GI fellows clinch top spot in quiz bowl

Maybe it was being back in person. Or maybe because the program came so close the previous year our team was just a little more fired up. Whatever the cause or combination of causes, Annie Braseth, MD, and Asad Ali, MBBS, took first place at the 2021 American College of Gastroenterology’s (ACG’s) Jeopardy!, a knowledge-bowl style competition.

Earlier this year, Braseth and Ali, two third-year fellows in our Gastroenterology Fellowship, were one of five teams that moved past 149 other GI fellowship programs in the country in online preliminary rounds. As one of the five finalist pairs, the duo had their travel expenses covered by the national subspecialty organization in order to compete in person at ACG’s annual meeting in Las Vegas this week.

To get to Vegas was no overnight success, but took months of training led by the GI fellowship Associate Program Director Arvind Murali, MBBS, himself a graduate of our fellowship programs in both GI and transplant hepatology. “All credit goes to Dr. Murali,” Ali said, “for his experience and guidance.” Braseth echoed Ali’s appreciation for Murali’s coaching. “We are so appreciative,” she added, “for our co-fellows and staff who helped us prepare and study.”

The questions could come from almost any area of gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition. Murali provided Ali and Braseth targeted reading material and ran mock quiz sessions with the rest of the fellows dividing into four teams. Other faculty pitched in, including Program Director Adrian Holm, DO, and Clinical Assistant Professor Randhir Jesudoss, MD, to help prepare the fellows. “Dr. Holm continuously challenged me with questions on guidelines while I rotated with him at the VA,” Ali said.

Once past the preliminary round and their position as finalists locked in over the summer, Ali and Braseth began preparing in earnest for the October main event. The four other teams came from Baylor University, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and Scripps Clinic in San Diego, California. “These were all excellent teams,” Ali said, “and in fact we lost to Baylor in the previous ASGE Golden Scope competition so there was a little bit of anxiety to that.”

The final event itself, though, Ali said, “was very exciting.” After the first round, two teams were eliminated and it was down to Iowa, Baylor, and Scripps. The photos tells the tale of how the three teams fared in that second round, which left Iowa standing on top with a final score of 5000 to 4400.

“It was an honor and privilege to represent our GI department,” Braseth said. Murali expressed his pride in their hard work and achievement. “Our fellows put in a lot of effort on a daily basis to enhance their knowledge in GI & Hepatology, and it is outstanding to see their efforts being recognized nationally. Kudos to Annie and Asad for delivering it on the biggest stage.”

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