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Ma to chair Department of Medicine at College of Medicine and Medical Center

Ma's clinical and research interests will complement Medical Center's growing expertise in inflammatory bowel disease

Dr. Thomas Y. Ma, chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of New Mexico – Health Sciences Center (UNM-HSC), has been named chair of the Department of Medicine for Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. He will assume the post on January 1, 2018.

Ma is also executive director of the UNM-HSC's Center for Digestive Disorders, Center for Digestive Diseases Research and Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, as well as director of the New Mexico Veterans Affairs Health Care System's Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology.

Ma is recognized internationally for his research on defective intestinal barriers as one of the causes of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

“I am confident that Dr. Ma's renowned research in digestive diseases will enhance our growing expertise in gastroenterology and GI surgery, a specialty for which the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center was ranked among the best hospitals in the nation this year by U.S. News and World Report,” said Dr. A. Craig Hillemeier, dean of Penn State College of Medicine, chief executive officer of the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State's senior vice president for health affairs. “His extensive training and expertise will benefit our Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center and the organization as a whole.”

Ma has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Veteran's Affairs (VA) Research Office since 1988. He has served on a number of prestigious federal government and professional society committees and leadership positions, including service as chair of NIH and VA study sections and scientific panels.

Ma is editor-in-chief of the World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology and has published hundreds of abstracts, manuscripts and book chapters. Additionally, Ma has earned accolades for his clinical, teaching and mentoring accomplishments.

He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. at the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University. His post-graduate work includes a residency in internal medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and a gastroenterology fellowship and an NIH-sponsored research fellowship at the University of California, Irvine.

Ma will replace Dr. Robert Aber, who has chosen to step down as chair of the Department of Medicine after serving in that position for 13 years. Aber will remain a member of the Department of Medicine faculty.

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