By: Anna Gomberg
Colorectal surgeon Kinga Skowron, MD, has been awarded a one-year grant from the GI Research Foundation to support her continuing work in colorectal surgery as a clinical associate and researcher (2020-2021), under the mentorship of Neil Hyman, MD, Co-Director of the Digestive Diseases Center. The grant from GIRF will also support her pursuit of advanced training in outcomes research and data analysis at the University of Chicago via the Master of Science in Public Health Sciences for Clinical Professionals program. Dr. Skowron is among the best young colorectal surgeons in the country and sets the standard for research excellence, clinical expertise, and surgical skill.
Her advanced studies will support her ongoing research endeavors building a database of J-pouch patients. She has already created a retrospective database of 435 J-pouch patients, using information from 2000 to the present, but a prospective database will allow Skowron and other researchers to study J-pouch patients with more accuracy and precision. The ultimate goal of this work is to develop a tool to predict whether a J-pouch surgery will be successful given a specific patient’s risk factors for complications. Skowron has also published in many prestigious academic journals including articles on C. difficile infections in patients who undergo ileal pouch-anal anastomosis for ulcerative colitis, and surgical treatment guidelines for rectal cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Skowron has earned many accolades throughout her long tenure at the University of Chicago. She was a Senior Fellow in the MacLean Center for Medical Ethics, was designated a member of Alpha Omega Alpha (a prestigious medical school honor society), and received the Robert Baker Golden Apple Award for Excellence in teaching in the Department of Surgery, as well as the Frimpong Award for her exemplary character and team spirit. Skowron, who immigrated to the United States from Poland with her mother at age eight, is a loyal hometown hero, having completed all of her medical training at the University of Chicago Medicine.
“This is my dream job,” says Skowron, “I cannot imagine a more perfect condition for success in the field of clinical outcomes research. Your support has made all of this a reality for me. I am honored to have this opportunity, and promise to make your investment well worth it.”
One of her mentors, Dr. Hyman, adds, “Dr. Skowron has been a ‘rock star’ during her time here, and her performance has been exemplary in every way. She is one of those rare people that excels in compassionate clinical care, teaching, and research.”
GIRF’s support will pave the way for Skowron’s continued illustrious career at the University of Chicago Medicine, and will help her to plan and lead many new programmatic initiatives involving the treatment and cure of colorectal cancer, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and other digestive diseases, underscoring the GI Research Foundation’s commitment to accelerating research and discovery in digestive diseases. This type of early career support from GIRF is critical at this time, as limitations due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have limited funding opportunities for even the best and brightest young scholars.