Washington Gastroenterology (WAGI) was formed when four western Washington-based gastroenterology (GI) practices merged: Digestive Health Specialists (Tacoma/South Sound), Gastroenterology Associates (Olympia), Northwest Gastroenterology Associates and Overlake Internal Medicine Associates – Gastroenterology (Bellevue/Eastside area). Launched on January 1, 2018, WAGI is now the largest GI practice in the state. Our story includes a rich history of providing preeminent GI care for nearly five decades, combined with a vision of collaboration and innovation in a new practice dedicated to extraordinary patient care now and into the future.
Dr. F. Dennis Waldron, founder of the group that would later be known as Digestive Health Specialists, formed the first GI practice in Tacoma in 1972. Likewise, Dr. James Wagner was the first gastroenterologist to practice in Bellevue, when he established the GI department of Overlake Internal Medicine Associates in 1973. He subsequently co-founded Northwest Gastroenterology Associates in 1986. Similarly, Dr. James Kruidenier, founding member of Gastroenterology Associates, was the first fellowship-trained gastroenterologist to practice in Olympia in 1980. Over the years, each of these practices flourished and expanded to add physicians, advanced practitioners, clinics and endoscopy center locations.
In 2015, with an eye on the future, the four legacy groups began exploring how to best collaborate and combine our talents and resources to provide an enhanced patient experience. Within a short time, it became clear that only by taking a leap and merging our operations into a single, unified practice could our ambitious goals truly be realized. These include utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, conducting pioneering GI clinical research, and providing an unparalleled range of GI clinical and management expertise. Combining our strengths and skills allows us to remain an independent, physician-owned and governed practice, focused solely on our primary goal: doing what is best for our patients and their digestive health.
Today, WAGI is comprised of 20 locations, more than 40 board-certified gastroenterologists and a highly skilled team of advanced practitioners, as well as an experienced clinical and administrative staff. As a part of the most trusted GI practice in the state, the providers and staff at Washington Gastroenterology will strive to provide our patients with exceptional and compassionate gastroenterological care – through our collective experience, expertise, and dedication – for decades to come.
Welcome to Washington Gastroenterology.