February 9, 2018
Monica Buchanan, Director, Corporate Communications
Hartford, Conn. – Thanks to an extraordinarily generous seven-figure gift from the Mandell-Braunstein family, the Center for Digestive Diseases at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center has established The Mandell-Braunstein Family Endowed Chair for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The gift will allow the Center for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Connecticut Children’s to expand both its research and clinical treatment efforts, which have already earned the Gastroenterology Division a designation as one of the best in the nation from U.S. News and World Report.
“Connecticut Children’s has long been a leader in IBD research and in providing high-level patient care, particularly to this most vulnerable population,” said Jim Shmerling, President and CEO of Connecticut Children’s. “This gift from the Mandell-Braunstein family will help us capitalize on our strengths, advance our research, and, most important, make an impact on the lives of children and families here in Connecticut and the region, now and far into the future. We are deeply grateful for their support.”
The inaugural holder of the chair will be Jeffrey S. Hyams, MD, the Division Head of Gastroenterology and Director of the Center for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Dr. Hyams is a world-renowned clinician and researcher who has authored over 400 peer-reviewed scientific papers and has led multiple pivotal studies investigating the causes of IBD and its treatment.
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are debilitating conditions that can be associated with severe abdominal pain and chronic digestive distress—conditions that can cause children to feel stigmatized. One of the more serious consequences of these diseases is growth failure, which can happen in children who are not treated. There is no cure, and ongoing care is required for a lifetime, usually involving oral and intravenous medications, special diets, and at times hospitalization and intestinal surgery. Psychosocial support is critical for affected children, in whom the symptoms often first appear in early adolescence.
According to Dr. Hyams, a key element in finding a cure and improving care is a better understanding of disease course and response to therapy by intensively studying each affected patient.
With more than 800 current patients and 80 or 90 added each year, the Center for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease generates an immense amount of complex, interactive data which, until now, has been underanalyzed. But with the Mandell-Braunstein Family gift, that situation will change. The funds generated by the endowment will be used to support a robust medical informatics program that will be able to analyze extremely large amounts of clinical and scientific data.
“The Mandell-Braunstein gift is a game-changer in this regard,” said Dr. Hyams. “Big data is an essential first step toward research goals and will make a big difference in patient care. We will be able to generate dynamic, relevant and directive reports on every child as we follow through their childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood.”
“We have admired Dr. Hyams’ work for many years,” said family spokesperson Mark Mandell. “Dr. Hyams and the team at Connecticut Children’s are nothing short of extraordinary. We are very pleased to be able to support Dr. Hyams and his team at Connecticut Children’s in this major expansion of efforts to advance the search for a cure for inflammatory bowel disease.”
About Connecticut Children’s
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is the only hospital in Connecticut dedicated exclusively to the care of children and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation. With a medical staff of more than 1,000, Connecticut Children’s provides comprehensive, world-class health care in more than 30 pediatric specialties and subspecialties. Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is a not-for-profit organization, which serves as the primary pediatric teaching hospital for the UConn School of Medicine, has a teaching partnership with the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University and is a research partner of The Jackson Laboratory. Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health is a national leader in community-based prevention and wellness programs.