3 IBD Specialists Win 1st ‘Sherman Prize for Excellence in Crohn’s and Colitis’

3 IBD Specialists Win 1st ‘Sherman Prize for Excellence in Crohn’s and Colitis’

The Bruce and Cynthia Sherman Charitable Foundation has announced the winners of the inaugural Sherman Prize for Excellence in Crohn’s and Colitis, awarding a total of $225,000 to  research efforts.

The Sherman Prize was established to promote achievements and pioneering work in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), focusing on Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). The prize recognizes healthcare professionals, researchers, community advocates, and educators involved in patient care and service to the community, as well as in medical research.

The winners are:

  • Eva Szigethy, MD, PhD, co-director of the UPMC Total Care–IBD Program and an associate professor of psychiatry, medicine and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She received a $100,000 prize developing the first U.S. health program for pediatric IBD patients focusing on the role of emotions and behaviors related to IBD, and assigning a psychiatrist and psychologist within the pediatric gastroenterology clinic at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.  She later replicated the model for adults, founding the Visceral Inflammation and Pain Center at the University of Pittsburgh.
  • James D. Lewis, MD, MSCE, a professor of medicine and epidemiology and associate director of the IBD Program at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, was also awarded a $100,00 prize. As a gastroenterologist, Dr. Lewis has worked to optimize medical therapies for IBD patients. His most recent efforts focus on understanding the influence of diet and the gut microbiome on the course of IBDs, to identify alternative treatment approaches to systemic immunosuppression. Dr. Lewis is also leading the establishment of IBD Plexus, a research and information exchange platform to standardize data collection, and allowing researchers to gain new insights into Crohn’s and UC.
  • Lea Ann Chen, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine and an attending physician at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, will receive a $25,000 Sherman Emerging Leader Prize for her work as a physician-scientist focused on underserved communities. Dr. Chen was recognized for her contributions to knowledge of the gut microbiome and how it influences IBD, and for her work in addressing the challenges of caring for underserved patients vulnerable to severe complications of Crohn’s and UC, applying with colleagues a comprehensive care approach that includes medical assistance, healthcare navigation, and access to specialized services.

“I am proud to recognize and honor the first-ever Sherman Prize recipients, who are true visionaries in advancing the care of people with Crohn’s and colitis,” Bruce Sherman said in a press release. “Through their work developing innovative psychosocial care models, advancing the understanding of IBD and its treatment, and providing superior care to underserved patients, Drs. Szigethy, Lewis, and Chen are at the vanguard of improving health outcomes for people with IBD.

“As a parent of children with Crohn’s, I’m thankful for the relentless dedication of these Sherman Prize recipients and excited to provide funding to help them advance their important research and care initiatives.”

More information on the Sherman Prize, including the nomination process for 2017 awards, is available at ShermanPrize.org.