In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Louis J. Wilson, MD, FACG, temporarily closed his practice, filled his truck with gas cans and medical supplies, and drove to Houston with his wife, Julie, to assist first responders and the public alike. The two volunteered at the Houston Convention Center and later offered medical services at a Harris County medical clinic. For this and many other humanitarian efforts over nearly 20 years, Dr. Wilson is the recipient of the 2018 ACG Community Service Award.
Dr. Wilson, who is Managing Partner of Wichita Falls Gastroenterology Associates in Wichita Falls, TX, has had a passion for effective disaster relief throughout his career. He has acted as medical director or participant in numerous disaster relief efforts including the 2001 Hurricane Mitch in Central America, the 2005 tsunami in Eastern Sri Lanka, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and Hurricane Harvey. While filming a pilot for a proposed television series, “Relief Nation,” he personally interviewed and filmed the efforts of dozens of humanitarians doing a wide range of work. From 2010-2013, he participated in the Haiti Medical Relief and Relief Nation Docu-Series, in order to educate others and highlight the humanitarian efforts performed throughout Haiti. Dr. Wilson was a Medical Director in Sri Lanka in 2005, operating five refugee camps. These experiences have informed his view that the most effective humanitarian responses are those that temporarily support recovery and then encourage rather than replace local actions by those most intimately affected.
For more than two decades, Dr. Wilson has been in practice in Wichita Falls and has authored dozens of scientific posters and papers. He has been active in the College, including his current service as Chair of the Practice Management Committee and, in 2016 and 2017, as Director of the ACG Practice Management Course. He is the current President-Elect of the Texas Society of Gastroenterology and Endoscopy.
Dr. Wilson received his BS from Texas A&M University and his MD from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and was then a National Cancer Institute Fellow in Nutrition Science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center. Dr. Wilson completed his Fellowship in Gastroenterology and Hepatology also at UAB in 1997. His research interests focus on patient engagement systems and the development of novel acoustic sampling devices for the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea. Other important research activities include the development of data-derived optimized dosing strategies for physiciandirected moderate sedation. This interest was the basis for establishing OptasistTM, LLC, to create training and decision-support tools for providers of sedation for endoscopy. Dr. Wilson’s business accomplishments include, among others, patented inventions and successful medical facilities. After being introduced to the film business in 2006, Wilson established Merit Pictures, LLC, which has produced several award-winning films.
ABOUT THE ACG COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD
The Community Service Award is bestowed upon an ACG Allied Health Member, Resident Member, Trainee Member, Member, Fellow, or Master who has initiated or has been involved in volunteer programs or has provided extensive volunteer service post-training. The service must have been performed on a completely voluntary basis and not for the completion of training or position requirements. Such service may include but is not limited to the following: community education programs (e.g., colon cancer awareness); working in free clinics; mentoring advocacy groups or local government committees; teaching in under-served schools related to health education; and political work on committees for comprehensive health insurance or other issues.