Clinical Programs

Inside Stanford Digestive Health - Winter/Spring 2024

Clinical Program Feature

Expansion of our Hepatology Footprint

The GI division is pleased to announce that in the past year,  we have recruited  five hepatologists with a broad range of interests who will be caring for patients throughout the Bay area including  Emeryville, Tri Valley Hospital, and San Jose as well as Redwood City on Palo Alto.

Dr. Howard Masuoka is a board-certified in gastroenterologist and transplant hepatologist. He attended medical school at the University of Alabama Birmingham obtaining an MD, PhD. As part of his PhD research, he developed the ATF4 knockout mouse that is still used worldwide in studying disorders related to cellular stress. He completed a research track gastroenterology fellowship and a transplant hepatology fellowship at Mayo Clinic Rochester. Before coming to Stanford, he was an assistant professor at Indiana University where he was active in basic science research (cell death, autophagy, and ER stress in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease), clinical research, and teaching.  He has received awards for research and teaching. He serves as an expert hepatologist for the Indiana Hepatitis Academic Mentorship Program (HAMP) and Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (Project ECHO), which educate and assist primary care providers in treating hepatitis B and C in the Midwest. His clinical interests include nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)/metabolic dysfunction-associated liver disease (MASLD), hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatic malignancies, obesity, and liver disease related to congenital heart disease, and in educating and assisting primary providers in treating liver disease. He provides care for patients before and after liver transplantation. He has clinics at Stanford Health Care Tri-Valley in Pleasanton, CA, and at Stanford Redwood City.

Dr. R. Warren Sands is a Transplant Hepatologist with a multi-faceted background in the medical field focused on patient centered care and research. Dr. Sands received his MD from Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine and his PhD from Harvard University in Biomedical Engineering. He completed his residency and GI fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  He then completed an additional fellowship in Transplant Hepatology at Mayo Clinic staying on in the Liver Transplant Clinic prior to coming to Stanford. His passion is to improve patient care by bringing together advances in research and technology with traditional clinical medicine to create an advanced, thoughtful, and caring clinical practice and has a special interest in Live Donor Liver Transplant. Dr Sands is seeing patients in Redwood City and Palo Alto.

Dr Nikki Duong is a transplant Hepatologist  who completed medical school at George Washington University School of Medicine, and then went on to Internal Medicine residency training at Georgetown University Medical Center where he was honored for his excellence in medical student education, scholarship, and compassion in clinical care by being awarded the Hugh Hussey Award, William Argy Memorial House Staff Award, and the Donald Knowlan MD Award.  He completed his  fellowship training at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he published over 20 peer-reviewed manuscripts, was an AASLD (American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases) Emerging Liver Scholar and was awarded the "Outstanding Fellow Scholar of the Year Award.". Dr Duong is now based in Emeryville  and also sees patients in Palo Alto.  He strives to provide outstanding evidence-based care to every patient and has been praised for his communication skills, empathy, enthusiasm and bedside manner.  He has an interest in LGBTQ liver health in addition to education. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, singing, and world travel. He is a classically trained singer and previously performed in national honor choirs and a cappella.  He and his husband live a very active lifestyle and can be found working out at Barry's HIIT classes throughout the week.

Dr. Amir Gougol is a transplant hepatologist and gastroenterologist who received his medical education at Tehran University in Iran. He pursued his internal medicine training and a gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He completed his  Transplant Hepatology Fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).  Dr. Gougol has a particular clinical interest in the management of patients with alcohol-related liver disease and metabolic dysfunction-associated liver dysfunction (MASLD). He is also interested in incorporating point-of-care ultrasound in caring for patients with liver disease. He is involved in multiple research projects in the treatment of patients with both alcohol-related and metabolic dysfunction liver dysfunction (Met-ALD) with multiple presentations at national meetings. Dr. Gougol is now seeing patients in our San Jose location and in Palo Alto.

