CHICAGO (May 22, 2024) – The 2024 Digestive Health Foundation Gala raised over $4 million to support the establishment of the Northwestern Medicine Hanauer Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, a major new initiative that was announced at the May 11 event at the Four Seasons Chicago. DHF has now raised more than $23 million since its inception in 2015 to advance research and programs aimed at improving the diagnosis, treatment and quality of life for individuals with digestive disease and their families.

Dr. Hanauer, the new center’s namesake, is an award-winning gastroenterologist and Medical Director of the Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Center. The Hanauer IBD Center recognizes his contributions to Northwestern Medicine as well as his achievements as an internationally recognized expert on the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, former chair of the FDA Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee, and advisor on the development of multiple leading IBD drugs.

The center will benefit patients suffering from digestive disease by offering innovative diagnostics, treatments and techniques including artificial intelligence; multidisciplinary care including nutrition therapy, behavioral health support and connections to other medical specialties; and access to early-phase clinical trials regardless of the patient’s location or ability to pay.

The gala was keynoted by Dr. Maria T. Abreu, a world-renowned IBD expert and gastroenterologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, who provided insights into Dr. Hanauer’s impact on the field. Other speakers included Dr. John E. Pandolfino, Chief, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Northwestern Medicine, who discussed Dr. Hanauer’s impact on the division; and Dr. Michael Ruchim, Associate Chief Medical Officer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Vice President of Medical Affairs at Northwestern Memorial Foundation, who described the vision and mission of the Hanauer IBD Center.

One in five people will be diagnosed with digestive health disorders ranging from colorectal and pancreatic cancers to esophageal cancer and disorders, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, liver diseases such as hepatitis, and others.

Funds raised by previous DHF galas have supported nearly 90 studies by the world-class physician scientists at Northwestern Medicine’s Digestive Health Center as well as groundbreaking initiatives changing the future of digestive care. That includes the DHF BioRepository, a blood and tissue bank used for digestive health research launched with a signature grant award from the Digestive Health Foundation; the Artificial Intelligence in Mathematics in Gastroenterology (AIM-GI) project, which uses AI and virtual organs to improve the diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases and is only one of a few resources of its kind in the world; and the use of nano-string technology to enable the study of inflammatory and immune cells in various GI disorders.

2024 Gala Photo Gallery

2024 Gala Program Book