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Dr. Ashwin Kurian, Dr. Ahmed Zihni, and Our Team

Dr. Ashwin Kurian

Dr. Ashwin Kurian completed his medical schooling in Bangalore Medical College, India in 2001. After this he completed a general surgery residency in the United Kingdom, where he is a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He moved to Philadelphia, USA to continue his general surgery training in Abington Memorial Hospital. He graduated from his training program in 2011. He has completed a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery of the esophagus and stomach and advanced flexible endoscopy.

He is interested in the incision-less endoscopic management of surgical disorders. His research interests are in benign esophageal motility disorders, gastroesophageal reflux and esophageal cancer. He has written extensively on POEM, which is a new incision-less surgical endoscopic procedure for patients with swallowing problems and gastroesophageal reflux disease. He is also involved in research directed towards improvements in surgical education of minimally invasive and endoscopic surgery.

When not practicing medicine Dr. Kurian enjoys spending time with his young son and wife. He also enjoys skiing, hiking and traveling.

Dr. Ahmed Zihni

Dr. Zihni is a foregut surgeon who joined SurgOne and the Denver Esophageal and Stomach Center in October, 2018. Dr. Zihni has particular interest in esophageal and stomach surgery including anti-reflux surgery, surgery for achalasia, gastric or esophageal cancer, and gastroparesis. He is trained in minimally invasive surgery, and can perform most procedures laparoscopically or endoscopically. Dr Zihni has published extensively on outcomes of minimally invasive surgery, as well as the ergonomics of surgical platforms and educational strategies in surgery.

Dr. Zihni was born and raised in Queens, New York. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Stony Brook University with a degree in biochemistry and completed his medical degree at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. As a medical student, Dr. Zihni completed an additional year of research as a Doris Duke Fellow at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where he studied burn immunology. Dr. Zihni completed A general surgery residency at Washington University in St Louis, where he spent an additional two years of research studying ergonomics of surgical platform, robotic surgical education, and outcomes of foregut surgery. Dr. Zihni went on to complete a fellowship in foregut surgery at The Oregon Clinic in Portland, Oregon before joining Dr. Kurian, another Oregon Clinic graduate, in private practice. In his free time, Dr. Zihni loves reading, playing video games, exploring Colorado and traveling to other destinations, and spending time with his family.‚Äč


Chris Smilanic

Chris is the office manager, leader of our team, and surgery scheduler for DESC. She assists all patients while they are being treated at DESC.

Chris is also a Colorado native. While not in the office she enjoys the outdoors and spending time with her family.