Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology at Highland Hospital


Welcome. Thank you for visiting the website for the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Highland Hospital. We invite you to explore this website and to learn more about us.

About The Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

The Division is housed within the Department of Medicine at Highland Hospital. The Division was formed in 1970 when Ralph Bernstein, MD was recruited to be its founding member and inaugural Chief. Dr. Bernstein received his clinical and research training in gastroenterology at Boston University under the indomitable Dr. Franz Ingelfinger. After completing his training in Boston, Dr. Bernstein moved to the East Bay and took on the formidable task of developing, launching, and leading the Division at Highland Hospital. He led the Division for almost a quarter of a century and came to be regarded as one of the pioneers of Bay Area gastroenterology, literally introducing the practice of endoscopy to the East Bay.

Dr. Bernstein cultivated the Division's ethos of excellence in clinical service and education and laid the groundwork for our vision:

"To be become a nationally recognized, "safety-net", Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, known for providing: high quality care to the underserved, outstanding clinical education, and a record of clinically relevant investigation."

The Chiefs for the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology and their tenures:

Ralph Bernstein, MD: 1970-1993

Michael Silpa, MD: 1993-1999

Juergen Mueller, MD, PhD: 1999-2005

Charlie Cox, MD: 2005-2008

Taft Bhuket, MD: 2008 - current

About Highland Hospital

Highland Hospital opened in 1927 as the first comprehensive, acute care hospital in Oakland. At its opening, it was considered one of the most beautiful hospitals in the West. With its Spanish Baroque architectural style, there was the promise of "progressive medical care in comfortable surroundings" for the citizens of Alameda County.

In 1969, a new hospital building was constructed on the existing site to accomodate growth and to meet the need for more modern facilities.

Currently, the Highland Hospital campus is undergoing a nearly $700 million renovation. Two of the three phases have been completed, including a new ambulatory building (Highland Care Pavilion) and the new Highland Hospital which opened on April 4, 2016. Demolition of "old" Highland Hospital is under way to allow for construction of a connector building which will unify the hospital and ambulatory buildings.

See a video of the new Highland Hospital here.

Link to the construction project here.

The spirit of the original mission, 'to improve the health of all county residents regardless of their ability to pay', still holds true today. As a safety net institution, the primary trauma center, and the oldest teaching hospital for Alameda County, Highland Hospital has played a central role in East Bay medicine for almost 90 years. It remains the only teaching hospital for the system and sits on the main campus for AHS.

About Alameda Health System

Alameda Health System (AHS) (formerly Alameda County Medical Center) is the integrated, public (aka,'safety-net'), health care system for the citizens of Alameda County, California. Originally founded in 1864 as the Alameda County Infirmary, AHS now spans 5 major hospital campuses and 4 wellness centers throughout Alameda County, California.

The Alameda Health System hospital campuses are:

  • Highland Hospital
  • Alameda Hospital
  • San Leandro Hospital
  • John George Psychiatric Hospital
  • Fairmont Rehabilitation Hospital

The wellness centers are:

  • Eastmont Wellness
  • Hayward Wellness
  • Highland Wellness
  • Newark Wellness

AHS' core mission is to maintain and improve the health of all county residents, regardless of their ability to pay. AHS' mission statement is simply stated:

Caring, Healing, Teaching, Serving All.