Akwi W. Asombang, MD, MPH - Course Co-Director

Dr. Akwi W. Asombang is an interventional gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard Medical School. She is the Director of Global Health Programs in Gastroenterology at MGH. She completed her advanced endoscopy fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medicine Center (BIDMC), Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. She completed her gastroenterology fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri and a Fogarty International Clinical Research fellowship. Prior to her fellowships she completed a combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics residency at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri and her MPH at Saint Louis University School of Public Health. She is a graduate of Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, India. Her professional interests are endoscopy (ERCP/EUS), gastrointestinal cancers, medical education, and global health.

Her travels around the world, upbringing, and interaction with various populations led her to form the Pan-African Organization for Health, Education and Research (POHER) to tackle the problems faced by most of the African communities. POHER is a non-governmental organization (NGO) with a focus on the soundness of the health sector as the cornerstone of social and economic development of all African countries. She is also the founder of The African Association of Future gastroenterologists (AAFG). AAFG aims to provide a platform for mentorship, networking and collaboration for medical students and doctors interested in gastroenterology and hepatology in Africa.

Muktar Ahmad, MD - Course Co-Director

Dr. Mukhtar Datti Ahmad is a Consultant Colorectal Surgeon and Lead Clinician for Colorectal Surgery at the University Hospitals Dorset, UK. His main clinical area of interest is robotic surgery for rectal cancer. He teaches minimal invasive surgery in the UK and Nigeria. He is passionate about safer surgery particularly in resource-challenged areas.

Ganiyat Oyeleke, MD - Course Co-Director

Dr. Ganiyat Kikelomo Oyeleke is a consultant physician, gastroenterologist and hepatologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos, Nigeria. A 1995 medical graduate of the prestigious University of Ilorin, Nigeria, she was awarded the Internal Medicine Fellowship of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria in 2009. Prior to joining the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) in 2015, she worked as a consultant physician and gastroenterologist at the General Hospital, Broad Street Lagos for 5 years. She has attended various local and international trainings, courses and conferences, and she has published in peer reviewed journals, given talks and presentations on the liver and gastrointestinal disorders at many local and international meetings. She is an examiner for the National Post Graduate Medical College of Nigeria. She is a fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), a member of Society for Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Nigeria (SOGHIN), European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), American College of Physician, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM). She is actively involved in medical education at work and in her community. She is the coordinator of the World Gastroenterology Organization-Lagos Training Center, a co-director of the Lagos Viral Hepatitis ECHO (a branch of the Sub-Saharan Project ECHO), and an AAFG (African Association of Future Gastroenterologist) mentor. She is a loving wife and mother and loves to spend quality time with her larger family when not at work.

Lewis Banda, MD - Bio TBD

Carol Burke, MD

Dr. Burke has been a faculty member of the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio since finishing her GI fellowship there in 1993. She is the past Vice chair of the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and holds joint appointments in the Department of Colorectal Surgery and the Taussig Cancer Institute. She is the Director of the section of polyposis and Program Director for the newly incepted “Carol A. Burke, MD- Sheetz Family Fellowship in Hereditary Gastrointestinal Cancer” in the Weiss Center for hereditary colorectal neoplasia at the Cleveland Clinic. The majority of her professional time is spent performing clinical research and providing clinical care for patients with sporadic and hereditary gastrointestinal cancer predisposition.

She has had 23 years of continual external research funding through NCI, NIH, DOD, and the American College of Gastroenterology to perform research, the majority of which focuses on chemoprevention of colorectal neoplasia in both the hereditary GI cancer syndrome and sporadic adenoma patients. She has published over 230 peer reviewed publications including numerous guidelines. She is also a reviewer for many journals including GUT, Gastroenterology, Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Endoscopy, Lancet Gastroenterology and PlosOne, to name a few.

Dr. Burke enjoys teaching trainees and other medical professionals about colorectal polyps and cancer and hereditary gastrointestinal cancer and is frequently an invited visiting professor and lecturer.

She is a past president of two organizations, the American College of Gastroenterology and the Collaborative Group of the Americas on Inherited Gastrointestinal Cancer (CGA) and is honored to receive the CGA Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in hereditary GI cancer.

Dr. Burke is currently a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCC) familial/hereditary CRC guideline subcommittee and the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) representative to the US Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer. She is also currently a member of the Scientific Programs Committee for the World Gastroenterology Organization and my Department’s representative to the Women’s Leadership Council in the Digestive Disease Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

She enjoys traveling, biking, hiking, gardening, yoga, and visiting her identical twin daughters in Pittsburgh, PA and Columbus, OH

David Epstein, MD

David is from Durban, a city on South Africa’s east coast. He graduated from the University of Cape Town Medical School in 1990, obtained his fellowship in Internal Medicine at Groote Schuur Hospital in 2002 and his fellowship in Gastroenterology in 2005. He was awarded the AS Little Fellowship completed part of his GI training at the Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre, Amsterdam. David has an Honorary Senior Lecturer appointment in the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town.

