Daniel I. Chu, MD, FACS, FASCRS
Associate Director, Health Services Research
Medical and Quality Officer for General Surgery/Sepsis
Associate Scientist, Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC)
Where do you practice?
I joined the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in Birmingham, Alabama in July 2014 after completing my colorectal fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. I have the great privilege of working with 5 colorectal surgeons at UAB (Greg Kennedy, Melanie Morris, Jamie Cannon, Karin Hardiman and Drew Gunnells). My practice covers the entire spectrum of colorectal disease but has an increasing focus on inflammatory bowel disease. My NIH-funded research interests focus on identifying, understanding and reducing health disparities in surgery with particular attention to health literacy.
Why I am a member of ASCRS:
ASCRS has always played an important role in my career. As a resident, ASCRS was the key society that most influenced (and confirmed) my decision to pursue a career in colorectal surgery. As a fellow, ASCRS was the society where I found the greatest of friends and colleagues. As faculty, ASCRS continues to help me grow in knowledge, skills and experience. I still rave to trainees that colorectal surgery is the best profession and that they need to come to ASCRS to see why.
What advice do you have for future colorectal surgeons?
Colorectal surgery is the best. From a clinical standpoint, you will never be bored and always challenged—from 25+ disease processes to managing abdominal catastrophes, patients need you and no day is ever the same. From an operational standpoint, you become an expert in all sorts of techniques (endoscopic, minimally-invasive, open, etc.) applied in all sorts of places (anus, pelvis, abdomen, etc.). From an academic standpoint, you will find that colorectal surgeons are prolific researchers with expertise in the basic sciences, translational work and all forms of health services research.
Like I tell trainees, colorectal topics don’t usually make for great ice-breaking coffee or bar talk, but everyone poops. As a colorectal surgeon, you will never be lacking in meaningful, high-impact and valued work. So my final advice: consider becoming a colorectal surgeon, join ASCRS, and come meet colorectal folks at the ASCRS Annual Meetings!