About IBD Podcast Episode 75 - The Sherman Prize With Dr Dermot McGovern

About IBD Podcast Episode 75 – The Sherman Prize With Dr Dermot McGovern

The Sherman Prize is an award created by Bruce and Cynthia Sherman to recognize those who are making great contributions to the field of research and care in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The Sherman family has been touched by IBD and their goal is to create a ripple effect that spreads awareness, fosters innovation, and provides inspiration in the hope that in the future, other families won’t have to contend with IBD in the way that theirs has. Dr Dermot McGovern, Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles and the 2020 Committee Chair for the Sherman Prize talks more about the value of the Prize to the IBD community, who can make a nomination, and how to nominate a great candidate. He also talks about his research on the genetics of IBD and why it might help in leading to new treatments.


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Find The Sherman Prize at ShermanPrize.orgFacebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Find Dermot P. B. McGovern, MD, PhD, FRCP at Cedars-Sinai and Twitter.

Find Amber J Tresca at AboutIBD.comVerywellFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

Credits: Mix and sound design is by Mac Cooney. Theme music, “IBD Dance Party,” is from ©Cooney Studio.

Transcript

[Music: IBD Dance Party]

AMBER:
I’m Amber Tresca and this is About IBD. It’s my mission to educate people living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis about their disease and to bring awareness to the patient journey.

On this episode I’m talking to Dr Dermot McGovern. Dr McGovern is, among many other things, a Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles. He is also the 2020 Committee Chair for The Sherman Prize. The Sherman Prize is an award created by Bruce and Cynthia Sherman. Their family was touched by IBD and they set up the prize to recognize the accomplishments of leaders in the field of IBD. Their goal is to create a ripple effect that spreads awareness, fosters innovation, and provides inspiration in the hope that other families won’t have to contend with IBD in the way that theirs has.

The Prize is given every year to three people who go above and beyond to contribute to the IBD community by generating positive benefits on behalf of patients, their families and caregivers, and the future trajectory of the field. Nominees can be IBD clinicians, surgeons, researchers, or academics who are making exceptional contributions to transforming IBD care. What’s more, anyone can make a nomination for the Prize. This year, in 2020, the nominations close on July 17th, so if there’s someone you would like to nominate, go to shermanprize.org to learn more and to make a nomination.

And now here’s my conversation with Dr McGovern, who explains much more about the Sherman Prize and was also good enough tell me a little about his research because it is fascinating and I could not resist asking him about it.

DR MCGOVERN:
Sure. The Sherman prize is a prize that was created by Bruce and Cynthia Sherman, who have decided that based on their own family experience, where they have a number of their family who are affected by IBD, to try and make a difference to to the IBD community. So they came up with this idea of a prize. The idea was to try and acknowledge and elevate and recognize great achievements from people in our community. And the idea was that they would give a monetary prize. And this would create a ripple effect. That’s their whole philosophy. And if you can actually see the trophy, it’s got almost ripples on it. And the idea is that they, they drop a stone in the pond, and that creates ripples. So the effect of their prize gets bigger and bigger. It’s sort of pays on pays on and so on. And the idea was to spread awareness about inspirational people in our community who have given so much to fighting IBD. And this has been going for a number of years now. And we’ve been working hard to increase the awareness of this. So I’m really delighted to talk to you about it today. Because the more people hear about this, I think the better.

AMBER: 
I agree, I didn’t know much about it until I met some folks that work with you all on the committee. And so I was really excited. And I’m so grateful to have you on to tell us more about it.

So why though, do you think that the Sherman prize is so important to the IBD community?

DR MCGOVERN:
I think it’s it’s probably the most prestigious award that we have for our community. And it really provides this unique opportunity to publicly recognize the pioneers and emerging leaders in our field. And they get recognized in front of their peers, we don’t get that very often, we have peer review, but peer review is normally not always that positive of an experience. But this is something else this is to be able to stand up and be acknowledged in front of your peers for some of the amazing things that people have done. And they get to tell their inspiring stories, share their gratitude, and even that process inspires the next generation of of researchers not not just that they want to be perhaps winning this prize in the future. But it’s actually the stories that are winners tell, which I use the word again, inspiring. They’re just incredible stories, the things that they’ve had to overcome, to get where they are, the passion that drives them. And you know that their recognition that we’re all in this together to try and defeat these diseases. And you know, they come from research and clinical care and so on. So it’s, the stories are just incredible.

