Our Gastroenterology Clinic offers comprehensive evaluation and treatment for both common and uncommon gastrointestinal diseases. These services include complete consultations, evaluation and management plans, and second opinions on all GI-related conditions.

The Digestive System: An Overview

What is digestion?

Food and drink must be changed into smaller molecules of nutrients to be absorbed into the blood and carried to cells throughout the body. Digestion is the process by which food and liquid are broken down into smaller parts so that the body can use them to build and nourish cells, and to provide energy.

How does the digestive process work?

Digestion involves:

  • The mixing of food.

  • The movement of food through the digestive tract.

  • A chemical breakdown of large molecules of food into smaller molecules.

Digestion begins in the mouth, where food and liquids are taken in, and is completed in the small intestine.

What is included in the digestive system?

The digestive system is made up of the digestive tract and other organs that aid in digestion.

The digestive tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus, consisting of the following:

  • Mouth

  • Esophagus

  • Stomach

  • Small intestine

  • Large intestine (includes the colon and rectum)

  • Anus

Organs that help with digestion, but are not part of the digestive tract, include the following:

  • Tongue

  • Glands in the mouth that make saliva

  • Pancreas

  • Liver

  • Gallbladder

Parts of other organ systems, such as nerves and blood, also play a major role in the digestive process.

How does food move through the digestive system?

In a wave-like movement, called peristalsis, muscles propel food and liquid along the digestive tract. In general, there are six steps in the process of moving food and liquid through the digestive system:

  1. The first major muscle movement is swallowing food or liquid. The start of swallowing is voluntary, but once it begins, the process becomes involuntary and continues under the control of the nerves.

  2. The esophagus, which connects the throat above with the stomach below, is the first organ into which the swallowed food goes.

  3. Where the esophagus and stomach join, there is a ring-like valve that closes the passage between the two organs. When food nears the closed ring, the surrounding muscles relax and allow the food to pass into the stomach, and then it closes again.

  4. The food then enters the stomach, which completes three mechanical tasks: stores, mixes, and empties:

    • First, the stomach stores the swallowed food and liquid, which requires the muscle of the upper part of the stomach to relax and accept large volumes of swallowed material.

    • Second, the lower part of the stomach mixes up the food, liquid, and digestive juices produced by the stomach by muscle action.

    • Third, the stomach empties the contents into the small intestine.

  5. The food is digested in the small intestine and dissolved by the juices from the pancreas, liver, and intestine, and the contents of the intestine are mixed and pushed forward to allow further digestion.

  6. Last, the digested nutrients are absorbed through the intestinal walls. The waste products, including undigested parts of the food, known as fiber, and older cells that have been shed from the mucosa, move into the colon. Waste products usually in the colon remain for a day or two until the feces are expelled by a bowel movement.

Douglas G. Adler, M.D.

Douglas Adler, MD, is a Professor in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine. He is also an investigator and director of therapeutic endoscopy at Huntsman Cancer Institute.

... Read More

Malcolm M. Berenson, M.D.

Malcolm Berenson, M.D., is a Gastroenterologist at the University of Utah Hospital, Huntsman Cancer Hospital, and Redwood Health Clinic. As a Gastroenterologist, his clinical interests include treatment, diagnosis, and continuing care for gastrointestinal diseases and endoscopy.
... Read More

Specialties:

Endoscopy, Gastroenterology, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Locations:

Redwood Health Center
Gastroenterology
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center
(801) 213-9797

John H. Bowers, M.D.

John H. Bowers, M.D. attended the University of Utah where he obtained a BS in Medical Biology in 1966, and a MD degree from the U of U School of Medicine in 1970. After completing his internship in Internal Medicine at Duke University in 1971, Dr. Bowers spent 3 years active duty in the U.S. Army as a Medical O... Read More

Specialties:

Endoscopy, Gastroenterology

Locations:

University Hospital
Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center
(801) 213-9797
Veterans Administration Medical Center
Gastroenterology Lab
(801) 584-1236

Kathleen K. Boynton, M.D.

Kathleen Boynton, M.D. received her medical degree from the University of Florida. She also served as an Intern, Resident, and Chief Resident while in Florida. Dr. Boynton then came to Utah, and completed her Fellowship at the University of Utah. Her clinical interests include immune related disorders of the ... Read More

Specialties:

Endoscopy, GI Motility, Gastroenterology, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Inflammatory Bowel Disease/Crohn's/Ulcerative Colitis, Women's GI Health

Locations:

Redwood Health Center
Gastroenterology
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology, Clinic 3
(801) 213-9797

Kenneth N. Buchi, M.D.

