NM Connections: Digestive Health Foundation Gala Raises $2.41 Million

Digestive Health Foundation Gala 2018

With more than 400 guests in attendance, the Digestive Health Foundation at Northwestern Medicine recently hosted its third annual Gala to benefit patients at the Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Center. The Gala raised a remarkable $2.41 million toward helping to transform digestive disease into digestive health.

In addition to benefiting the clinical, research and educational efforts of the Digestive Health Center, the Gala honored Steven J. Stryker, MD, a colon and rectal surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and professor of Clinical Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, as well as his wife Andréa J. Schwartz, vice president of Media Relations for Macy’s, U.S.

The evening featured the announcement of the creation of the “Steven J. Stryker Gastrointestinal Surgery, Education and Research Endowment,” which was recently established through a generous donation of $1 million from Mrs. Judith Blazer.

“We were thrilled to pay tribute to Dr. Stryker at this year’s Gala, and to shine much-deserved light on his longstanding leadership in gastroenterological surgery and his deep commitment to patient- and family-centered care,” said Lee Gould, president of DHF. “We are deeply grateful to Dr. Stryker and his wife Andréa Schwartz for their many contributions in the area of digestive health. Their tireless commitment is helping to promote continued progress for the benefit of the 60 to 70 million Americans affected by digestive illnesses.”

The 2018 Gala brought the total amount of funds raised by DHF, since the foundation’s inception in 2015, to more than $6 million. In just three years’ time, DHF has funded 30 pivotal, ongoing research initiatives, including the Digestive Health Foundation BioRepository, a tissue bank designed to support global research into digestive diseases and other medical disorders; two endowments, including the endowment recently established in honor of Dr. Stryker; and two specialized physician fellowships, through the Digestive Health Foundation Grant Awards program.

“Everyone who supported this year’s gala is crucial to the missions of both DHF and the Digestive Health Center,” said Stephen B. Hanauer, MD, an internationally recognized gastroenterologist and Clifford Joseph Barborka Professor of Medicine at Feinberg, who serves as medical director of the Digestive Health Center. “Thanks to the generosity of our friends and donors, the center’s three pillars—leading-edge research, patient care and education—are only growing stronger, and DHF is providing outstanding support for projects that are yielding much-needed solutions for people living with inflammatory bowel disorders, esophageal and swallowing disorders, colorectal neoplasia and cancer and more.”