AMBER:
Right. That’s true. I was fortunate enough to be at the award ceremony, which took place at advances in IBD. Last year, before we all went into the lockdown, I know we can’t go into too many meetings right now. But it was, we were all crying. It was amazing to to be there to see the awards. But there are three different prizes. Is that right? So there’s three different areas in which the award is given?

DR MCGOVERN:
Yeah, well, there are three prizes and they’re given in two areas. Okay, there’s two Sherman prizes. And those are the main prizes. And the there’s one Sherman Emerging Leader prize. So the Sherman Prize is awarded to IBD clinicians, surgeons, researchers, academics, with extraordinary track records of achievement, really making exceptional and sort of pioneering contributions that transform IBD care. And, you know, we really regard those as for visionaries in our field who really made taken on the most difficult challenges and made, you know, very, very significant advances.

The Emerging Leader prize is again awarded to an IBD clinician, surgeon researcher, academic, but also physician assistant nursing professionals, public health advocates, who are probably much earlier in their career than the main Sherman Prize winners, but have still significant significantly contributed to this fight, but also show great promise for significant contributions in the future, that’s the sort of area where we’re thinking about the possibilities that that that person is going to bring to the fight against IBD in the future. And you’re right. I mean, last year, we had the awards. And we had we had the three winners, and both the Sherman Prize and the Emerging Prize leaders. I mean, as you said, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It was some of the stories that came out. The personal stories just were just incredible. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that though. It was amazing.

AMBER:
Yeah. And I was so excited to learn a little bit more about the winners, because being in the community, following them on Twitter, or reading the research that they do in order to inform my writings, it was just amazing to see the humans behind behind the work. So that was really fascinating. And then I was also excited to learn a little bit more about the eligibility requirements and guidelines. And can you tell me though, what the selection committee takes into consideration and you mentioned briefly, who can be nominated, but who can be nominated and who can make a nomination?

DR MCGOVERN:
Yeah, sure. I think the main criteria that we start with is that the individuals who are nominated must live and work in the US. And we take into account the contributions that that those individuals have made to IBD over the last decade, but particularly more recently, so more recent sort of advances and people, nominators can highlight candidates achievements across a number of different areas.

Patient care, obviously is incredibly important. How’s the candidate contribution to improving the physical, emotional and psychosocial aspects of care, medical research, so has the candidate contributed to a greater understanding of, of these diseases, and new strategies that could lead to prevention, remission and what we all want, which is cures for these diseases. Public service and education is another area. How has the nominee gone above and beyond to mentor others raise awareness of these diseases? As an advocate for improvements and approaches and policies that affect patients and caregivers, and I think the education part is a very important part. And that goes back to that ripple effect that we were talking about.

So if you’re thinking about mentoring the next generation, the people who are going to replace our current leaders, you know, in the next generation, and so on. So that’s an important part.

And I think that if you were to summarize it, we we look for individuals who really have made, as I said, big differences, but they, they’ve done this by bringing amazing passion to that work. And that passion drives them forwards, but it inspires those around them. And it’s all with the, with the with the goal of, you know, making life better for people with IBD.

AMBER:
Right, which is lovely and so wonderful, as a patient to be able to see that.

DR MCGOVERN:
Yeah, absolutely. I think for all of us, though, again, you mentioned the human the human aspect. I think when we all saw people who are giants in our field, on the stage tell those stories, not not just for, even for people who know them quite well, it was amazing to see that human side and to, to hear stories that you you just didn’t realize about them. And I think it, it brings it home, as you said, we’re all human. And that’s not to say that they don’t come across as humans, but you just didn’t know this part of their lives, or those parts of their lives. And I yeah, I just, as I said before, I think it’s a day I’ll never forget.

AMBER:
Yeah, I mean, that’s one of the reasons why I love doing this show is I’ve had good friends, other patients come on my show. And almost every time they tell me something that I didn’t know about their journey, and it’s wonderful to see it come out in the clinicians and in the leaders, because like I said, you see what they’re doing. They’re publishing research. We see them give talks at meetings and we see them do patient education initiatives, but learning what they’ve overcome as human beings and seeing that side of them is really wonderful.

