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Dr Vargo received his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and completed his internal medicine residency training at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He then completed gastroenterology and hepatology fellowships at the Cleveland Clinic and received training in advanced endoscopy at the same institution.
After fulfilling a 3-year commitment in the United States Navy while stationed at Bethesda National Naval Medical Center as director of endoscopy and consultant in gastroenterology for the United States Capitol, he returned to the Cleveland Clinic in the section of advanced endoscopy. During his tenure, Dr Vargo developed a keen interest in clinical research. After securing a career development award from the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) and the American Digestive Health Foundation, Dr Vargo obtained a Master of Public Health degree from Case Western University. This turned out to be a transformational event, which led to the development of numerous endoscopic research projects focusing on clinical outcomes, quality, and cost-effectiveness. This resulted in the publication of over 250 articles in the peer-reviewed literature.
Dr Vargo served as chair of the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and vice chair for the Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute for 8 years. He also served as president of the Cleveland Clinic’s medical staff and sat on the institution’s Board of Governors. He is currently the director of Enterprise Endoscopy Operations, director of Endoscopic Research and Innovation, and head of the Section of Advanced Endoscopy.
He has lectured and performed endoscopic demonstrations around the globe and has been honored with fellowships in 3 international gastroenterology societies. He has been invited faculty for numerous courses for ASGE and has been co-director of ASGE’s annual postgraduate course twice. He has held numerous positions in ASGE, including chair of the Training Committee. During his tenure, the committee was able to develop an advanced endoscopy training directory and began development of the forerunner of the advanced endoscopy match program.
Dr Vargo served as president of ASGE from 2019 to 2020. During this entropic time of the COVID-19 pandemic, he led the society through a transition to a virtual education and communications platform, which ensured that information on the COVID-19 pandemic was expediently distributed via weekly webinars, fast-tracked articles in GIE, and expedient practice guidelines that were co-authored with ASGE’s sister societies. During his presidency, the entire framework of ASGE’s educational mission was reframed and crystallized to meet the needs of gastroenterologists in the United States and around the world.
Dr Vargo has trained a multitude of general gastroenterology and advanced endoscopy fellows over the years, who are now scattered around the United States and throughout the world. He is a perennial Top Doctors and Best Doctors in America selection. Dr Vargo received teacher-of-the-year awards from his gastroenterology fellows a total of 5 times over his career. Areas of interest in his practice include ERCP, EUS, the treatment of Barrett’s esophagus, artificial intelligence, and the development of endoscopic devices.