For his service to the College as a leader advancing care for diverse populations, Fritz Francois, MD, MSc,FACG is recognized for his many contributions as an educator and clinician, and his extraordinary efforts in the aftermath of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake. A tenured associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and Chief of Medicine at Tisch Hospital, Dr. Francois demonstrates a commitment to eliminating health disparities and nurturing diversity. Dr. Francois earned a B.A. with commencement speaker honors from NYU College of Arts and Science and completed his medical degree at the NYU School of Medicine, where he stayed for internship, residency, chief residency, and gastroenterology fellowship. He is an academic gastroenterologist whose research interests include esophageal disease, H. pylori, hepatitis C and colorectal cancer screening in minority populations.
Dr. Francois was formally recognized during the College’s Annual Scientific Meeting in Philadelphia earlier this month.
As the associate dean for diversity and academic affairs at the NYU School of Medicine, Dr. Francois led efforts to address health disparities through medical education. These include developing and directing the NYU medical school’s health disparities concentration and founding the Department of Internal Medicine Organization to Nurture Diversity (DIaMOND) to address recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities into the medicine training program.
Dr. Francois has been funded by the NIH, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the American College of Gastroenterology, and the University of Malaya. His many honors include five American Society for GI Endoscopy Diversity Minority Research awards, and in 2010 he was inducted in the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. Additionally, he was recognized by his academic department with the Humanism in Medicine Award, and chosen by The Network Journal for the 40 under 40 Achievement Award. For his work with underserved minority students, Dr. Francois was the recipient of the Academic Champion of Health Award from the National Medical Fellowships, and the Hospital for Joint Disease Frauenthal Award for service to human health following the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. In 2011 Dr. Francois was selected as the recipient of the NYU Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award, and in 2013 he received the New York University Distinguished Teaching Award.
In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake of 2010, Dr. Francois led a multidisciplinary team from NYU Langone Medical Center’s Haitian Effort and Relief Team, returning to Haiti for the first time since leaving his home there at age 10 (See ACG Update feature article on page 6-7, April 2010). In addition to dealing with the aftermath of a catastrophe and basic infrastructure problems, his team had to contend with a medical provision system where patients were already putting off care due to the high cost of healthcare. Faced with these challenges, Dr. Francois and his colleagues worked tirelessly to provide medical care and use the basics of good medicine: taking good medical histories and performing physical exams. In 2012, Haiti’s Consul General presented Dr. Francois with an award in recognition of his dedication and efforts.
Dr. Francois has contributed to the efforts of the American College of Gastroenterology through the ACG’s Minority Affairs Committee since 2006 (chair 2010-2013) as well as the Research Committee from 2009-2011. As part of his efforts as chair of the Minority Affairs Committee, he developed educational programs to enhance the awareness of the health care disparities in minorities, and secured resources, through the College and his committee, to expose underserved young students to opportunities in medicine that may stimulate them to consider a career in medicine and, in particular, gastroenterology. One of these opportunities is the annual high school event coordinated by the Minority Affairs Committee at a local high school in the city hosting the ACG Annual Scientific Meeting.
Past Minority Digestive Health Care Award Recipients
2013 Frank A. Hamilton, MD, MPH, MACG
2008 Abbasi J. Akhtar, MD, FACG
2007 LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., MD, FACG
About the Minority Digestive Health Care Award
This ACG achievement award recognizes an ACG member or fellow whose work in the areas of clinical investigation or clinical practice has improved the digestive health of minorities or other underserved populations of the United States. These efforts can be shown by community outreach activities through clinical or educational programs, or research in an area of digestive disease that negatively impacts minority populations, such as colorectal cancer, hepatitis B and C, cirrhosis and other GI cancers.