He has been in full time gastroenterology practice at the Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town since 2008. He has an interest in IBD care and has developed a multi-disciplinary practice treating children, adolescents and adults with IBD.

David founded the non-profit organisation IBD Africa in 2019 which has a mandate to improve the care of people living with IBD in sub-Saharan Africa through research, education and advocacy. Part of this initiative includes the IBD Africa Registry.

Leolin Katsidzira, MBChB, FRCP, PhD

Dr. Leolin Katsidzira (Leo) is a consultant gastroenterologist at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe, and a member of faculty in the Department of Medicine at the University of Zimbabwe. He did his undergraduate, and specialist training in internal medicine at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare, Zimbabwe, and a fellowship in gastroenterology at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. His PhD thesis was on the epidemiology, and genetics of colorectal cancer in African populations. He currently runs the gastroenterology unit at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare and his main research interests are in the interplay of diet, the environment, the gut microbiota, and mucosal immunity in the development of colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and environmental enteropathy in Africa. He maintains a research interest in chronic Hepatitis B in Africa and is interested in the development of clinical and academic gastroenterology in Africa. He is the current President of the National Physicians Association of Zimbabwe, and a council member of the East, Central and Southern Africa College of Physicians (ECSACOP).  

Segun Komolafe, MD - Course Co-Director

Segun Komolafe is a General & Colorectal Surgeon working at University Hospital Wishaw, just outside Glasgow, and is the current NHS Lanarkshire Clinical Lead for Colorectal Cancer. He studied Medicine at Glasgow University, graduating in 1999. Whilst at University, he also undertook an intercalated degree (BSc) in Parasitology. He then trained in general surgery in the west of Scotland, specialising in colorectal surgery. He gained further international training with a Laparoscopic fellowship at Barretos Cancer Hospital, Barretos / São Paulo, Brazil, before being appointed a Consultant in Wishaw in 2012. More recently, he completed further training in Robotic Surgery in 2021. His current practice includes Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery for Benign and Malignant Colorectal Disease, as well as Emergency General Surgery. He also has an extensive endoscopic practice, participates in the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme, and routinely undertakes therapeutic endoscopic and colonoscopy procedures.

Segun is an active member of the NHS Scotland Global Citizenship programme, and has helped with surgical courses and training in Brazil, Malawi and Nigeria. He is on the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh’s teaching faculty for the Non-Operative Technical Skills for Surgeons Course, with a particular interest in delivering NOTSS training in resource-limited clinical contexts. He is also a former College Tutor of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. He is an Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow, and is Surgical Lead for Undergraduate Medical Students Teaching at UH Wishaw.

Meir Mizrahi, MD, FASGE

Dr. Mizrahi is an accomplished gastroenterologist and researcher. He completed medical school at Bologna School of Medicine in Italy and internal medicine residency training at the Hadassah Medical Center in Israel- Hebrew university. He then went on to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for his gastroenterology fellowship and advanced endoscopy fellowship.

His experience includes serving as a professor of internal medicine at the Hadassah School of Medicine at Hebrew University in Israel and Director of Advanced Endoscopy Center and fellowship at the University of South Alabama in Mobile Alabama. Dr. Mizrahi is currently serving as the advanced endoscopy fellowship program director at Florida Center for Gastroenterology. He continues to publish in numerous peer-reviewed journals, medical reviews and case reports.

Dr. Mizrahi provides comprehensive care of the gastrointestinal tract and liver. He performs routine endoscopy and colonoscopy, as well as advanced procedures including ERCP – cholangioscopy and loco-regional treatment for biliary and pancreatic malignancies, diagnostic and interventional EUS, EMR, ESD and third lumen endoscopy.

Abdi hakin Mohamed, MD

Dr. Abdi hakin Mohamed is the chief of the Department of Surgery at Aga Khan Hospital in Mombasa, Kenya. He also acts as a COSECSA trainer & lecturer at the Coast General Hospital. He is also involved in training & education on colorectal cancer management in Kenya, especially Laparoscopic colorectal surgery.He completed his surgical residency at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, and his surgical oncoloogy fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. His interests include Colorectal Surgery, and Hepatopancreaticobiliary surgery.

Christian Ntizimira, MD

Dr. Christian Ntizimira is Founder/Executive Director of the African Center for Research on End-of-Life Care (ACREOL), a non-profit organization to bring socio-cultural equality through “Ubuntu in End-of-life Care” in Africa. He is a Fulbright Alumni and graduated from Harvard Medical School, department of Global Health and Social Medicine. Dr. Ntizimira is also an Alumni from the Kofi Annan Global Health Leadership programme, which aims to bring selected Africans to strategize, manage and lead public health programmes that will transform public health in Africa.

