September 24, 2019

Three Pioneering Physician Scientists Awarded 2019 Sherman Prizes for Focusing on Critical Unmet Needs in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

– Honorees Recognized for Building Multi-Disciplinary IBD Centers; Driving Innovative Research on Environmental Triggers and Novel Therapies; Enabling a Treatment Revolution; and Tackling One of IBD’s Most Difficult Complications –

NAPLES, Florida, September 24, 2019 – The Bruce and Cynthia Sherman Charitable Foundation today announced the recipients of the 2019 Sherman Prizes, recognizing outstanding achievements in the fight to overcome Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, also known as the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).

Maria T. Abreu, MD, Professor of Medicine, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Director, Crohn’s & Colitis Center, University of Miami Health System, Miami, FL, is a champion for patients, particularly those in underserved communities. She is awarded a $100,000 Sherman Prize for identifying an epidemic of IBD in Miami’s Hispanic community; advancing novel research to understand environmental triggers for IBD and exploring ways to optimize treatment; and mentoring junior colleagues in advancing their own innovative research. Dr. Abreu is beloved by her patients and is a relentless advocate, running marathons and triathlons in her spare time to raise money and awareness for IBD.

William J. Sandborn, MD, Chief, Division of Gastroenterology and Director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, UC San Diego Health; Professor of Medicine, UC San Diego School of Medicine, San Diego, CA, is awarded a $100,000 Sherman Prize for his groundbreaking work in IBD clinical trial design that enabled a revolution in treatment that set the standard for clinical care; leading the development of innovative medicines to provide patients with much-needed options; and helping to establish holistic care models that have improved patient care and outcomes. Dr. Sandborn is a sought-after clinician who has improved the quality of life for patients who feel they have run out of options, and a mentor to colleagues and students who have gone on to run major IBD centers.

Florian Rieder, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Inflammation and Immunity; Clinical Staff, Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, is awarded the $25,000 Sherman Emerging Leader Prize for his key role in advancing the development of novel therapies to treat fibrostenosis, a common and potentially devastating complication of IBD. Dr. Rieder is a respected early-career clinician, researcher and educator who devotes considerable energy to supporting junior talent and creating opportunities for others to make an impact for patients.

“In the fourth year of the Sherman Prize, we’re proud to honor Drs. Abreu, Sandborn and Rieder, visionaries who share a deep commitment to addressing the unmet challenges of IBD,” said Prize founders Bruce and Cynthia Sherman. “The holistic care they provide and the rigorous scientific research they lead is improving the quality of life for people with IBD today, and laying the foundation for greater discoveries in the future.”

Millions of people worldwide suffer from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which are chronic, inflammatory diseases that damage the gastrointestinal tract. While there are effective treatments, there is no cure and available medicines do not work for everyone. The Bruce and Cynthia Sherman Charitable Foundation established the Sherman Prize to recognize and reward talented individuals for their pioneering achievements in improving outcomes for people living with these diseases. Through this first-of-its-kind Prize, the Shermans aim to create a ripple effect, spreading awareness of excellence and inspiring others to continue innovating.

“IBD can be devastating, disrupting people’s lives and livelihoods,” said Dr. Dermot P.B. McGovern, Sherman Prize Selection Committee Chair and the Joshua L. and Lisa Z. Greer Endowed Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Genetics at Cedars-Sinai. “Not only have these Sherman Prize honorees made incredible contributions to improving treatment and care, they are exceptional teachers, mentoring the next generation of physician scientists to ensure continued advances in the field.”

The Sherman Prizes will be presented on December 12th at the Advances in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases conference in Orlando, Florida.

About the Sherman Prize

Every year, two $100,000 Sherman Prizes are awarded to individuals with extraordinary track records of achievement making exceptional and pioneering contributions, transforming IBD care and inspiring tomorrow’s innovators. A $25,000 Sherman Emerging Leader Prize is awarded to an individual making impressive contributions early in his or her career and showing great promise for significant contributions in the future. Sherman Prize honorees are selected by the Sherman Prize Board of Directors, with guidance from a nationally renowned group of IBD experts who comprise the Sherman Prize Selection Committee. To learn more about the Sherman Prize and sign up for notification of the 2020 nomination period, please visit

Media Contact: Shannon Richardson, 202-997-1982,