$4 Million Gift Helps Create New Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell

Jill Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease Focused on Patient Care, Research and Education

Sep 12, 2006


NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center today celebrated the opening of the Jill Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Made possible through a $4 million gift from Jill Roberts, a long-standing friend and patron of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Medical College of Cornell University, the Center will support patient care, research and educational outreach focused on the conditions of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

The Roberts Center is located in the mezzanine area of the Stich Building at 69th Street and York Avenue. The location is already home to NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell's Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health and the Center for Colon and Rectal Surgery. With the new addition, the building will be entirely devoted to the research and treatment of digestive diseases, including Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

"Working synergistically with its sister programs, the Roberts Center will be a model of patient-centered care, offering convenience and cutting-edge treatment options to patients with IBD," says Dr. Herbert Pardes, president of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

"More than one million Americans suffer from the painful symptoms of IBD. The Jill Roberts Center will pursue promising clinical research to improve the lives of these patients," says Dr. Antonio M. Gotto Jr., dean of Weill Cornell Medical College.

The Center is led by Dr. Ellen Scherl, who says, "The Roberts Center will allow us, more than ever, to uniquely offer IBD patients the multidisciplinary treatment and care they need – all in one building." Dr. Scherl is also associate professor of medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and associate attending physician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell.

In collaboration with the Monahan Center and the Colorectal Surgery Program, the IBD Center will offer early cancer detection screening for patients for long-term complications, such as colon cancer and osteoporosis. Patients will have access to new diagnostic, endoscopic and surgical techniques, as well as to clinical trials offering novel therapies. The Roberts Center will offer patients a full array of treatment approaches, including nutritional and genetic counseling, social work, and other support services central to maintaining gastrointestinal health.

The Roberts Center will also be home to translational research, supporting scientific innovations to improve the lives of IBD patients. The core of the IBD research program is the Tissue Bank, which is devoted to understanding the molecular mechanism of inflammation of the gut. By making available endoscopic biopsy samples, the Tissue Bank has supported clinical trials focused on novel biologic agents and the evolving role of antibody profiling and genotyping in stratifying therapeutic response.

Additional research has been focused on the role of genetics and GI inflammation, the role of bacteria in gut inflammation, and a groundbreaking concept that an inflamed intestine may recruit stem cells to build new blood vessels that promote continued inflammation. These innovative discoveries increase the possibility of developing molecular biomarkers to follow disease activity, novel therapeutic molecular targets and prospective stem cell therapies.

The Roberts Center will also offer patients an endoscopy video library, an endoscopy atlas and a Web site that explores and explains new IBD therapies.

Mrs. Jill Roberts provided the funding to establish the Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Her gift was a testament to her confidence in and gratitude towards Dr. Ellen Scherl for her clinical and academic skills.

Jill Roberts has endowed two professorships at Weill Cornell – the Jill Roberts Professorship in IBD held by Dr. Ellen Scherl and the Henry R. Erle/Roberts Family Professorship held by Dr. Andrew Dannenberg. She also supports the work of Dr. Sudhir Diwan, assistant professor of anesthesiology, director of the quad-institutional pain management fellowship program and director of the division of pain management. Most recently, Mrs. Roberts funded an additional patient services position at NewYork-Presbyterian to increase the ratio of representatives to patients.

For more information, patients may call 866-NYP-NEWS.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of inflammatory conditions of the large intestine and, in some cases, the small intestine. The main forms of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). Symptoms include rectal bleeding, diarrhea, tenesmus (urgent desire to evacuate the bowels but with passage of little stool) and abdominal pain.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, located in New York City, is one of the leading academic medical centers in the world, comprising the teaching hospital NewYork-Presbyterian and its academic partner, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine, and is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian, which is among U.S. News & World Report's top 10 hospitals nationally, also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and its academic affiliate, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The Joan and Sanford I. Weill Medical College

The Joan and Sanford I. Weill Medical College – located in New York City – is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine. The Medical College, which is a principal academic affiliate of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, offers an innovative curriculum that integrates the teaching of basic and clinical sciences, problem-based learning, office-based preceptorships, and primary care and doctoring courses. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research in such areas as stem cells, genetics and gene therapy, geriatrics, neuroscience, structural biology, cardiovascular medicine, AIDS, obesity, cancer and psychiatry – and continue to delve ever deeper into the molecular basis of disease in an effort to unlock the mysteries behind the human body and the malfunctions that result in serious medical disorders. Weill Cornell Medical College is the birthplace of many medical advances – from the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer to the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., and most recently, the world's first clinical trial for gene therapy for Parkinson's disease. Weill Cornell's Physician Organization includes 650 clinical faculty, who provide the highest quality of care to their patients.

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