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James (Jim) Frakes is Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford, and managing partner of Rockford Gastroenterology Associates, Ltd., in Rockford, Illinois.
Dr Frakes earned his bachelor's degree in ceramic engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1968. He later worked as a staff scientist at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico. After becoming restless in engineering, he returned to the University of Illinois for a master's degree in bioengineering.
He then earned his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford. He completed his residency at the University of Missouri Medical Center, Columbia, Missouri, and took his fellowship in gastroenterology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After his fellowship, Jim returned to Rockford for private practice. This location offered him an affiliation with a community-based medical school and the ability to engage in clinical research and teaching.
Dr Frakes has received the Faculty Distinguished Teaching Award, the Faculty Distinguished Service Award and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford.
Jim Frakes is Past-President of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE).
Outside of medicine he serves on the University of Illinois Foundation and is a past member of the Board of Directors of the University of Illinois Alumni Association.
His main interests in gastroenterology have been therapeutic pancreaticobiliary endoscopy, practice management, and endoscopic ambulatory surgery centers.
Jim and his wife, Nancy, live in Rockford, Illinois, and have two grown children.
- What made you decide to become a gastroenterologist?
- Gastroenterology and endoscopy struck me as the perfect blend of thinking and doing.
- Who was the teacher you admired the most?
- It was actually the combination of Don Powell and Eugene Bozymski at Chapel Hill. Don was the gastroenterologist's gastroenterologist: a sage clinician and gifted investigator, while Bo was the endoscopist's endoscopist: patient, persistent, and skilled.
- Which research paper influenced you the most?
- The most influential research paper for me was the landmark United Kingdom study by Neoptolemos, Carr-Locke, and colleagues published in the Lancet (Lancet 1988; 2 (8618): 979-83) showing the value of urgent therapeutic ERCP in certain patients with acute biliary pancreatitis. It came at a time when controlled clinical trials in therapeutic ERCP were sorely lacking.
- What is the most important fact that you have discovered?
- "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want." This revelation actually came from my wife, Nancy. I belatedly discovered it to be true.
- What is the biggest mistake that you have made?
- Not building our group's own endoscopic ambulatory surgery center even sooner than we did.
- What is your unfulfilled ambition?
- During my year as President of the ASGE, I hoped the three major gastroenterological societies could collaborate as collegial, equal partners for the good of gastroenterology and our members. Although the ASGE and the ACG currently are working together with that philosophy, collaborations with the AGA have been more difficult.
- What is your greatest regret?
- My greatest regret is that I have for too long allowed my three-headed Hydra of clinical work, scholarly endeavors, and professional society activities to keep me from more fully enjoying a life away from medicine
- How do you relax?
- My most relaxing moments are gardening, enjoying fine dining and fine wine, and interregnums perambulating around Santa Fe with my wife.
- What is your favorite sport?
- College football and college basketball. Youthful exuberance and emotion set these sports apart from professional sports
- What is your best place in the world?
- Actually I have two best places - my home in Rockford, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Santa Fe is a relaxed, yet vibrant environment of natural beauty, varied cultures, inspired art, and complex food.
- What is your favorite film?
- "The Shawshank Redemption".
- What is your best electronic 'toy'?
- My best toy is not electronic. It is my John Deere lawn tractor and wagon.
- What books are you reading at the moment?
- I'm reading "Fermat's Enigma" by Simon Singh, the story behind the quest to solve one of the world's greatest mathematical problems, and "The Bear and the Dragon" by Tom Clancy.
- Why did you get in involved in GastroHep.com?
- This endeavor provided the opportunity for me to interact and collaborate with great colleagues and friends in an innovative and stimulating venue. In short, it sounded like fun!