Meet the master| Volume 4, ISSUE 3, P102-107, March 2019

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Sidney J. Winawer, MD, Dr Sc (Hon), FASGE, MACG, AGAF

        Dr Sidney J. Winawer (Author photo 1, Author photo 2, Author photo 3, Author photo 4, Author photo 5, Author photo 6, Author photo 7, Author photo 8, Author photo 9, Author photo 10, Author photo 11, Author photo 12, Author photo 13, Author photo 14, Author photo 15, Author photo 16, Author photo 17, Author photo 18; Video 1, available online at is internationally recognized for his contributions to the prevention and diagnosis of colorectal cancer, describing the developmental stages of colorectal cancer, defining familial high-risk groups, promoting screening, and demonstrating the reduction in incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer by the removal of adenomatous polyps through his leadership of the National Polyp Study. This led to the concept of screening colonoscopy, which was introduced by the 1997 U.S. GI Consortium Guidelines Committee (later the U.S. Multisociety Task Force), which he co-chaired.
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        Author photo 1Aboard the USS Torsk when in the U.S. Air Force (bottom row, second from right).
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        Author photo 2Graduation from SUNY Downstate Medical School in 1956.
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        Author photo 3I cofounded the Israel Cancer Research Foundation in 1974 with Memorial Sloan Kettering oncologist Dr Dan Miller. The organization provides the largest support of cancer research in Israel.
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        Author photo 4With my wife Andrea and our first child at the beach.
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        Author photo 5Looking through a “teaching attachment” while supervising a colonoscopy by a GI fellow, before the days of video endoscopy.
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        Author photo 6My GI Fellowship mentor, Dr Norman Zamcheck, Chief of the Harvard Division GI Service.
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        Author photo 7The memoir I wrote after my wife’s death from cancer in 1994 at age 49. It was a tragic loss for me and our 3 kids.
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        Author photo 8At the microphone on a “Call to action” radio tour after the 1997 Colorectal Cancer Guidelines in Gastroenterology by the GI consortium (ASGE, AGA, ACG), which later became the U. S. Multisociety Task Force on Colorectal Cancer. I chaired it from 1997 to 2006 and was a member until 2012.
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        Author photo 9With Bob Kurtz in the Memorial Sloan Kettering endoscopy unit. He was the Director of the unit and succeeded me as Service Chief.
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        Author photo 10Audience with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican, inaugurating the International Digestive Cancer Alliance in 2003.
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        Author photo 11In my white coat, as Chief of the Gastroenterology and Nutrition Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
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        Author photo 12Awarded Paul Sherlock Chair in 1991.
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        Author photo 13Giant colon at World Gastroenterology Organization Montreal World Congress of Gastroenterology, with friend and colleague, Dr Angela Habr-Hama, an outstanding Brazilian colorectal cancer surgeon.
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        Author photo 14Front page of The New York Times reporting on National Polyp Study 20-year follow-up in the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrating a mortality reduction after colonoscopic polypectomy, accompanied by the editorial “A Test in Time.”
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        Author photo 15Gastroenterology Nutrition and Hepatology Service (2012).
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        Author photo 16Medical school 50-year anniversary dinner.
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        Author photo 17With my wife Barbara in Botswana.
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        Author photo 18My extended family at one of our many gatherings.
        Dr Winawer was Chief of the Gastroenterology-Nutrition service and Chairman of the Cancer Prevention and Cancer Control Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering for 20 years and Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. He initiated the Integrative Medicine Program and was head of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for the Prevention of Colorectal Cancer. He is an Emeritus Attending Physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
        Dr Winawer has received many research grants; has published more than 400 research articles, reviews, and book chapters; and has been an international leader in colorectal cancer screening. He has earned many awards, including the Memorial Sloan Kettering Alumni Award; the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) Master Award; Distinguished Achievement Awards from the ACG and the American Gastroenterology Association (AGA) for distinguished contributions to gastroenterology; the Rudolf V. Schindler Award from the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy in recognition for his contributions to the fields of gastroenterology, GI endoscopy, and GI malignancy; the Fiterman Award by the AGA for Achievement in Clinical Research; the American Cancer Society/American Society of Clinical Oncology Award; the John Wayne Clinical Research Award from the Society of Surgical Oncology; the Laurel Award for International Leadership from the Cancer Research & Prevention Foundation; the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Prevent Cancer Foundation; a recognition award for service to New York City from the Commissioner of Health; an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from SUNY-Downstate Medical Center; the Israel Cancer Research Foundation Founders Award; and, recently, the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor for Cancer Control. He has been the editor of textbooks on colorectal cancer and coauthor of Cancer Free, a book on cancer prevention written for the general public. His book, Healing Lessons, written after his wife Andrea’s death, was reviewed by The New York Times and has been translated into several languages. Dr Winawer helped Katie Couric plan, and appeared on, the NBC Colorectal Cancer series and also participated in the White House Colorectal Cancer Campaign kickoff in 1999.
        After completing a GI fellowship on the Harvard Service of Boston City Hospital, Dr Winawer served as a faculty member of Harvard Medical School. He belongs to numerous professional societies and has served as the President of the American College of Gastroenterology, was a founder of the New York Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and was Co-Chair of the New York Citywide Colorectal Cancer Control Coalition (C5). He was Co-Chair of the International Digestive Cancer Alliance, which has initiated a worldwide campaign to increase awareness and prevention of digestive cancers. The Alliance was launched at the Vatican, with support by the late Pope John Paul II, and is in collaboration with major world GI societies. Dr Winawer has homes in New York City and East Hampton with his wife, Barbara, and has 3 children and 5 grandchildren. He partakes of many New York cultural opportunities, especially opera, and enjoys several outdoor activities. Dr Winawer has a strong identification with Judaism and Israel and is very involved with his synagogue and with the Israel Cancer Research Fund.


        The author disclosed no financial relationships relevant to this publication.

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