RED BANK, NJ - We spoke with Drs. Subha Sundararajan, and Douglas Weine of the Red Bank Gastroenterology group, located at 365 Broad Street

If you have an appointment here, your already nervous.

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Nice office, great doctors with a terrific and caring staff will put you at ease.

TAP: Please provide a brief history of Red Bank Gastroenterology, how and when it got started

Red Bank Gastroenterology (RBG) is a medical practice specializing in the management of adults with diseases affecting the liver and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.  RBG has had presence in Monmouth County area for over 30 years.  

Each of our 9 physicians is Fellowship Trained and Board Certified in Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and several of our doctors have done extensive advanced training in specialized endoscopic techniques such as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS).  

We provide outpatient care for all gastrointestinal disorders, preventative health maintenance, screening for malignancies of the colon, GI tract and liver, and acute inpatient hospital care 24 hours/day, 365 days/year at Riverview Medical Center. 

Our expertise runs the entire spectrum of gastrointestinal issues, and we have working relationships with several large tertiary referral centers in the NJ/NY/PA tri-state area.

To see a list of procedures performed and conditions treated, click here.

TAP: From each of you, what got you interested to specialize in gastroenterology?

Doug:  I was first introduced to medicine by my father who is an internist who practiced in Morristown for over 30 years before retiring from his practice.  He now volunteers at the Parker Clinic in Red Bank.  I saw the passion that he had for medicine and the differences he made in patient’s lives.  In medical school, I was greatly influenced in my career choice from my first lecture on diarrhea! 

The gastroenterologists that I worked with were compassionate, engaging and introduced me to all the different aspects of this specialty.  I found great interest in being able to combine the cerebral and academic aspects of medicine with the procedural aspects of surgery into this wonderful specialty. 

In our specialty we are involved in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment, the management of acute and chronic illness and benign and malignant disease processes.

Subha:  Although multiple people influenced my decision to become a physician such as my pediatrician, family members who were doctors, and my inspirational teachers.  Ultimately it was my parents (neither of whom are physicians) who get credit.  They always emphasized the importance of education, and they were the ones that helped nurture my love for medicine and supported me all throughout my years of education.

Once in medical school, the specialties that immediately attracted my interest were those that allowed physicians to integrate the art and science of medicine alongside with technical procedural skills.  I was paired with an amazingly inspirational mentor in medical school who was an Interventional GI doctor, I knew I had found my calling.

Within the gastroenterology realm, due to advances in science and technology, each year the diagnostic, medicinal, and procedural aspects change and evolve.  This is what excites me most about being a GI doctor; we can diagnose, treat, and manage a variety of conditions with cutting edge procedures and efficacious medicines.

We are given the opportunity to impact someone’s life positively in multiple dimensions, and this extremely humbling and very rewarding. 

TAP: What types of gastro problems would you see in younger patients (25 years old and younger) and older patients (26 years+)?   What should these groups be looking for that may be a present or future problems? 

We take care of patients ages 18 and above.  Gastrointestinal problems do no spare any age.  We see both young and old patients with irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), liver disease, swallowing disorders, acid reflux and GI cancers.

Unfortunately, we are seeing an increased incidence in colon cancer in patients even under the age of 40.  In the US, 10% of colon cancer cases are diagnosed in patients under the age of 50.

The most important thing for any patient to be aware of – whether younger or older - is to not ignore any new and recurrent symptoms, and to make sure they talk to their doctor openly and honestly about their concerns. Routine checkup visits are also very important for prevention and early detection of GI diseases.   

TAP: Tell us about the UNDY Run Walk event that is put on by the Colon Cancer Alliance 

Our office has participated in the UNDY Run Walk event since 2011.  It is a family-friendly undy-themed RunWalk created by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, with the goal to provide support for patients and families, caregivers, and survivors; to raise awareness of preventive measures; and inspire efforts to fund critical research.

Each year tee shirts are designed for the run with slogans made to catch peoples attention in an effort to take away the stigma of talking about colon cancer screening.

TAP: What community-based program awareness events do you take part in?

We participate in community-based outreach events such as promoting celiac disease awareness and colon cancer awareness by partnering with places such as Foodtown, Riverview Medical Center, and the YMCA.  We use all these events to distribute information and have doctors and staff present to speak to patients and provide them with education and resources. 

TAP: What’s the best part about your job?

Being able to change someone’s life.  Patients often come to use scared or frustrated by symptoms they are having.  It is very rewarding to be able to help another person.

TAP: The most challenging?

One aspect that is challenging is balancing work and home life.  We are fully committed to the wellbeing of our patients and it is hard not to constantly be thinking of them and how we can help them and what more we can do at all hours even when we come home.  Another difficult aspect of our jobs is breaking the news of cancer to patients. It is a very emotional and difficult discussion. 

However, when the same patient comes back to us cured or in remission, it is a rewarding and endearing encounter.

So, what’s the take-away? 

Talk openly and honestly with your physician about any concerns, don’t ignore any new and recurrent symptoms and get regular checkups and screenings.

Your family, friends and significant others will love you more for doing it.

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