Dr Sajid Jalil is Clinical Associate Professor  and  is a graduate of Aga Khan University Medical College in Pakistan and completed his  Gastroenterology training at the University of Texas Medical Branch, where he  also earned a Masters in Clinical Research.  He completed  a transplant Hepatology Fellowship at Nazhi Zudhi Transplant Institute in Oklahoma. Prior to coming to Stanford, he was on faculty at Ohio State University. His interests are in Transplant Hepatology and therapeutic endoscopy and he will see patients in our San Jose Clinic and in Palo Alto.  His research interests include outcomes research  in transplant Hepatology

In summary, in our ongoing efforts to provide comprehensive liver care, the GI division at Stanford proudly announces the addition of five hepatologists to our team. With diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise, these physicians will extend our footprint throughout the Bay Area, with locations in Emeryville, Tri Valley Hospital, San Jose, Redwood City, and Palo Alto. Their collective commitment to patient-centered care, cutting-edge research, and community outreach underscores our mission to serve the entire region with excellence in liver health. This expansion marks a significant leap forward in our endeavor to provide accessible and high-quality care to all individuals affected by liver disease across the Bay Area.

Liver Transplant News

Advancements and Updates for Stanford's Liver Transplant Program

The liver transplant program at Stanford has continued to excel with 134 liver transplants performed in 2023, a record number for Stanford.   Moreover, the increase in volume has been accompanied by an improved transplant rate (58.4%) and amongst adult liver transplant programs in northern California, Stanford has the highest deceased donor transplant rate.  This measurement also has the largest impact on survival after listing.  In addition, Stanford's observed organ acceptance is significantly higher than expected.  These accomplishments have translated into a significant  reduction in median wait time to transplant with our current median wait time being the shortest of all liver transplant programs in northern California (13.4 months).  In addition to the record number of transplant performed, our survival also continues to improve. Our 1-year graft  (94.87%)and patient (93.36%) survival outcomes are higher than expected and higher than the national average and we achieved similar results for 3-year graft and patient survival (https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/center-data/).  Moreover, our transplant population has a higher percent of high MELD and hospitalized (ICU and non-ICU patients) than the overall region. With the addition of 5 new transplant hepatologists as detailed elsewhere in the newsletter, we are able to rapidly see patients who require evaluation for liver transplantation for cirrhosis, refractory alcoholic hepatitis, and hepatocellular cancer.  To schedule a patient for liver transplant evaluation, you may call 650-498-7878.  If the referral is urgent or an inpatient transfer such as acute liver failure you may call 650-723-4696 and ask for the hepatologist on-call.

In 2023, the Abdominal Transplant Program leadership transitioned to Dr. Marc Melcher from Dr. Carlos Esquivel who has stepped down from this role.  We are indebted to Dr. Esquivel who became Division Chief in 1998 and under his leadership over the past 25 years, has built a world class abdominal transplant program.  Dr. Melcher is a graduate of Columbia University School of Medicine and completed his general surgery training at Stanford University and Liver Transplant Fellowship training at UCSF.  He joined the faculty at Stanford in 2006 and was promoted to Full Professor in 2022.  His areas of research focused on the application of algorithms and advanced technologies to prove access to organ transplantation in areas such as paired exchange programs to optimize life donation in kidney transplant.  He is working to  develop AI algorithms to accurately assess steatosis in donor liver biopsies. He also has in the role of  oxygenated machine perfusion technologies to increase donor utilization and reduce organ discards. Thus, Stanford continues to lead the field in liver transplantation, showcasing remarkable achievements and pioneering research to enhance patient care and outcomes.

How to Refer

If you are outside of Stanford Health Care, there are several ways to refer your patients. Please visit our website for links and details: https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-clinics/ digestive-health-center.html.

1) Refer electronically through our online portal PRISM (Physician Referral Information at Stanford Medicine). https://prism.stanfordhealthcare.org/prism/login/PRISM_User_FAQ.pdf

2) Fax referrals. From the website, you can scroll down to the section “How To Refer”, download the form and fax your request to (650)320-9443.

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Winter/Spring 2024