About us

The Division of Gastroenterology was founded in 1949 by Dr. Wade Volwiler who led the division for 31 years. We have had amazing leadership throughout our history.

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UW GI History

Wade Volwiler, MD
Dr. Wade Volwiler

The University of Washington Division of Gastroenterology (UW GI) was established in 1949 by Dr. Wade Volwiler who led the division for 31 years. Dr. Volwiler was a gastroenterologist and physician-scientist who studied malabsorption in the gastrointestinal tract. Gastroenterology (GI) includes a range of luminal GI, pancreaticobiliary, and hepatic disorders. Our division has thrived over the years including having expanded from 2 to 59 faculty members. UW GI spans seven campuses in the Pacific Northwest Region: The University of Washington Medical Center (Montlake, Northwest Hospital, and Eastside Specialty Center), Harborview Medical Center, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, and Spokane Liver Clinic.


To restore digestive health through outstanding patient care, breakthrough discovery, and exceptional teaching.


UW GI is a cohesive team comprised of a diverse group of individuals equally invested in setting the standards for GI care delivery, research, and education.

UWGI Mission and Vision

Patient Care

UW GI provides the highest quality of care for a wide spectrum of GI diseases to approximately 40,000 patients.  At present, we hold over 20,000 clinic visits annually and perform nearly 3000 endoscopic procedures per month. We specialize in the diagnosis and medical and endoscopic management of general and complex GI diseases.  We aim to not only manage acute and chronic illness but to restore digestive health for all of our patients.   

Our faculty have expertise in a variety of disorders, and our patient care program includes several major components. Gastrointestinal pathology services assist patients and their physicians in the correct diagnosis of GI symptoms; therapeutic endoscopy provides patients with avenues for treatment of pre-cancerous bowel diseases; and our hepatology and liver transplant services provide clinical services for patients with hepatitis and other chronic liver diseases.

Our faculty conduct research, perform and supervise clinical procedures, and see patients in seven academic practice sites.

Patient Care Programs

  • General Gastroenterology Clinics
  • Colorectal Cancer Screening and Prevention
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease Multidisciplinary Center
  • Small Bowel & Celiac Disease Center
  • Therapeutic Endoscopy Program
  • Gastrointestinal Motility Clinic
  • Liver Care Line: General Hepatology & Transplant Hepatology
  • Pancreatic Care Line

Clinic Locations

Our clinics accommodate referrals directly from community physicians and through the UW Medicine Contact Center at 206.520.5000, which directs the referral to the facility best aligned to the patient’s immediate needs. Further, we aim to minimize patients’ travel time and sedation and will consolidate procedures as much as possible, depending on the nature of the procedures.


UW GI faculty lead research across our division, including UWMC, FHCC, and the VA. Our investigators are pushing the bounds of innovation and are at the frontier of scientific discovery for luminal GI, hepatic and pancreaticobiliary diseases. Our division has approximately $8.4 million in research funding. In addition, our VA faculty lead projects totaling over $70 million in budget for the study durations.  

Research highlights

  • Biorepository
  • The Gut Microbiome
  • Colorectal Cancer 
  • Esophagitis and esophageal cancer
  • Diverticular Disease
  • Liver diseases and Liver Cancers
  • Pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Education & Fellowship Training

We are proud to provide excellent training programs for fellows that are rigorous but nurturing. UW GI has an enviable record of training fellows who become highly successful in their academic careers. In addition to our traditional GI training track, we offer a one-year ACGME-accredited fellowship in Transplant Hepatology (which can be completed either as a third-year GI fellow or 4th-year fellow) and a one-year non-ACGME fellowship in Advanced Therapeutic Endoscopy. Fellowship training is also supported in part by a T32 training grant from the National Institutes of Health.

UWGI Division Leadership

The Division of Gastroenterology was founded in 1949 and has thrived throughout the years, expanding from 2 to 59 faculty members.

Meet our Division Heads, Drs. Wade Volwiler, David Saunders, Sum Lee, Toan Nguyen (interim), John Inadomi, Cynthia Ko (interim), and Rotonya Carr.

GI Division Heads

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