Northeast Digestive Health Center History

Welcome Letter from the Managing Partner

Thomas T. Long III, M.D. came to Cabarrus Memorial Hospital on monthly visits during 1973-1974 as part of the new Duke-Cabarrus Educational Program. Dr. Long came full time in July 1974 to begin a consultative gastroenterology practice, provide endoscopy services and coordinate the Duke-Cabarrus Educational affiliation.  He had a vision to provide quality, state-of-the-art digestive disease care to citizens of Cabarrus County through consultation services for referring physicians, and to promote continuing medical education for medical staff physicians.

The physical office was originally located on 1E in the main hospital with only one endoscopy room. The practice began with one licensed practical nurse, one secretary, and one nurses' aide. The space was expanded several times between 1974 and 1981, including the addition of one endoscopy room.

Frank S. Pancotto, M.D. jointed Dr. Long in 1981 as the practice continued to expand.  Since he had completed his fellowship at Duke University Medical Center, he was instrumental in growing The Duke-Cabarrus Education Program.

Vickie Burrage was also hired in 1981 to coordinate office operations.

David F. Rhodes, M.D. was added in 1990 to meet the ever-increasing patient demand.  He completed his fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Additional space was created in the George Batte Center with sufficient offices to accommodate all of the physicians and three endoscopy rooms.  Due to space constraints, Dr. Rhodes occupied a desk in a hallway for six months while the new space was renovated.

In 1993, Thomas A. Dalton, M.D. was recruited from his fellowship at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine as the fourth physician to assist with increased patient volumes and to decrease the on-call demand.

Robert T. Foust, M.D. joined the group in 1997 from Medical University of South Carolina where he was the Assistant Professor of Medicine from 1988-1997.

In June 1999, the practice moved to office space on the second floor of the Medical Arts Building.  The Endoscopy Department was moved to open space previously occupied by the Emergency Department while the George Batte Center was modified once again to create another endoscopy procedure room and additional recovery bays.

Carl A. Gessner, M.D. practiced with CGA from 1999 until 2003.

The practiced added Cathy A. Drake, NP-BC to provide patient care and education to chronic disease patients from 2000-2008. Also, Dr. Frank Pancotto assumed the role as Managing Partner from Dr. Long in October 2000.

Mark D. Aldous, M.D. joined CGA in 2001 after completing his fellowship at Duke University Medical Center.

Claudia F. Wilson, PA-C provided communication assistance to CGA's Spanish-speaking population from 2002-2008. Also, in 2002, Dr. Long retired from the Duke University Medical Center faculty as Associate Professor Emeritus of Medicine.

G. Lance Hardin, PA-C was hired in 2003 as the third physician extender. He left employment in August 2004, returning to the practice from May 2005 through October 2005.

In 2004, Amy Dunatov was hired as the Practice Director to assist with physician recruiting and contracting, strategic planning and managed care contracting.

Alan W. Chiemprabha, M.D., was attracted to CGA in 2004 because of the high quality care provided by the physicians of CGA for the last thirty years.  He completed his fellowship at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

January 1, 2005, Cabarrus Gastroenterology Associates assumed the name Northeast Digestive Health Center.  The name change reflects our commitment to patients not only in Cabarrus County but also our surrounding counties, and to NorthEast Medical Center, our only affiliate.

February 2005, Marcella S. Nevels, PA-C was hired as an additional physician extender to the practice.

On May 2, 2005, the first patient was welcomed to the new facility at 1070 Vinehaven Drive NE in Concord, North Carolina. Dr. Rhodes was designated as the Endoscopy Medical Director.

In 2006, Dr. Long retired from Northeast Digestive Health Center and Cabarrus Gastroenterology Associates. Also in 2006, Dr. Aldous assumed the role of Managing Partner.

Nirav Chiniwalla, M.D. joined the practice in July 2006. Dr. Chiniwalla completed his fellowship at Allegheny General Hospital.

Sara Hawes, M.D. joined the practice in August 2007. Dr. Hawes completed her gastroenterology fellowship at Drexel University College of  Medicine in Philadelphia, PA.

Amy Dunatov relocated to Raleigh in the Fall of 2007. Laura Henry was hired as the new Practice Director.

The Physicians are committed to quality patient care and future expansions are under consideration to meet the county’s growing needs..


Welcome Letter from the Managing Partner

Dr. AldousOn behalf of the partners of Cabarrus Gastroenterology Associates, LLP, I would like to formally welcome you to NorthEast Digestive Health Center. Our goal is to provide the highest quality medical care to the people in and around Cabarrus County. In addition to providing medical services in a respectful, professional manner, we strive to put a priority on our patients needs and concerns.

At NorthEast Digestive Health Center, we offer consultative services for people with problems of the digestive tract (esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine), liver, pancreas, and biliary tree. We also offer colon cancer screening as well as in-office endoscopic services. If our patients require other diagnostic or inpatient services, we utilize NorthEast Medical Center, which has been recognized as one of the nations top hospitals.

As Gastroenterologists, we strive to help our patients maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract. For those people with problems, we will address and manage those problems to the best of our abilities. To current and future patients as well as their families and loved ones, welcome to our practice.


Mark D. Aldous, MD

Managing Partner

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