Kenneth N. Buchi M.D., is a Gastroenterologist at the University of Utah Hospital and South Jordan Clinic. As a Gastroenterologist, his clinical interests the diagnosis, treatment and continuing care for patients with gastrointestinal diseases.
Dr. Buchi received ... Read More

Specialties:

Gastroenterology

Locations:

A location has not yet been added by this physician.

Kathryn R. Byrne, M.D.

Kathryn R. Byrne, M.D., is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Utah Hospital, Redwood Endoscopy Center, Redstone Endoscopy Center, and the Veterans Medical Center. As a Gastroenterologist, her clinical interests include treatment, diagnosis, and continuing care for gastrointestinal diseases and ... Read More

Specialties:

Gastroenterology

Locations:

University Hospital
Gastroenterology, Clinic 3
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center
(801) 213-9797
Veterans Administration Medical Center
Gastroenterology Lab
(801) 584-1236

Richard M. Craig, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Richard M. Craig, Jr., is board-certified in Gastroenterology. He received his medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1990 and completed an internal medicine residency at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in 1993. He completed his Gastroenterology Fellowship at Johns Hopki... Read More

Specialties:

Endoscopy, Gastroenterology

Locations:

Redstone Health Center (801) 213-9797
Redwood Health Center
Gastroenterology
(801) 213-9797

John C. Fang, M.D.

John Fang M.D., is the Division Chief and Professor Medicine of the Division of Gastroenterology at the University of Utah Hospital and Huntsman Cancer Institute. His clinical interests include treatment, diagnosis, and continuing care for gastrointestinal diseases and endoscopy. He specializes in Barrett's Eso... Read More

Specialties:

Barrett's Esophagus, Endoscopy, Enteral Nutrition, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Esophageal Diseases, GI Motility, Gastroenterology, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Therapeutic Endoscopy

Locations:

Huntsman Cancer Institute
Endoscopy
(801) 213-9797
Redwood Health Center
Gastroenterology
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology, Clinic 3
(801) 213-9797

Ann Flynn, M.D.

Dr. Flynn attended medical school at New York Medical College. She completed internal medicine residency training at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and gastroenterology fellowship training at the Indiana University School of Medicine, where she served as Chief Fellow. She received additional tra... Read More

Specialties:

Gastroenterology, Inflammatory Bowel Disease/Crohn's/Ulcerative Colitis

Locations:

South Jordan Health Center (801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology, Clinic 3
(801) 213-9797
Veterans Administration Medical Center
Gastroenterology Lab
(801) 584-1236

Juan F. Gallegos-Orozco, M.D.

Dr. Juan F. Gallegos-Orozco graduated from medical school in Mexico and completed post-graduate medical education in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology in both Mexico and the United States, where he recently completed fellowship training in Transplant Hepatology at the prestigious Mayo School of Graduate Med... Read More

Specialties:

Endoscopy, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Liver Cancer, Liver Disease, Liver Transplant

Locations:

Huntsman Cancer Institute
Endoscopy
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Liver Transplant
(801) 581-5632
University Hospital
Kidney and Liver Clinic
(801) 213-9797

Andrew J. Gawron, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Andrew Gawron is an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah and VA Medical Center. His clinical interests include treating patients with esophageal disease (gastroesophageal reflux disease, motility disorders such as achalasia, and eosinophilic esophagitis). He performs colonoscopy, upper endoscopy and... Read More

Specialties:

Endoscopy, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Esophageal Diseases, Esophageal Motility Disorders, Gastroenterology, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Locations:

South Jordan Health Center (801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology, Clinic 3
(801) 213-9797
Veterans Administration Medical Center (801) 584-1236

Christopher German, APRN

Christopher German, APRN, NP-C started in the medical field as an EMT in 2002. He earned his BSN, RN at Westminster College and worked many years between the ICU and emergency department. Eventually, he returned to Westminster College and earned his MSN, FNP and now practices as an APRN.
... Read More

Specialties:

Constipation, Family Medicine, Gastroenterology, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Nurse Practitioner

Locations:

South Jordan Health Center (801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology, Clinic 3
(801) 213-9797

Priyanka Kanth, M.S.C.I, M.D.

