The History of IGH

Serving Our Community Since 1975

When James D. Rogge, MD opened his solo practice focusing exclusively on gastroenterology in August of 1975, he was taking a risk. Gastroenterology was only just beginning to gain recognition as a subspecialty within internal medicine. At that time outside of the Indiana University Medical Center, only two gastroenterologists were practicing at each of the major Indianapolis hospitals. Yet the need for GI services was beginning to emerge. Dr. Rogge recruited Michael F. Elmore, MD to join the practice at the completion of his gastroenterology fellowship in the summer of 1977. Not long after the physicians changed the official name of the practice from James D. Rogge, Inc. to Indianapolis Gastroenterology.

Gastroenterologists remained unique within the Indianapolis medical community for some years to come. A physician who joined the group in 1980 recalls, 'We all knew each other and enjoyed getting together periodically.' He describes Dr. Rogge and his other mentors as not driven by ego, but by family, faith and a total commitment to the patient and the highest standards of patient care. Core values to which IGH physicians remain true today adopting the motto, 'Earning Trust through Quality' in 2010.

The tools of the GI trade in the late 1970's and early 1980's certainly demanded a heightened sense of dedication from the practitioners. Endoscopes, although originally developed in the nineteenth century, over a century later were still not easily maneuvered, an eyepiece limited visualization, and few tools for therapeutic intervention existed. However, endoscopic therapeutic options were developing rapidly and in some cases obviating the need for surgery. These safer alternatives led to increased demand for GI services and subsequently more development of equipment and ideas. Today's flexible endoscopes possess significantly improved camera optics and an ever-improving selection of therapeutic scopes and accessories. The exceptional record for patient safety and convenience remains intact.

In an effort to contain medical costs and alleviate the impact on patients and their families, the physicians of Indianapolis Gastroenterology opened an office endoscopy suite in Beech Grove in 1985. This suite evolved into what is now The Endoscopy Center at St. Francis. Working with Eli Lilly, Inc., Dr. Rogge began offering office-based screening colonoscopy for a very affordable price. Ultimately, this novel program expanded to a nationwide screening colonoscopy program including other national corporations leading to the creation of one of the largest screening colonoscopy data banks in the world.

Continuing to seek ways to improve the lives of patients, in 1991 the physicians founded Indianapolis Gastroenterology Research Foundation, a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) corporation. Through the Research Foundation, qualifying IGH patients have gained access to emerging treatments in a variety of disease states such as hepatitis C, GERD, and constipation; many of which were experimental in the early days of the group. Another role of the Research Foundation is the administration of the screening colonoscopy data bank. Foundation chairman David C. Pound, M.D. recognizes, 'the patients that participate in these studies are the heroes of the foundation. We could not advance medicine without them.'

More recently IGH has worked to assist patients residing in areas historically underserved by specialty GI programs. Working in partnership with local hospitals, IGH has established a number of satellite clinics and provides GI endoscopic services within the local hospitals. IGH now has outreach clinics throughout central and southern Indiana in cities such as Greensburg, Seymour, Shelbyville, and Mooresville. In 2012 IGH entered a strategic partnership with Community Hospital South developing an Advanced GI Services Program and soon the innovative, Women's GI Health Initiative, all convenient to the Greenwood and Indianapolis south side community. Dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of GI care within these communities, IGH is always recruiting physicians or advanced practice providers who are in step with the group's patient care, service and quality objectives.

In keeping with their resolution to uphold the highest standards of quality care, IGH physicians established the Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology Quality Assurance Institute in 2013. The goals of the institute are to measure, report, review and improve upon established GI quality measures and compare to national benchmarks. The Quality Institute publishes its data on the corporate website, The results from 2013/2014 show that IGH exceeded national benchmarks or averages in all four endoscopic categories.

But the story of Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology is not merely dates and an array of sometimes jaw-dropping advancements in equipment, therapies or medications over the last forty years. The history of Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology is an intertwined tale of the advancement of GI medicine, the courage of patients and their families, and IGH physicians, a collection of individuals dedicated to taking care of the whole patient while working in an independent yet collaborative and mutually supportive environment.

Looking into the future, current IGH President Michael S. Morelli, M.D. states, 'We have great appreciation of our past and to the physicians that have preceded us at Indy Gastro. They have set the standard that we try to meet and exceed every day. This effort revolves around a dedication foremost to taking care of our patients in a way that reflects the dignity each one has as a person of God. We strive for care that is safe, high quality, cost effective, efficient, ethical, and patient centered regardless of background. We take pride that we are an independent practice that also dedicates itself to research to help improve the high quality of care we aim to provide. Our physicians want to be leaders in our field and always search for innovative ways to practice medicine that have our patients at the center of our model of care.'

Written and edited by:

  • Michael F. Elmore, MD
  • David C. Pound, MD
  • Michael S. Morelli, MD
  • Nicole Barger