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Professor of Medicine and OBGYN
Director, UNC Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
UNC School of Medicine
Chapel Hill, NC, USA

Served 1992 – 2018

Dr. Whitehead served on the board of the Rome Foundation since 1992. He is Chair of the Research Committee and a member of the Executive, Finance, Editorial committees, and the Steering Committee of the Global Epidemiology of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Study. He also chaired the Questionnaire Development Committee for Rome IV and is now co-chairing (with Olafur Palsson) a global validation of the Rome IV criteria in 8 countries.

He is a clinical psychologist with additional training in gastrointestinal physiology who graduated from the University of Chicago in 1973. His current academic appointments are Professor of Medicine in the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Division at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Adjunct Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Urogynecology Division, and Director of the Center for Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders.

Dr. Whitehead is a full-time clinical researcher with continuous NIH funding since 1978. Research interests include the pathophysiology and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fecal incontinence, and constipation. His IBS studies focus on visceral pain sensitivity, genetics, diagnostic criteria, and the comorbidity of IBS with other somatic and psychiatric disorders. His pelvic floor research encompasses the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of constipation and fecal incontinence with biofeedback, behavioral training, and drugs. Major contributions have included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of biofeedback for disordered defecation, proctalgia, and fecal incontinence.

Services to the NIH include being co-chair of an NIDDK workshop entitled “Developing a Clinical Research Agenda for Fecal Incontinence,” member of the Data Safety and Monitoring Board for the NIDDK Gastroparesis Research Network, and member of the External Expert Panel for the NIDDK’s Managing Abdominal and Pelvic Pain Research Network. Dr. Whitehead is a Master of the American College of Gastroenterology and a Fellow of the American Gastroenterological Association.

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