Board Spotlight: Karyn Hurwich

A Conversation with Karyn

Why did you join the GIRF Board of Directors?

I joined the GIRF Board just before the Ball in 2018 to try to keep my connection to the world of GI medicine. My husband, Daniel Hurwich, was a gastroenterologist and I am a registered nurse. Dan practiced GI in Northwest Indiana for 23 years. He loved his work, his coworkers, and his patients. I loved discussing it all with him at the end of the day. Dan had a good working relationship with many of his colleagues at the University of Chicago, and he had the utmost respect for them as researchers, clinicians, and human beings. Dan passed away in 2016 after a very brief illness. I knew of GIRF because of him, and my affiliation with GIRF has kept me connected, and given me additional perspectives and insights into the many complexities of caring for patients who are living with digestive diseases.

What do you enjoy most about being on the Board?

There are many things that I enjoy as a GIRF Board member. My favorite thing of all is the scientific update that is presented at every meeting. I have renewed awe at each meeting as we listen to the presentations given by various, always brilliant scientists, attending physicians, students, residents, and fellows about their latest accomplishments and new endeavors, often they are projects that have been supported by GIRF funds. In addition to how accomplished these men and women are, they are compassionate, kind, caring individuals.

We Board members all have different reasons for having joined the Board. I like hearing why and how GIRF became important to each of us. I like the other Board members, and it’s wonderful that we all want to work together to support the U of C Digestive Diseases clinicians and researchers who are tangibly improving the lives of patients locally and around the world. Covid has definitely thrown a wrench in the social aspect of GIRF. The Associates Board and the main Board had been very creative with a variety of fun events that also successfully raised funds. I look forward to more of that in the future.

When you are not volunteering as a GIRF Board Member, what do you do?

Hmmm…my professional life is in a state of indecision! I still maintain my RN in both Illinois and Indiana. I have not worked in healthcare in many years, and I do very much miss it. I also am a licensed real estate broker in the state of Indiana. My family has been involved in real estate in the north suburbs of Chicago for many decades. My parents’ generation is aging, and my most recent gig has been hanging out with my dad and uncles at their Highland Park office, trying to help them and learn more about their business. I’m enjoying my work and family time. I’m thinking about volunteering to give vaccines. I do some volunteering on a local level in northwest Indiana. I’ve lately been spending more time in Chicago, so I’m kind of in a state of transition.

I spend my free time with family and friends. I look forward to returning to more normal times so we can all try to enjoy experiencing life together.

Karyn is co-chair, alongside fellow Board member Kathy Shafer, of the GI Research Foundation Diamond Anniversary Ball on Saturday, May 1st at 6 PM.