Local Gastroenterologist Presented with Distinguished Service Award

First and Only Pediatric Gastroenterologist Ever to Receive the Major International Award

Friday, November 30, 2007

CINCINNATI - William Balistreri, MD, former director of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, is the first and only pediatric gastroenterologist in nearly three decades to win the Distinguished Service Award by the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) during the Presidential Plenary I at The Liver Meeting on November 5, 2007.

The Distinguished Service Award is similar to a lifetime achievement award, and the highest bestowed by the AASLD, a leading organization for liver disease, health and research worldwide.

"The AASLD was privileged to honor Dr. Balistreri with its distinguished service award in honor of his enormous scientific contributions to the diagnosis and management of children with liver diseases, his tireless advocacy for children with liver diseases, and his life-long engagement in AASLD committees and meetings, and with its governing board, including having served as its president," said Gregory Gores, MD, current president of AASLD and Reuben R. Eisenberg Professor of Medicine and Physiology and Chair of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Balistreri joined Cincinnati Children's in 1978, when he also was named associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine. In 1984, Balistreri was named Dorothy M. Kersten Professor of Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's. In 1991, he was appointed professor of medicine at UC. From 1980 to 2005, he served as director of the division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. Dr. Balistreri stepped down as director after 25 years to lead the Pediatric Liver Care Center, the Liver Transplantation Program and become associate chair for subspecialty training for the Department of Pediatrics.

"The national recognition of Dr. Balistreri's many contributions to the field of liver disease in general, and to liver disease in children in particular, comes as no surprise to me," said Jorge Bezerra, MD, researcher and clinician in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Cincinnati Children's. "He has done the same right here at Cincinnati Children's through tireless teaching and unwavering commitment to innovation. These qualities formed the foundation for the creation of the Pediatric Liver Center, for the growth of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, and for the training of many pediatricians. His thorough knowledge of liver diseases and the drive to pursue new discoveries have inspired me for the past 17 years, and many other former trainees that now shape the field through ongoing commitment to research, education, and improved care."

At Cincinnati Children's and UC he has authored more than 450 publications, including original articles, editorials, reviews and chapters. He has edited and co-edited several books, including the first multi-authored text on pediatric hepatology and liver disease. He has helped to clarify the understanding of many aspects of pediatric hepatology, particularly in the areas of bile acid metabolism, neonatal cholestasis, hepatitis and liver transplantation. He has served as editor of the Journal of Pediatrics and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.

In addition to being the first pediatrician to serve as president of AASLD, Dr. Balistreri is or has been a member of numerous prestigious, scholarly societies, including the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) (President 1982-84), Children's Digestive Health and Nutrition Foundation (President 2005-present), American Board of Pediatrics (Sub-board Chair 1991-93, and Board of Director 1991-97 and 2000-03), and the American Liver Foundation (Board of Directors 1980-83). He has also served on various committees and study groups in review of grants with the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, and others.

Dr. Balistreri has received awards from many prestigious societies, including the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (1995), the Andrew Sass-Kortsak Memorial Award from the Canadian Liver Foundation and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver (1998), the Murray Davidson Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section of Gastroenterology and Nutrition (1999), the Schwam Award from NASPGHAN (1999), the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Buffalo, the Founders Award from the Cincinnati Pediatric Society (1999), the Outstanding Pediatrician of the Year 2001 from the Ohio Chapter of the AAP, and the Daniel Drake Medal from the University of Cincinnati.

"We are very proud of the research contributions that Dr. Balistreri has made to the field of pediatric hepatology and of the wonderful care he has provided for many years to his patients," said David Stern, MD, dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. "This award speaks volumes in recognizing his groundbreaking work and his dedication to improving the care of children everywhere."

About Cincinnati Children's

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, one of the leading pediatric research institutions in the nation, is dedicated to changing the outcome for children throughout the world. Cincinnati Children's ranks second among all pediatric institutions in the United States in grants from the National Institutes of Health. It has an established tradition of research excellence, with discoveries including the Sabin oral polio vaccine, the surfactant preparation that saves the lives of thousands of premature infants each year, and a rotavirus vaccine that saves the lives of hundreds of thousands of infants around the world each year. Current strategic directions include the translation of basic laboratory research into the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of disease, and furthering the development of personalized and predictive medicine. Additional information can be found at

About UC Medical Center

Founded in 1819, the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine is the second-oldest public medical school in the country and the oldest west of the Alleghenies. The college has more than 1,300 faculty members and nearly 1,300 medical and graduate students. Deeply involved in research, the college and the affiliated Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center received $256.4 million in research funding in 2006. Patient care is provided by UC Physicians, a 500-member faculty group practice, and various faculty private-practice groups at University Hospital, the college's primary teaching hospital, and other area hospitals.


As the leading organization focused solely on advancing the science and practice of hepatology, AASLD offers scientific educational symposia developed by leading hepatologists. The AASLD represents more than 3,000 physicians, researchers and allied hepatology health professionals. Each event offers Continuing Medical Education (CME) and features expert speakers presenting the finest data in the most current and critical topics of liver disease. Only AASLD events meet the increasing demand of hepatology's growing importance as a medical specialty by providing participants the opportunity to exchange research, discuss outcomes, and interact with colleagues focused on liver and biliary diseases.

About The Liver Meeting

AASLD's Annual Meeting- the premier event in the science and practice of hepatology where the cutting edge in the study and treatment of liver and biliary diseases is defined. The more than 2,000 abstracts submitted undergo an extensive, blinded peer-review process to identify the best selection for presentation in both poster and oral sessions. With four and a half days of courses and workshops, plenary, parallel and poster sessions, scientific exhibits and state-of-the-art lectures, The Liver Meeting meets a wide range of professional needs.

Contact Information

Amy Caruso