In Memory of Joseph B. Kirsner – A Pioneer in Gastroenterology

Few if any physicians have had a broader and more positive impact than Joe Kirsner on thousands of patients, students and professional colleagues. 

Kenneth S. Polonsky, M.D.
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs
Dean, Division of the Biological Sciences
Dean, Pritzker School of Medicine
Richard T. Crane Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine


He was also an extraordinary mentor, albeit a demanding one. He was entirely devoted to the care of the patient, and he expected that same level of passion and commitment from the entire team.

Stephen B. Hanauer, M.D.
Joseph B. Kirsner Professor of Medicine
Professor of Clinical Pharmacology
Chief, Section of Gastroenterology and Nutrition


Although he was a devoted scientist, taking care of patients was always at the core of his thinking. He was a bulldog when it came to fighting for his patients, and he transmitted that tenacity to everyone on his team.

David T. Rubin, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
Co-Director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

Associate Section Chief for Educational Programs


Dr. Kirsner taught countless young doctors the importance of compassion, respect, and instillation of hope in those whom came seeking our help. His tireless efforts to relieve human suffering may be his most long-lasting legacy and are multiplied many-fold by those young physicians who have subsequently taught his lessons to their students, who in-turn have continued his cause.

Russell D. Cohen, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
Co-Director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

Co-Director, Advanced IBD Fellowship Program


He was here for two lifetimes. He’s an icon in the field. Everyone knows him. He’s been a key player nationwide for so long that even those who have worked with him for decades only know pieces of his career. I’m not sure where the field would be without him. He was at the beginning of everything.

Eugene Chang, M.D.
Martin Boyer Professor of Medicine
Associate Section Chief for Research