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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

Digestive Health Research and Education

Digestive Health Services at UW Health is recognized for its excellence in the diagnosis and management of patients with disorders of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, anorectum, liver, pancreas, gallbladder and biliary tree. 

Such excellence is rooted in research. Research is the catalyst that keeps us striving for better understanding of disease; that urges us to seek better delivery of care and improved patient outcomes. It is the challenge of research and education that has attracted the superb clinicians and teachers that comprise our facility.


 Learn about our life-saving research

Methods of Research

Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison takes several forms. Included are several methods of research:

  • Basic scientific studies
  • Clinical studies
  • Transitional research
  • Current Research Initiatives

We have established clinical and basic science research programs which complement our clinical colon and rectal surgery program. This research is dedicated to the advancement of colorectal surgical science and improvement in patient care.

  • We have an extensive, ongoing prospective colorectal surgery database that allows us to monitor outcomes and quality of care in our UW patient population.
  • We offer participation in national, multi-institutional clinical trials such as the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG) investigating rectal cancer outcomes.
  • In addition, we have ongoing funded clinical research involving both benign diseases such as diverticulitis and malignancy to include novel radiologic diagnostic rectal cancer strategies.
  • Our laboratory research also focuses on colorectal malignancy investigating the biologic differences between colon and rectal cancer.

Current Research Trials

One of our greatest strengths is our involvement in groundbreaking clinical trials or research studies conducted to answer specific scientific questions about new ways to diagnose, detect and treat disease. If you are a patient interested in learning more about our clinical studies or if you are a referring physician with patients who is interested in one of the following trials, please call the University of Wisconsin GI and Hepatology Clinical Research Office at (608) 263-4185. 
View information about current trials
And here is information about two ongoing radiology trials:


Colon Cancer Study: A multicenter, NIH-funded study focused on colon cancer follow-up, one year after surgery.


Patient criteria:

  • Patients with colorectal cancer without clear evidence of metastatic disease
  • Any patient in cancer stages 1-3
  • Patients less than one year (nine to 15 months) from diagnosis who had definitive surgical intervention
  • Patients with permanent colostomies are eligible
  • Patients with diverting ostomies or inflammatory bowel disease are ineligible

Contact: Stephanie Wilson, study coordinator, (608) 265-9636 or


Ultra-Low-Dose Body CT Study: An NIH-funded study for abdomen/pelvis CT scans with IV contrast, aimed at finding ways to reduce radiation exposure to the body during CT imaging.


Patient criteria:

  • Adult males, age 18 or older
  • Adult females who are not pregnant, age 18 or older

Contact: Stephanie Wilson, study coordinator, (608) 265-9636 or


Surgical Education


We are also dedicated to further colorectal surgery education. Our surgeons are regularly involved in various national, regional and local educational activities.

  • Annual Colorectal Surgery CME program for referring physicians, presenting timely updates and instruction on a variety of colorectal disease oriented topics.
  • Provide leadership and participation in national surgical education, including the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS).
  • Regionally and Nationally known speakers, our surgeons often play major roles in loco-regional educational programs.
  • Have an integral role in daily medical student and resident surgical education at UW.