Dr. Howard R. Mertz

DR. HOWARD R. MERTZ practices all aspects of gastroenterology, including endoscopic ultrasound and inflammatory bowel disease. Nashville Magazine’s survey of local physicians rated Dr. Mertz in the top 85 physicians and top 3 gastroenterologists in Nashville in 2006, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017.  US News and World Reports rates Dr Mertz in the top 1% of Gastroenterologists in the Unites States (2012). He is the most experienced endoscopic ultrasonographer in Tennessee with a caseload over 14,000 and over 5,000 fine needle biopsies. He is currently a clinical assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt. Dr. Mertz is board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology. He received his bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University with honors in 1982. He earned his doctor of medicine from Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston Texas, with honors in 1986. He completed a residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins University in 1989. Dr. Mertz completed his gastroenterology fellowship at UCLA in 1991 and was a member of the UCLA faculty as an assistant professor until 1994. He served as an assistant professor at Vanderbilt, and as an associate professor of medicine and radiology at Vanderbilt University. He has published 36 original articles, 10 book chapters, and 7 review articles including Therapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2003. Dr. Mertz has served on the editorial boards of Gastroenterology, Gut, and Digestive Diseases and Sciences. Dr. Mertz has been a partner in Nashville Gastrointestinal Specialists since 2003. Dr. Mertz is a past president of the Tennessee Society for Gastroenterology and Endoscopy (TnSGE).

The best measure of colonoscopy quality is detection of precancerous polyps, with target detection rates of 15% in women and 25% in men. Dr. Mertz detected polyps in 32% of his female patients and in 43% of the men in 2009-2010 far better than national target rates. In 2017 his adenoma detection rate is 37%.


Dr. Mertz’s Nurse practitioners are Susan Matthews, M.S. FNP-C and Kristen Viera, M.S. NP-AC Click here to learn more about them.


Dr. Ronald E. Pruitt

DR. RONALD E. PRUITT, a native of North Carolina, received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Chemistry and Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned his Doctorate of Medicine from UNC School of Medicine and completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine in 1987 at the University of Alabama School of Medicine. He completed his fellowship in Gastroenterology and Hepatology at UAB in 1989 under the direction of Basil I. Hirschowitz, M.D., the inventor of the flexible fiberoptic endoscope prior to his joining Nashville Gastrointestinal Specialists. He is double Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. Dr. Pruitt is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, the American College of Gastroenterology, and the American Gastroenterology Association. He has published numerous papers on gastrointestinal disease and is the recipient of national awards from the American College of Physicians, the American Lithotripsy Society, and the American Gastroenterological Association. Dr. Pruitt is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Chief of Gastroenterology at Saint Thomas Hospital, and Chief Medical Officer of the Maria Nathanson Center of Excellence in Gastrointestinal, Pulmonary and Renal Medicine, and Research. He is one of the world’s expert authorities in pancreaticobiliary endoscopy (ERCP) performing approximately 500 of these procedures each year. He is listed by his peers as one of Nashville’s most talented and respected physicians in Consumers’ Guide to Top Doctors, a publication of medicine’s best. Dr. Pruitt has been a partner in Nashville Gastrointestinal Specialists since 1989.


Dr. Pruitt’s Nurse Practicioner is Susan Matthews, M.S. FNP-C


Dr. Edward E. White

DR. EDWARD A. WHITE is a native of Philadelphia. He received a Bachelor of Arts cum laude from Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina and earned his Doctor of Medicine cum laude from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
He completed his Internship, Internal Medicine Residency and served his Gastroenterology Fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee. While at Vanderbilt he served as the preceptor for second-year medical students in learning history and physical exam skills as well as instructing a small group in a gastrointestinal section of physiology. Dr. White is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and is Board Certified in Gastroenterology. Dr. White joined Nashville Gastrointestinal Specialists in 2007.


Dr. White’s Nurse Practitioner is Julie L. Vanderpool, MSN, ACNP