Maria T. Abreu, M.D., professor of medicine and microbiology and immunology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is receiving the 2019 Sherman Prize awarded by The Bruce and Cynthia Sherman Charitable Foundation to recognize outstanding achievements in the fight to overcome Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, also known as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
Dr. Abreu, who is also the director of the University of Miami Health System Crohn’s & Colitis Center, is a champion for patients, particularly those in underserved communities. She will receive a $100,000 Sherman Prize for identifying an epidemic of IBD in Miami’s Hispanic community, advancing novel research to understand environmental triggers for IBD and explore ways to optimize treatment, and mentoring junior colleagues in advancing their own innovative research. Dr. Abreu is beloved by her patients and is a relentless advocate, running marathons and triathlons in her spare time to raise money and awareness for IBD.
Dr. Abreu is one of two recipients of the 2019 Sherman Prize. The other is William J. Sandborn, M.D., chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at University of California San Diego Health and professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. Florian Rieder, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Inflammation and Immunity and part of the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Cleveland Clinic, received the Sherman Emerging Leader Prize.
“In the fourth year of the Sherman Prize, we’re proud to honor Drs. Abreu, Sandborn and Rieder, visionaries who share a deep commitment to addressing the unmet challenges of IBD,” said Bruce and Cynthia Sherman. “The holistic care they provide and the rigorous scientific research they lead is improving the quality of life for people with IBD today, and laying the foundation for greater discoveries in the future.”
Millions of people worldwide suffer from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which are chronic, inflammatory diseases that damage the gastrointestinal tract. While there are effective treatments, there is no cure and available medicines do not work for everyone. The Bruce and Cynthia Sherman Charitable Foundation established the Sherman Prize to recognize and reward talented individuals for their pioneering achievements in improving outcomes for people living with these diseases. Through this first-of-its-kind prize, the Shermans aim to create a ripple effect, spreading awareness of excellence and inspiring others to continue innovating.
“IBD can be devastating, disrupting people’s lives and livelihoods,” said Dr. Dermot P.B. McGovern, Sherman Prize Selection Committee Chair and the Joshua L. and Lisa Z. Greer Endowed Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Genetics at Cedars-Sinai. “Not only have these Sherman Prize honorees made incredible contributions to improving treatment and care, they are exceptional teachers, mentoring the next generation of physician scientists to ensure continued advances in the field.”
The Sherman Prizes will be presented on December 12 at the Advances in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases conference in Orlando.