For as long as I can remember, gastro-intestinal disease has been a part of my family. As a child and throughout his life, my dad was in the hospital many times due to bleeding ulcers. Medical understanding then, with total blame on diet and stress, was so much more limited than today. His digestive issues stayed with him throughout his life until he was diagnosed with cancer of the duodenum, that eventually prevented him from being able to eat, which my dad loved to do, and soon took his life.

As a teenager, my brother began to suffer from what doctors then thought was ulcers as well. Blamed on diet and stress, his suffering went misdiagnosed and untreated for more than a decade. Finally, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. His disease was resistant to the new and evolving biologic treatments. His life and work suffered constant disruption. Eventually after hospitalizations, he would have surgery to remove part of his large intestine. After a six week stay in the hospital fighting sepsis and other complications, he would return home to begin another course of treatment for maintenance. This too would eventually fail. Another surgery resulted in an ostomy that has mostly eliminated his symptoms and given him his life back.

These and other stories of friends and colleagues with GI diseases, tell me that driving, through research, to more accurate diagnosis, more successful treatment, prevention, and cures is essential to return patients to life free from suffering. So, when the opportunity to become the Executive Director of Gastro-Intestinal Research Foundation, I felt called.

With an over decade career working to fund research to cure type 1 diabetes, I look forward to using my skills and experience to bear on learning about GI diseases; connecting with grateful patients, donors, physicians, and scientists; and raising critical funds for groundbreaking and innovative research. I look forward to collaborating with you on this journey.