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It’s not unusual for children of physicians to emulate their parents’ career paths. But Stanley J. Pietrak III, MD, insists there was never any pressure to follow in the footsteps of his father, a practicing gastroenterologist in Buffalo, N.Y.
"I was fascinated by what he did for work,” Dr. Pietrak recalls, “and I always found myself asking him questions about the types of patients he saw, and the disorders he treated.” Gravitating to gastroenterology during his own medical training, he adds, “I was happy to find that the material came naturally to me.”
Dr. Pietrak was nicknamed “Tripp,” as the third-generation Stanley Pietrak in his family. He received his medical degree from Albany Medical College, then came to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital for his internal medicine residency, which included rotations at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. After a three-year fellowship at Drexel University/Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, Dr. Pietrak welcomed the opportunity to return to MedStar Georgetown for an additional fellowship in advanced endoscopy, then join the Hospital Center’s gastroenterology staff.
“I developed many lasting relationships within the MedStar GI division during my residency at MedStar Georgetown, when I had the opportunity to work with some excellent practitioners,” he says. “It’s great to team up with them again, and to apply the training that many of them provided me.”
Areas of Expertise
Dr. Pietrak’s clinical focus involves malignant and benign disorders of bile ducts and the pancreas, advanced polyp removal, staging of luminal gastrointestinal cancer, and endoscopic luminal stenting. He notes that advancements in minimally invasive technologies, such as endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), “have broadened the number of medical issues that can be managed endoscopically, and can often help patients avoid surgical procedures that often carry more risk.”
Dr. Pietrak’s research interests include screening for pancreatic cancer in high-risk populations, as well as endoscopic training proficiency for gastroenterology fellows. With respect to the training provided to fellows, Dr. Pietrak believes that “it is imperative to uncover the teaching techniques that most effectively develop and improve trainee proficiency, as this will allow us to ensure all fellows are graduating with a skill set that allows them to successfully handle even the most challenging of cases.”
Outside the Hospital
In his free time, Dr. Pietrak enjoys traveling, following his hometown NFL team the Buffalo Bills, and staying active by running and playing soccer.