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Sami R. Achem was born in Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico.
Professor Achem graduated from the Instituto Frances de la Laguna in 1966 as Valedictorian. He then spent one year at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, studying English. In 1967, he returned to Torreon, Mexico to the 'Facultad de Medicina de Torreon' (School of Medicine). He graduated first in his class, in 1972.
Following two years of compulsory internship and social service, Professor Achem went to the University of Cincinnati in Ohio from 1976 to 1979, completing an internal medicine residency. Subsequently his clinical fellowship in gastroenterology was accomplished at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor from 1979 to1981.
Between 1981 and 1984, Professor Achem became a research fellow at the University of Michigan, under the mentorship of Tashi Yamada and Chung Owyang. Here he focused on gastrointestinal motility and hormone interactions. In 1984, he joined the faculty of the University of Florida, Jacksonville, until 1997.
From 1997 to the present time he has been on the faculty at the Mayo Medical School, based at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, as Associate Professor of Medicine. Professor Achem is also honored to be the current President of the Florida Gastroenterological Association, the past Editor in Chief for the international journal, Digestive Diseases, and an active member of the editorial board of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
Professor Achem has been married to Pilar Ayala since May 1976. They are blessed to have three wonderful children: Cristina, Diana , and Sami Rene, Jr.
- What made you decide to become a gastroenterologist?
- I was inspired by Dr Raul Adalid, my Professor of Gastroenterology at Facultad de Medicina de Torreon, in Mexico. Dr Adalid trained under Nick Hightower at Scott White in Temple, Texas. His teachings were so articulate and clear that he became a major role model as a clinician and an educator for me. The book by Horace Davenport on gastrointestinal physiology also inspired me. Dr Davenport's book and accomplishments had a major positive influence on my decision.
- Who was the teacher you admired the most?
- There were several: Dr Raul Adalid, as explained above. In addition, Chung Owyang, Tashi Yamada, Tim Nostrant, and Stan Strassius (all at the University of Michigan) were my favorite teachers.
- Which research paper influenced you the most?
- The work of my mentor Chung Owyang had a major impact on my professional research training. I have also been significantly influenced by the outstanding work of Joel Richter and Donald Castell.
- What is most important to you?
- God and my family.
- What is the biggest mistake that you have made?
- Too many to enumerate.
- What is your unfulfilled ambition?
- To obtain a Nobel Prize.
- What is your greatest regret?
- How do you relax?
- Spending time with my family. Playing tennis, soccer, swimming, biking, and walking. Watching professional soccer matches. Reading, and listening to classical music.
- What is your favorite sport?
- What is your best place in the world?
- Home. After that, Paris.
- What is your favorite film?
- "Les Miserables"
- What car do you drive?
- Honda Accord-Ex.
- What is your best electronic 'toy'?
- The computer.
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- "Maestro" - Alan Greenspan's life.
- Why did you get in involved in GastroHep.com?
- I enjoy the opportunity to participate in shaping the knowledge that gastroenterologists world-wide read in medical journals. I believe this is an awesome privilege and responsibility to the GI community to referee and select the best of the best.