Open/Close Menu Supporting Research at the University of Chicago Medicine Digestive Diseases Center


Board member Mark de Souza is grateful. Very. It’s one of the primary reasons he’s so devoted to the GI Research Foundation.  

For Mark, it’s personal. His symptoms started back in 1975 when he was very young. For years, he went to several doctors and hospitals before finding relief at the University of Chicago Medical Center. For over four decades he’s relied on his doctors’ insightful attention and knowledge to alleviate painful symptoms. He’s grateful for the medical help today.

Mark also knew he wasn’t alone in battling IBD and wanted to do more. So, as a young businessman, he sat down with legendary gastroenterologist, the late Dr. Joseph B. Kirsner, to find out how he could help others. Kirsner spoke to Mark about GIRF, how its support of research was modernizing GI disease treatment worldwide. Dr. Kirsner said cures were possible, but only with the right resources. This pivotal conversation with Dr. Kirsner led Mark to join GIRF’s Board and today he is the Board’s VP of Fundraising. “I see my work as a tribute to Dr. Kirsner and to provide hope for all affected by GI diseases,” says Mark.

Mark adds, “I know what I’ve endured as an IBD patient. It’s my hope that with more financial support, we can achieve cures. I’m determined to use every resource I have — time, ideas, community, and capital — to advance the research and practices to positively transform so many lives.”

Continued, strong leadership is essential for GIRF’s success. Mark attributes GIRF’s future success to Dr. David Rubin — GIRF’s Lead Scientific Advisor and University of Chicago’s Section Chief of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition. Mark says, “I’m following the vision Dr. Rubin is mapping out for the GI section at the University of Chicago to fund more research and finding cures.”

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