The Distinguished Hoosier Award is among the highest honors awarded by the governor’s office to Indiana residents. It identifies individuals who have contributed significantly to the state and its people, and who bring recognition, administration and respect to the state through their character and accomplishments.
Dr. Fitzgerald was nominated for this award by his colleagues. He is internationally recognized as a specialist in the field of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition, and he founded the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology at Riley Hospital for Children more than four decades ago. For many years, Dr. Fitzgerald was the only pediatric gastroenterologist in Indiana and was affectionately given the title “GI Joe.”
Over the decades that Dr. Fitzgerald practiced medicine, he cared for thousands of children and assuaged the concerns of their parents and families. As a School of Medicine faculty member, Dr. Fitzgerald has trained countless medical students and pediatric gastroenterologists. In fact, the majority of the pediatric gastroenterologists currently practicing in Indiana were trained by Dr. Fitzgerald.
“Dr. Fitzgerald has been an inspiring mentor and leader; he has influenced pediatricians and pediatric gastroenterologists throughout the country,” said Jean Molleston, M.D., director of Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology at Riley Hospital of Indiana University Health.