Division of Gastroenterology at Howard University Hospital

The Division of Gastroenterology at Howard University Hospital offers a wide array of services for patients with digestive disorders and diseases, including:

  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Esophagus
  • Stomach
  • Small and large intestines
  • Gallbladder

Consultations with other divisions and departments match treatment plans with specific patient needs. Involving patients and families in the decision-making process promotes confidence and an in-depth understanding of our diagnostic and treatment plans.

Specialty Care Services

  • Colonoscopy (screening, diagnostic, therapeutic)
  • Upper endoscopy (EGD)
  • Feeding tube placement (PEG)
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
  • Endoscopic stenting (esophagus, biliary duodenal, colon)
  • Stricture dilation
  • Nutritional assessment
  • Hepatitis treatment (HCV, HBV)
  • Capsule endoscopy
  • Liver biopsy
  • Paracentesis

Conditions We Treat

Our board-certified gastroenterologists treat and manage complex digestive disorders and diseases.

Esophagus and Stomach

  • Achalasia 
  • Barrett's esophagus
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Stomach (gastric) cancer
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Gastroparesis
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Swallowing disorders


  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer)
  • Portal hypertension
  • Viral hepatitis B
  • Viral hepatitis C
  • Alcoholic liver disease

Pancreas and Biliary Tract

  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma)
  • Gallstone disease

Small and Large Intestine

  • Collagenous and lymphocytic colitis
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Crohn's disease
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis
  • Hereditary colorectal cancer
  • Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Sporadic (nonhereditary) colorectal cancer
  • Ulcerative colitis

Treatments & Procedures

Diagnosis and treatment plans are supported with the most advanced technology. 


Colonoscopy is used to explore unexplained changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain, bleeding from the anus and weight loss. During colonoscopy, a flexible tube is inserted through the rectum. A light and camera attached to the tube allow clinicians to view inflamed tissue, ulcers and abnormal growths. Tissues samples can be taken and reviewed for signs of colorectal cancer.

Upper Endoscopy

Upper endoscopy or EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) allows clinicians to view the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). EGD is used to evaluate complaints of:

  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Reflux
  • Bleeding
  • Indigestion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain

During the procedure, patients swallow a flexible lighted tube (endoscope) that reveals abnormalities not visible with X-rays. The doctor may remove samples of tissue (biopsy) for further tests or to treat bleeding abnormalities.

Feeding Tube Replacement (PEG)

A percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube is a feeding tube surgically placed through a patient's abdomen into their stomach. The PEG tube stays in the stomach for a period of time enabling the patient to receive fluids, medicines and nutrition when it is not possible to take these fluids by mouth. PEG tube openings close quickly. If a PEG tube comes out, let your doctor know.

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

ERCP evaluates the following bile duct conditions:

  • Gallstones
  • Inflammatory strictures (scars)
  • Leaks (from trauma and surgery)
  • Cancer

Using an endoscope and X-ray, the doctor views the inside of the stomach and duodenum. Dyes may be injected into the ducts in the biliary tree and pancreas for closer views.

Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) and Guided Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy (FNA)

Endoscopic ultrasound allows doctors to view the organs in the chest and abdomen, including the walls of these organs and adjacent structures. Small lesions down to the size of a pea may be imaged or biopsied. The procedure takes from 20 minutes to two hours (for FNA) depending on difficulty to obtain accurate specimens.

Hepatitis Treatment (HCV, HBV)

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver that results in liver cell damage and destruction. It is caused by a virus. Diagnosis is made with a blood test. Treatment can include antiviral medication or, in extreme cases, liver transplant.

Capsule Endoscopy

Capsule endoscopy is used to evaluate the small intestine and bowel. During the procedure, a pill-sized video capsule with its own lens and light source are used to view the esophagus, small intestine or colon. Capsule endoscopy is used to determine whether a patient has:

  • Small intestine bleeding
  • Polyps
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease)
  • Ulcers
  • Tumors

Liver Biopsy

A liver biopsy removes tissue samples from the liver with a special needle to determine if cancer or other abnormal cells are present, or to determine how well the liver is working.


During paracentesis, fluid is removed from the abdomen to detect cancer cells.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Therapy

Inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic disorder of the gastrointestinal tract, such as Crohn's disease or an ulcerative form of colitis. Symptoms of IBD include:

  • Inflammation of the intestine
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Persistent diarrhea

Inflammatory bowel disease is treated with the most current diagnostic therapies, including minimally invasive surgery.

Bravo Capsule Test

A bravo capsule test is used to measure the presence of acid reflux. During the test, a rectangular-shaped capsule attached to a catheter (thin tube) is inserted into the esophagus. The catheter is quickly removed, but the capsule remains. Information is transmitted from the capsule to a pager-like device worn on the patient's belt or waistband. A diary is provided for documentation of symptoms, meals and reclining periods.

Patients excrete the capsule within 5-10 days. Data uploaded to a computer enables the doctor to determine if acid reflux is present Patients with pacemakers, cardiac defibrillators or diagnosed gastrointestinal strictures are not candidates for this procedure.


The Division of Gastroenterology conducts extensive translational research paired with investigational clinical trials. Our focus is understanding diseases and developing ways to decrease health disparities among African Americans and other people of color in line with the mission of Howard University Hospital. Current studies include:

  • BMI and risk of colon cancer.
  • Gene methylation in colorectal tumors.
  • H. pylori infection as protection against reflux esophagitis.Beverage preference as determinant of purgative laxative completion rate.
  • Polyp recurrence in national gastrointestinal guidelines to determine colonoscopy follow-up.

Gastroenterology Fellowship Training Program

Gastroenterology Fellowship Training Program fosters development of future leaders in gastroenterology by providing a comprehensive foundation in all aspects of:

  • Gastroenterology
  • Consultative gastroenterology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology procedures
  • Clinical research

The three-year program prepares fellows to become physicians in academic medicine or clinical practice.  

Division of Gastroenterology Faculty

Charles D. Howell, M.D., AGAF

Clinical interest include viral hepatitis, variceal bleeding.

Adeyinka O. Laiyemo, M.D., M.P.H., FACG

Clinical interests include specialty general gastroenterology and cancer prevention. Dr. Laiyemo is an NIH-trained epidemiologist.

Angesom Kibreab, M.D.

Clinical interests include inflammatory bowel disease.

Victor F. Scott, M.D., AGAF, MACP

Dr. Scott is Director, Gastrointestinal Fellowship Training Program

Hassan Ashktorab, Ph.D.

Research focus: Genomic and translational research.

Division of Gastroenterology Adjunct Clinical Faculty

  • Kenneth Brown, M.D., FACG
  • Mohammad Hoque, M.D.