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Digestive Health Center combines GI and General Surgery Services

| Date Posted: 10/14/2015

T.J. Pulliam, M.D.
H. Willy Chu, M.D.
Fabian E. Alzamora, M.D.
Amelia M. Jeyapalan, M.D.
Zeidan F. Zeidan, M.D.

ROCKINGHAM – Patients needing diagnostic, therapeutic, medical and surgical services for a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders will find them in the FirstHealth Digestive Health Center in Rockingham.


With offices located in the Medical Office Building at 921 Long Drive, Rockingham (beside FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital), the Digestive Health Center is staffed by board certified FirstHealth gastroenterologist T.J. Pulliam, M.D., and four board certified general surgeons: H. Willy Chu, M.D.; Fabian E. Alzamora, M.D.; Amelia M. Jeyapalan, M.D.; and Zeidan F. Zeidan, M.D.


According to Dr. Pulliam, this collaborative approach to gastroenterology and general surgery is a national trend in medical services. Although new to Richmond County, it is common practice in many parts of the country including such major medical centers as the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic and The Johns Hopkins Hospital.


“Our clinicians work together collaboratively so we can handle more of the digestive health needs here and around Rockingham,” Dr. Pulliam says.


FirstHealth’s gastroenterology services are available for the diagnosis and treatment of such common disorders as peptic ulcer disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), abdominal pain and gastrointestinal malignancies as well as hepatobiliary (liver, gall bladder and bile duct) disorders such as cirrhosis, hepatitis and pancreatic diseases.


According to Dr. Chu, the program’s collaborative services help assure efficient and cost-effective care for patients with complicated digestive health problems as well as for those with more common digestive ailments.


“Many common digestive problems, such as gallstone disease and peptic ulcer disease, are easily diagnosed and treated,” Dr. Chu says. “Some patients, however, do not present with typical symptoms or they have more complicated problems that require a multi-disciplinary approach. This means the combined expertise ofthe gastroenterologist and surgeons. By working together closely, we are able to successfully evaluate and treat the more difficult cases in an efficient, cost-effective way.”


The Digestive Health Center’s “open access” scheduling for colon cancer screenings allows primary care providers to schedule appointments in a convenient and streamlined fashion. Patients needing endoscopic procedures or surgery also have the convenience of facilities at Richmond Memorial Hospital and its Outpatient Center and Ambulatory Surgery Center.


According to John Jackson, president of FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital, FirstHealth’s long-term goal with the Digestive Health Center is to create a recognized location for the comprehensive diagnosis and medical or surgical treatment of digestive disorders. Dr. Pulliam is central to that goal, he says.


“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Pulliam, a well-trained and experienced gastroenterologist with 35 years of service in North Carolina, to help bring this service to our community,” Jackson says. “Since Dr. Pulliam also has a master’s degree in medical management, he understands the administrative side of putting a center together and the importance of promoting and communicating it to the community. In combination, we have all of the equipment, the clinical expertise and the physicians to address a critical community health need.”


Dr. Pulliam earned his M.D. from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University and his Master of Medical Management degree from the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. He completed his digestive health training with the Johns Hopkins Health System.


A member of the American College of Gastroenterology for 25 years, he achieved Fellow status in July 2004.


For more information on the gastroenterology services provided by FirstHealth of the Carolinas, visit




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