Dr. Alan Barkun is an academic gastroenterologist, Director of Therapeutic Endoscopy, and Chief Quality Officer of the Division of Gastroenterology at McGill University and McGill University Health Centre, Montréal, Canada. He is the first and current recipient of the DG Kinnear Chair in Gastroenterology at McGill University.
Dr. Barkun received his medical degree in 1983 from McGill University, where he then completed his residency training in internal medicine and gastroenterology. He continued his research training in hepato-gastroenterology at the Hôpital Edouard Herriot in Lyon, France, and in therapeutic endoscopy at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, USA, under Dr Peter Cotton. In 1995, he received an MSc in epidemiology and biostatistics from McGill University. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the American College of Physicians and three American gastroenterology societies (ASGE, AGA, and ASGE).
Dr. Barkun is the recipient of many awards, including the first American Digestive Health Foundation (ADHF)–American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) Research Scholar Award ever presented to a Canadian clinician/scientist; the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Visiting Dr. Award, awarded for outstanding contributions to both research and teaching nationally; and the André Viallet Award of the Association des Gastro-Entérologues du Québec, for lifetime achievement and contribution to the field. He has been a research scholar of the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec (FRSQ) for almost 20 years, and holds or has held numerous peer-reviewed grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the FRSQ, the American College of Gastroenterology, the ASGE and the ADHF.
Dr. Barkun has contributed significantly in forwarding clinical practice with research in the assessment of different endoscopic technologies. He co-authored the first randomized trial comparing open to laparoscopic cholecystectomy, and identified a risk factor stratification scheme that till today is adopted by all learned societies in statements guiding the assessment of patients with suspected common bile duct stones. He has written authoritative reviews and position statements in the management of patients with bilio-pancreatic conditions, and has completed many meta-analyses that have clarified the roles of biliary endoscopic therapeutic approaches, including the use of biliary stenting in malignant obstruction. In addition to completing three large national registries, Dr. Barkun has first-authored two widely quoted international clinical practice guidelines in the management of patients with non variceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding, leading numerous systematic reviews that have informed many of the resulting statements. He has also studied knowledge transfer initiatives aimed at optimizing the uptake of the international guidelines in Canada. He has been instrumental in developing and assessing the emerging role of novel hemostatic powders, with a particular focus in malignant bleeding, and heads a multidisciplinary group assessing the influence of financial and non financial conflicts of interest in the development of clinical practice guidelines. Dr. Barkun has also chaired or co-chaired a number of other highly influential consensus statements in the broad field of Gastroenterology, more specifically in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases. Most recently, Dr. Barkun has been the clinical lead for the developing Quebec Colorectal Cancer Screening Program, establishing provincial guidelines for screening patients at average and high-risk of developing colorectal cancer. He has chaired a number of provincial committees that have established quality standards in both colorectal screening at large, and the practice of colonoscopy in particular, leading to the generation of novel e-module and hands-on training programs and the development of a province-wide colonoscopy referral wait-time request form that he has validated in a Canadian provincial setting. His research team recently completed a series of meta-analyses that have informed the authoritative American Multi Society Task Force Guidelines on colonoscopy preparation. The quality initiative efforts he has spearheaded in McGill and Quebec have also assisted targeted areas of other provincial colorectal cancer screening programs. Since joining McGill in 1990, Dr. Barkun has published over 300 peer-reviewed original articles, more than 400 abstracts, and has been invited speaker at over 500 regional, national and international scientific meetings. He is especially proud of having participated in the research training and resulting publications of more than 70 trainees on 3 continents, including 12 Masters and PhD students. Dr. Barkun has secured over $6,000,000 personally and almost $300,000,000 through team projects in his career. He has received numerous personal achievement awards from national and international societies, sits on many editorial boards of high-impact journals, and has reviewed manuscripts and grant submissions for more than 40 journals and societies on 4 continents. His publications have been amongst the most quoted and/or downloaded in the journals they originally appeared in three of the past 7 years. His combined methodological and endoscopic technical expertises have allowed him to become one of the most highly respected digestive endoscopic clinician scientists in Canada and internationally.
He particularly values the international profile of his research and teaching activities that have included true knowledge translation in the form of dissemination of international guidelines and at-a-distance mentoring of junior colleagues with regards to academic, practice, and research activities. More recently, Dr. Barkun has visited southeast Asian hospitals, and participated recently in an ASGE Ambassadorship to Myanmar. He will be carrying out volunteer work in Ethiopia to assess the feasibility of establishing a new GI training program at the University of Mekkele, will also be partaking in training of GI colleagues in Turkey and Morocco to assist local organization committees he has ties to, and has mentored a colleague from Madagascar in the hope of organizing an international meeting in this country to assist in local training in Gastroenterology.