The Bruce and Cynthia Sherman Charitable Foundation Announces Recipients of the 2022 Sherman Prizes, Rewarding Outstanding Achievements in Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
BOCA RATON, Fla., September 21, 2022 – The Bruce and Cynthia Sherman Charitable Foundation today announced the recipients of the seventh annual Sherman Prizes, recognizing excellence in the field of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, also known as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
Sherman Prize Honorees
Sherman Emerging Leader Prize Honoree
“IBD has impacted our family for generations,” said Bruce Sherman, who co-founded the Sherman Prize along with his wife, Cynthia. “We’re incredibly grateful that these brilliant physician-scientists, Drs. Dubinsky, Mahadevan, and Dulai, have chosen this field and devote their careers to driving the science forward every day, and try their best to improve the quality of IBD patients’ lives. By pushing the envelope and providing hope to IBD patients and their families, these trailblazers inspire others to do the same.”
“When we look at their body of work, we start to see a brighter future, all made possible by their talent and their passion,” said Cynthia Sherman of this year’s recipients. “Future generations of IBD patients and practitioners will be better off because of them. Their work is what this Prize is all about, excellence that truly inspires.”
Short tribute films highlighting the Prize recipients’ achievements will be premiered during special sessions to honor them at the Advances in IBD (AIBD) conference in Orlando, Florida on Dec. 6, 2022. The films may be viewed at www.ShermanPrize.org following the conference.
“Drs. Dubinsky, Mahadevan, and Dulai exemplify what it means to put patients’ needs first,” said Dr. Maria T. Abreu, Sherman Prize Selection Committee Chair, and Professor of Medicine and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “Their curiosity to probe what’s behind unmet needs and their tenacity in overcoming challenges to put their research into motion is what changes outcomes, not only for their own patients but for all those living with IBD. I’m proud to stand with them as a colleague and cannot wait to join my fellow Committee members to honor them at AIBD in December.”
About the 2022 Prize Recipients
Dr. Marla Dubinsky is one of IBD’s preeminent game changers, awarded a $100,000 Sherman Prize for her infectious energy and ‘never say never’ approach to fostering interdisciplinary collaborations that improve patients’ health. She brings to her medical career a fearlessness that she honed as a young athlete, along with the attitude that success is a team sport. An inspiring clinician, researcher, educator and mentor, Dr. Dubinsky says that personalizing care for women and children is her North Star. As an internationally recognized leader in pediatric IBD, Dr. Dubinsky has been giving hope to children and their parents for decades. Her research accomplishments and care innovations are many — from defining therapeutic dosing levels of medicines to optimize treatment in children, to identifying some of the most predictive biomarkers for disease progression, to bringing intestinal ultrasound to the bedside. Today, Dr. Dubinsky works on being a guiding figure for those coming up the ranks, teaching her mentees to tailor care to a patient’s needs and reinforcing the importance of empowering patients to better manage their IBD so they can live the life they want. Toward this end, she helped develop a decision support tool originally called PROSPECT, now CDPATH, that shows patients their risk of disease progression so they can make informed treatment decisions. After fostering resilience training for patients at Mount Sinai and seeing how much it improved their overall health, she co-founded, along with her friend and colleague Laurie Keefer, Ph.D, a publicly-traded digital health company, Trellus Health, to make this empowerment training available online to patients anywhere, anytime, helping them overcome adversity and not be defined by their disease. Looking to the future, Dr. Dubinsky is exploring how to prevent IBD and is hopeful that a collaborative effort will one day lead to an intervention to stop IBD from developing in people at risk for the disease.
Dr. Uma Mahadevan is an innovator for life, awarded a $100,000 Sherman Prize for her fierce advocacy on behalf of women suffering from IBD who needed a tireless problem-solver to challenge outdated ideas and make families possible. Dr. Mahadevan’s pioneering research has been a linchpin in standardizing the care of pregnant women with IBD around the world. Her journey to help women began early in her career, when she was struck by the lack of knowledge around pregnancy outcomes in IBD. She made it her life’s work to close this gap so women with IBD could conceive and safely carry a baby while minimizing risk to their own health. Her landmark achievement has been designing and leading the prospective PIANO (Pregnancy Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Neonatal Outcomes) study, which created the country’s largest registry to evaluate pregnancy outcomes and the use of IBD medications in women and their offspring. With more than 2,000 women in the study, the registry has enabled significant change in treatment. PIANO revealed that women with IBD can safely continue taking biologic therapies and thiopurines through pregnancy and lactation, and that continuing treatment, instead of stopping as had been previously advised, leads to better outcomes for mothers and their babies. Moreover, the registry is providing important guidance for women with psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, who often take the same medications as those used in IBD. Dr. Mahadevan anticipates PIANO’s impact will only grow more profound over time as the registry follows participants’ children up to their 18th birthday and continues to evaluate new medicines. Today, Dr. Mahadevan continues to advance patient care while finding time to see more than 1,500 patients every year and mentor the next generation of IBD physicians to continue a legacy of improving patient outcomes.
Dr. Parambir Dulai’s unrelenting spirit creates hope. He is awarded the $25,000 Sherman Emerging Leader Prize for championing hyperbaric oxygen therapy to alleviate suffering in people with ulcerative colitis. For 10 years, he has relentlessly pursued this research to see if this approach can heal acute symptoms in people hospitalized with ulcerative colitis. He’s particularly interested in hyperbaric oxygen because it is widely available in community hospitals, which means that if it works, every patient hospitalized for ulcerative colitis has the potential to get treated and discharged safely, without a need for surgery. Despite early critics of his research, Dr. Dulai persevered – dedicating nights and weekends to early-stage trials that ultimately showed positive results. Now Dr. Dulai is making plans to lead a Phase 3 investigator-initiated trial (IIT) – the first ever conducted in hospitalized ulcerative colitis patients in the U.S. He is hopeful that it will result in the first FDA-approved treatment developed outside of the pharmaceutical industry – providing a transformational therapy for patients. To make this study possible, Dr. Dulai built a large collaborative consortium, integrating professional networks to conduct large IITs. And he didn’t stop there. He’s also credited with developing the IBD Clinical Decision Support Tool (CDST), a free online treatment decision-making tool that has been used by more than 3,000 providers. And he’s identified a novel biomarker in ulcerative colitis that he licensed to industry for drug development. Now, Dr. Dulai has been recruited to a prestigious leadership position at Northwestern Medicine, where he oversees clinical trials and precision medicine delivery for more than 15,000 IBD patients. He hopes this research will help bring the personalized treatment revolution to the field of IBD and radically transform the way these diseases are treated.
About the Sherman Prize
The Sherman Prize was founded in 2016 by the Bruce and Cynthia Sherman Charitable Foundation to honor innovators from a variety of professional disciplines who have dedicated their careers to the fight to overcome IBD and represent “Excellence in Crohn’s and Colitis” in their chosen endeavors. Every year, two $100,000 Sherman Prizes are awarded to IBD visionaries to recognize their exceptional and pioneering contributions that have transformed the care of people with IBD. A $25,000 Sherman Emerging Leader Prize is awarded to an IBD professional who, while early in her or his career, has contributed to an advancement and shows great promise for significant future contributions. Visit ShermanPrize.org to view the Honor Roll of Sherman Prize recipients, watch their inspiring short tribute films and sign up to receive notification of the 2023 nomination cycle.