Dr. Ntizimira is the winner of the prestigious Tällberg-Stervos Niarcos Foundation-Eliasson Global Leadership Prize 2021, for his passionate advocacy for palliative care in Rwanda and elsewhere in Africa, based on his deeply held belief that dignified end-of-life care is a human right. He pioneered integration of palliative care and end of life care into health services rendered to Rwandan cancer patients and in the community settings. In 2011, he received a fellowship award to study palliative care education and practice in the United States of America at Harvard Medical School’s Center for Palliative Care. He also trained as an African Pain Policy Expert at the University of Wisconsin. Ntizimira was named Young Cancer Leader by the Union for International Cancer Control in 2016 and Distinguished Young Leader by the Harvard Global Health Catalyst in 2017.

In 2018 he became the first advocacy/policy champion among extraordinary individuals are making a significant contribution to developing palliative care in low- and middle-income countries for World Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA). From 2010–13, he was the director of Kibagabaga Hospital in Kigali. He has advised several governments on national palliative care policy, including Burundi, Rwanda and Senegal, on access to palliative care services. Ntizimira graduated in medicine from the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Rwanda.

Emeka Ray-Offor, MD

Clinical Research Fellow, Department of Colorectal Surgery, Ellen Leifer Shulman and Steven Shulman Digestive Disease Center Cleveland Clinic, Florida, USA | Consultant Surgeon, Colorectal & Minimal Access Surgery Unit, Department of Surgery University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital Port Harcourt Rivers State Nigeria | Senior Lecturer, Department of Surgery Faculty of Clinical Sciences University of Port Harcourt Choba |CEO/ Principal Consultant, Oak Endoscopy and Radiodiagnostics  Centre Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.

Harlan Rich, MD, FACP, AGAF

A member of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University faculty since 1992, Dr. Rich received his MD at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Boston City Hospital and his Fellowship Training at Brown Medical School. He has served as Chief of the Gastroenterology Section at the Providence VAMC and Director of Endoscopy at Rhode Island Hospital, and is currently the Medical Director of the Brown Medicine Endoscopy Unit and Director of the GI Clinic at Rhode Island Hospital, Clinical Director of the Division of Gastroenterology at Brown Medicine, and Quality Director for the Gastroenterology Division. He is section leader of the Alpert Medical School second year GI Pathophysiology course, teaches third- and fourth-year students in the Medical and Longitudinal Clerkships, is a former Chair of the Medical School Curriculum Committee, and is actively involved in training Internal Medicine Residents and GI Fellows. Research interests have included understanding signal transduction in smooth muscle dysfunction in esophagitis, visceral hypersensitivity, image enhanced endoscopic evaluation of colonic polyps, polyp detection rates in endoscopy, use of CT angiography in lower GI bleeding, use of computer assisted sedation for endoscopy, studies on interventions to improve colorectal cancer screening outcomes, and utilization of anesthesia resources in endoscopy. Clinical interests include Clinical Esophagology with an emphasis on gastroesophageal reflux disease, esophageal motility disorders and Barrett's esophagus, as well as general gastroenterology (including colorectal cancer screening, peptic ulcer disease, and irritable bowel syndrome). He has worked to expand the role of technology in clinical gastroenterology via the use of ambulatory telemetric pH, capsule endoscopy devices, computer-assisted personalized sedation, and Artificial Intelligence applications in capsule endoscopy.

Sandie Thomson, ChM, FRCS(Eng&Ed), FRCP(Ed) MBChB

Sandie was born in North East Scotland, a location in the middle of great golf courses and the best non-triple distilled whisky in the world. At age 16, he enrolled at Aberdeen University, the oldest English-speaking medical school in the world, founded in 1495. He played snooker, golf and flew chipmunks, as he took up an RAF medical cadetship.  He was awarded a distinction in Psychiatry, scraped through Surgery and married Margaret on graduation day on 12 July 1975. He has spent most of his time in exotic locations in the “Midlands of England” learning his general surgery trade in RAF Hospitals.

By the age of 27 , he had passed his FRCS both north and south of the border. He left the RAF in 1981 as a Squadron Leader, and returned to his alma mater to do paediatric surgery and research. Surgical nutrition research at Harvard led to the award of his ChM in 1986. Unable to get a job in UK, he set off to the University of Natal, South Africa for a year and stayed. He started publishing in trauma and became interested in the use of rigid and flexible endoscopy. His current citation H-index is 26. He established the UKZN Surgical Gastroenterology Unit in 2006, and became involved in the surgical training and tele-education activities of the World Gastroenterology Organisation. After two decades in Durban, he was appointed to the Chair of Medical Gastroenterology in Cape Town. During this time, he became interested the theory and practice of training endoscopy in South Africa and Africa. This is now his retirement pastime.    

Pharidah Rajan Ibrahim Omar Sundi - Moderator

Pharidah Rajan Ibrahim Omar Sundi is a 2023 POHER Scholar. She is a Medical Student at Lusaka Apex Medical University Zambia, Southern Africa.