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Event Honorees

ellen J. Scherl, md

Rosenthal Humanitarian Award

Dr. Ellen Scherl lectures nationally and internationally on optimizing IBD therapies and redefining the impact of innovative therapies on existing strategies. 
 
Dr. Scherl is the Founding Director of the Jill Roberts Center (JRC) and currently Research Director of JRC. She has served as Chair for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s Greater New York Chapter Medical Advisory Committee and President of the New York Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the largest regional endoscopic society in the United States. She is a Founder of New York City Crohn’s and Colitis Organization NYCCO and served as the inaugural Chairperson of this inter-institutional collaborative clinical research initiative.
 
Dr. Scherl established the IBD Center at NY Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medicine in 2002. She became the Founding Director of the Jill Roberts Center for IBD in 2006. She established the JRC along with the late Jill Roberts as a joint labor of love. She has forged inspired collaborations with Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s pediatricians, colorectal surgeons, nutritionisits, researchers and multidisciplinary consultants. 
 
The Jill Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease is exploring comprehensive approaches toward integrating nutrition,healthcare and IBD research, looking forward to achieving preventive and personalized medicine. The JRC  IBD Center is committed to the interdisciplinary approach to Inflammatory Bowel Disease focusing on nutrition, osteoporosis, nephrology, dysplasia, and colon cancer screening using novel techniques such as narrow band imaging. Dr. Scherl frequently lectures on IBD at local, regional and national meetings, conferences and seminars.
 
In collaboration with the Jill Roberts Institute she has established an IBD live cell bank. She has collaborated with researchers at Cornell University to identify a novel E. Coli bacteria associated with Crohn’s Disease and continues to collaborate with Weill Medical College of Cornell University/New York-Presbyterian Hospital researchers investigating the immunogenetics and immunobiology of IBD.
 
She is the Jill Roberts Professor of Clinical Medicine. Dr Scherl is a world renowned expert in IBD  committed to caring for the community of individuals and families living with Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis while curing IBD through collaborations focusing on individualized medicine by illuminating endoscopic,  immunologic, microbial, genetic and molecular signatures and pathways.  Since joining the WCMC/NYPH she has established  a longitudinal patient database which documents  ongoing  validated disease activity indices  in the individual daily EMR
 
Castle Connolly has consistently honored Dr. Scherl as one of America’s Top Doctors® in 2020 and celebrates New York Metro Top Doctors 15th Anniversary 2020. She has received the 2012 CCFÀ Woman of the year award 2008 AGA award for Outstanding  Women In Science and in 2007 was awarded the NYSGE Florence Lefcourt Distinguished Service Award.
 
 Dr Scherl has served as editorial reviewer for the IBD Journal, Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 
 
She is co-editor of The Changing World Of IBD and co-author of a comprehensive IBD text-book. She is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.
 
Dr. Scherl is a fellow of the American College of Physicians (FACP), the American College of Gastroenterologists (FACG), the American Society for Gastroenterologists (FASGE) and the New York Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (FNYSGE). She is also an American Gastroenterological Associate Fellow (AGAF) and a member of numerous professional societies.Dr. Scherl has served as a Board member and the Education Director for Women and IBD: WE CARE.
 
Ellen Scherl’s passion for clinical and translational science in IBD research has had a tremendous impact  on clinical care and research in New York and nationwide.  Throughout her career, she has shown the courage, innovation and vision to lead clinical and translational research to improve the lives of patients living with IBD. 

 

William K. Lanier

Patient Advocate of the Year

Will, a fitness trainer, doesn’t look the part of a “sick” person. Hidden underneath his fit exterior lies the effects of a disease that plagued his body for more than a decade. In 2005, Will was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a debilitating digestive disease that causes abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever, weight loss, and much more. 

Will spent a decade battling his disease. Doctor visits, in-office exams, sigmoidoscopies, colonoscopies, medications, and more were part of his regular routine. In 2014, his disease flares began to get worse. He sought the opinion of a new doctor who performed another colonoscopy. Will expected to hear that his disease was active and his treatment regiment would need to be changed; what he didn’t expect to hear was that he had colon cancer at 28 years old.

His doctor found a colonic adenocarcinoma, a type of cancer that develops in the intestinal epithelial cells that line the inside of the colon and/or rectum. Patients living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis may experience serious complications, including colorectal cancer (CRC). CRC can occur anywhere in the large intestine, and is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Although this statistic is scary, it’s important to know that CRC is preventable and highly treatable in the early stages.

Will was lucky that they found the tumor when they did- it was early enough that he was able to have the tumor surgically removed, and did not require chemotherapy. He ended up having three surgeries – one to remove his colon and create an ileostomy, a second one to create an ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (also known as a j-pouch), and a third takedown surgery to reverse the ileostomy.   

Disease duration and the extent of the colon involved are two key risk factors that play into the development of CRC among IBD patients. The risk for CRC does not start increasing until 8 to 10 years after you develop ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease involving the colon. People whose entire colon is involved have the greatest risk, and those with inflammation only in the rectum have the least risk.

Almost two years after his last surgery, Will’s cancer-free. His advice to patients experiencing any complications of IBD? Allow yourself to feel emotions. 

“This has got to be the biggest lesson I learned. You cannot bury your emotions or bottle them up. Feel them. Embrace them. If you’re sad…be sad. If you’re mad…holler about it. In the end, you’ll come to realize that negative feelings and emotions are a waste of your time and you will begin to see the good in all things that happen to you.”

charlie morris

Rising Star

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at nine years-old. When I was first told, I had a preliminary idea of what this meant, but I did not anticipate the extent to which this disease has affected me. When I was in elementary school I remember being the only kid who had to refrain from after-school activities and being the only one leaving school early because I needed a reprieve from the pain.

Fortunately, once I started receiving the right treatment and support from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, I have been able to overcome the challenges of my illness and lead a normal teenage life. I am now a rising senior at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory school, where I am an active member of the school’s academic clubs and athletic teams — without the disease precluding me. The support I have received from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation has been immense, for without it, my activities would have been severely curtailed. It is my mission to help those just like me so that they too do not have to be hindered by the disease. As this disease has no cure, I strongly advocate for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.