Dr. Priyanka Kanth received her Medical Degree from Kasturba Medical College in India. She obtained graduate training in Internal Medicine from St. Mary’s Hospital in the United Kingdom and the University of Connecticut in the United States. Dr. Kanth completed her fellowship in the specialty of Gastroenterology... Read More

Specialties:

Gastroenterology

Locations:

Huntsman Cancer Institute
Endoscopy
(801) 213-9797
Redwood Health Center
Gastroenterology
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology, Clinic 3
(801) 213-9797

Vinodhini Kolandavelu, M.P.A.S., PA-C

Vino Kolandavelu, PA-C, is a practitioner in the department of Gastroenterology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Her clinical interests include treatment, diagnosis and continuing care for gastrointestinal disorders, including Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). ... Read More

Specialties:

Gastroenterology, Physician Assistant

Locations:

South Jordan Health Center (801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology, Clinic 3
(801) 213-9797

Keisa M. Lynch, APRN, FNP-C, DNP

Keisa M. Lynch, DNP, APRN, FNP is a family nurse practitioner in the department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Her clinical interests include treatment, diagnosis and continuing care for gastrointestinal diseases and hepatology.
... Read More

Specialties:

Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Family Nurse Practitioner, Gastroenterology, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Hepatology, Inflammatory Bowel Disease/Crohn's/Ulcerative Colitis, Women's Health

Locations:

Redwood Health Center
Gastroenterology
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology, Clinic 3
(801) 213-9797

Specialties:

Constipation, Gastroenterology, Women's GI Health

Locations:

Redwood Health Center
Redwood Urgent Care
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology, Clinic 3
(801) 213-9797

Kathryn A. Peterson, M.D.

Kathryn Peterson, MD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University Of Utah School Of Medicine and a Huntsman Cancer Institute investigator. She is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

... Read More

Specialties:

Barrett's Esophagus, Endoscopy, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Esophageal Diseases, GI Motility, Gastroenterology, Inflammatory Bowel Disease/Crohn's/Ulcerative Colitis, Women's GI Health

Locations:

University Hospital
Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology, Clinic 3
(801) 213-9797

N. Jewel Samadder, M.Sc., M.D.

Dr. Samadder received his medical degree from the University of Toronto (Canada) where he also completed his internal medicine residency. He subsequently completed a fellowship in Gastroenterology at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) and an Advanced Endoscopy fellowship at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN... Read More

Specialties:

Clinical Genetics, Colon Cancer, Gastroenterology, Gastrointestinal Cancers, Pancreatic Cancer

Locations:

Huntsman Cancer Institute
Endoscopy
(801) 213-9797
South Jordan Health Center (801) 213-9797

Matthew H. Steenblik, M.D.

Dr. Matthew Steenblik completed his medical degree and Internal Medicine residency training at the University of Utah. He then served as chief medical resident in the Department of Medicine before completing his gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Utah where he also served as chief fellow. He is ... Read More

I. Raymond Thomason, M.D.

Dr. Ray Thomason graduated from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Utah and completed post-graduate medical education in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology/Hepatology at the University of Utah. He has been involved in Transplant Hepatology in Utah since 1986. He is board certified in I... Read More

Specialties:

Endoscopy, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Liver Cancer, Liver Disease, Liver Transplant

Locations:

Huntsman Cancer Institute
Endoscopy
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Kidney and Liver Clinic
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Liver Transplant
(801) 585-6321

Christopher C. Tietze, M.D., Ph.D.

Chris Tietze, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology at the University of Utah. He is the Director of Hepatology at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City and is the GI Fellowship Program Director.

... Read More

Specialties:

Endoscopy, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Liver Cancer, Liver Disease, Liver Transplant

Locations:

Redwood Health Center
Gastroenterology
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Kidney and Liver Clinic
(801) 585-0000
Veterans Administration Medical Center (801) 584-1236

Ashok K. Tuteja, M.P.H., M.D., MRCP(UK)

Ashok K. Tuteja, M.D., M.P.H., M.R.C.P. received his medical degree from Delhi University. He did his internal medicine residency in England where he was awarded Membership in the Royal College of Physicians (M.R.C.P.). He received his Masters in Public Health from Oregon Health Sciences University. He complet... Read More

Specialties:

Constipation, Diarrhea, Endoscopy, Fecal Incontinence, GI Motility, Gastroenterology, Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Locations:

Redwood Health Center
Gastroenterology
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology, Clinic 3
(801) 213-9797
Veterans Administration Medical Center (801) 584-1236

John F. Valentine, M.D.

John F. Valentine, MD, is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and specializes in ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. His clinical interests and expertise are in inflammatory diseases of the intestinal tract that i... Read More

Specialties:

Gastroenterology, Inflammatory Bowel Disease/Crohn's/Ulcerative Colitis

Locations:

University Hospital
Gastroenterology, Clinic 3
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center
(801) 213-9797
University Hospital
Clinic 3
50 North Medical Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84132
Map
Appointments
(801) 213-9797
Redwood Health Center 1525 West 2100 South
Salt Lake City UT 84119
Map
Appointments
(801) 213-9797
Redstone Health Center 1743 W. Redstone Center Dr.
Park City, UT 84098
Map
Appointments
(801) 213-9797
South Jordan Health Center 5126 W. Daybreak Parkway
South Jordan, UT 84095
Map
Appointments
(801) 213-9797