, 1995 

Our doctors at Regional Gi are experienced, caring and have a passion for healing. To be able to understand where this passion began, a few of our doctors sat down to share their special interests, patient care philosophy and what it is like working with the entire Regional Gi team.

From an early age, most of our doctors have always been interested in science and healing others which has lead them to choose a life in the medical field. Our doctors have shared the same message: Regional Gi is a great place to practice and working closely with patients is their number one priority.

Richard Elkin, DO

Interview with a Doctor | Richard J. Elkin D.O.

Richard Elkin, DO

Richard J. Elkin D.O.

Dr. Elkin is a physician and founding partner at Regional Gi with a special area of interest in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

A physician for 29 years, Dr. Elkin explains why he entered medicine, why he enjoys working at Regional Gi and a few little known facts about the man behind the scope.

 

 


Why did you enter medicine?
“As a child, I was influenced by my family doctor. He was a friendly, compassionate man who served as a role model for me. I wanted to be just like him some day. During my internship, I met another individual that I looked up to and he led me down the path of gastroenterology.”

What do you enjoy about working at Regional Gi?
“We have a close knit group of doctors, who all share ideas and get along with each other quite well. I feel that I work with a great group of nurses, technicians, secretarial staff as well, and that makes going to work every day pleasurable. There is a wonderful sense of camaraderie at Regional Gi.”

What are your hobbies outside of work?
“I am a crazy one for hobbies.” Dr. Elkin admits. “I love the outdoors and try to spend as much time as I can fishing , cycling, golfing, when I get the opportunity, skiing. I became a fly fisherman over the past few years, and I must admit, I’m hooked!”

What is your patient care philosophy?
“I consider myself a friendly, approachable person. I enjoy sitting and talking with my patients while trying to help them with their health issues. Being examined can make some people anxious, and my hope is to make the process more pleasant. I think everyone at Regional Gi has a similar goal.”

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Internship
Metropolitan Hospital, Central Division, PA

Residency
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Visiting Fellow
Graduate Hospital of University of Pennsylvania and
St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

Clinical and Research Fellowship
JFK Memorial Hospital

Board Certification
Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology

Area of Interest
ERCP, GERD, IBD, IBS

Founding Partner, 1995

DOWNLOAD PDF OF INTERVIEW

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Our doctors at Regional Gi are experienced, caring and have a passion for healing. To be able to understand where this passion began, a few of our doctors sat down to share their special interests, patient care philosophy and what it is like working with the entire Regional Gi team.

From an early age, most of our doctors have always been interested in science and healing others which has lead them to choose a life in the medical field. Our doctors have shared the same message: Regional Gi is a great place to practice and working closely with patients is their number one priority.

Christopher Shih, MD FACG

Dr. Christopher Shih: Award-winning Pianist and Lecturer

Dr. Christopher Shih is not only a board certified gastroenterologist at Regional Gi, he is a lecturer and award winning pianist who has performed the world over.

Dr. Christopher Shih Wins the Sixth International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs

Van Cliburn presents Christopher Shih with the First Place prize for winning the Sixth International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs in Fort Worth, Texas. Source npr.org

Described as “an intelligent and thoughtful musician with effortless performances and consummate control,” by The New York Times, Dr. Shih is the winner of the Sixth Sixth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for Amateurs in 2011. Previous awards include the Paris Concours International de Grandes Amateurs de Piano in 2008, the Boston International Piano Competition for Exceptional Amateurs in 2007, and the Washington International Piano Amateurs Competition in 2006.

Dr. Shih has collaborated with various festival orchestras and symphonies, as well as worked with the Grammy winning Pacifica Quartet. Dr. Shih’s talent has been featured on various television and radio programs such as NPR’s All Things Considered, APM’s Performance Today, WGBH’s Inner Voice, and Radio France.

Recently, Dr. Shih was invited to present, as well as perform, at the 7th Annual Entertainment Gathering Conference where he spoke about the impact of a healthy lifestyle on functional digestive disorders.

The EG Conference, similar to the well-known TED Conference, is a symposium of the “most industrious and iconoclastic talents of our time.” Dr. Shih was invited as a leading gastroenterologist and an internationally-recognized concert pianist. The focus of his speech was on treating functional digestive disorders with a holistic approach, emphasizing that a healthy diet, exercise and activities that are mentally and spiritually fulfilling can have an impact of the quality of life.

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There’s No Magic Pill: Supplementing a Healthy Lifestyle
Preview from EG on FORA.tv

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More information about Dr. Shih, music samples and videos are available on his website.

For your chance to see Dr. Shih perform, attend the Lancaster International Piano Festival at the Ware Center, on Sunday, July 21, 2013. More information is available at the Lancaster International Piano Festival website.

Watch Christopher Shih’s Finals Performance recorded June 23rd 2011 below.