DR MCGOVERN:
Yeah, and I think I particularly take your point about from a patient perspective seeing that because, you know, as a clinician, it’s, for me, one of the great privileges is getting to know my patients, and getting to know about their lives and so on. And just the way the relationship is. That’s not necessarily reciprocal. And so I think, for for patients to see that side of people who are leaders in our field, I think is, is just incredibly important.

[MUSIC: About IBD Transition]

AMBER:
We’ve been talking about the 2019 Awards, which were exceptional. But this is, I believe, the fifth year as we’re recording this as the fifth year of the Sherman Prize. So who are some of the past winners?

DR MCGOVERN:
So over the past year as a prize have been awarded to, I think individuals who are sort of represented of across our profession. We’ve had IBD clinicians, researchers, IBD, clinician, researchers, colorectal surgeon, a pediatrician, psychiatrist specializing in IBD and a PA providing care to underserved rural populations. So you can see the breadth of the the winners. And you know, we really want to encourage people to nominate across the spectrum and you can nominate at the at the website, which is ShermanPrize.org. And in fact, anyone can nominate.

The nomination. I think if if patients were thinking about that they want to nominate someone, then I would probably encourage them to try and link up with maybe someone who works with the person that they want to nominate because I think that there are certain things that will help that person do well through the nomination process that they may need some help with. But yes, we’ve encouraged nominations from anyone. You mentioned last year, we had Maria Abreu from the University of Miami, Bill Sanborn from San Diego, and Florian Rieder, those two won the Sherman prize, and the emerging prize went to Florian Rieder from the Cleveland Clinic.

And they, we talked about how emotional it was. But even if you take the emotion out of it, I don’t think there was anyone who could argue that those were three incredibly worthy winners for the work that they’ve done already. And then in Florian’s case for for the work that he’s planning to do and the journey that he’s going on and tackling some of our most difficult things such as fibrosis in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and so on. So, truly worthy winners.

AMBER:
Normally the prizes are awarded in December is that right?

DR MCGOVERN:
The recipients so usually announced sometime in the third quarter of the year and I’m being deliberately  vague about that, because for some reason our schedule has been put out slightly. And the award winners are announced, usually sort of or in November sometime with the awards actually being given out in December, early in December. And the plan is this year is still to give the awards out around that time, how that’s actually going to work. We’re not quite sure yet. But we’re working on some creative ways of being able to give the the prize winners the appropriate ceremony as best we can. But it may be an online thing, we’ll have to see.

AMBER:
Right, right. Well, I’m sure that you all will come up with something very creative. In the meantime, it’s wonderful to learn more about this prize and to get the word out, especially because I was excited to learn that anyone could make a nomination. So as a patient, we do have people in the course of our of our disease journey that make a huge difference in our lives and go above and beyond. And it has happened to me several times.

DR MCGOVERN:
Yeah, I think I think that’s very important and and one of the things that we recognize is that there are heroic champions out there who are flying under the radar, and are really going the extra mile and, and through their own modesty and just their character, that story is not getting out. And so if you know people like that, then I would encourage you to think about nominating nominating them. And as I mentioned, you can do that through the website.

AMBER:
I was reading your bio, of course, before we were going to speak, and I was really intrigued by this line in your bio. “His group studies the genetics of inflammatory bowel diseases in diverse populations. They’re particularly interested in identifying genetic associations with clinically relevant sub phenotypes, including associations with natural history, drug response, and the development of extra intestinal manifestations of IBD.” So the genetics of IBD, which patients are keenly interested in, can you tell me a little bit about that work that you’re doing?

DR MCGOVERN:
Sure. We’re very interested in understanding how genetic variation which we all have in our genome influences the risk of developing both colitis and Crohn’s disease, but also how that genetic variation may influence, not only do we, do people get disease, but also if they do develop ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, does that genetic variation influence how their disease behaves. 

So anyone who’s spoken to other people with IBD or if I sit in my clinic, I know that people come in and tell me their IBD story, and then the next patient will tell me a different story. And so why is that different? Why are they have different progression of disease, different parts of the bowel that are affected? And I think very, very importantly, why do people react differently to medications? And so the genetic variants, genetic variation we’re trying to understand for that last part is how do genetic variants influence whether you respond or not respond to drug treatment, but also not just respond, can we identify people at higher risk of getting the side effects from drug treatment, and a lot of our work is in that space. And we really started with genetic variation. 

So genetics, but my group, which is comprised of computational biologists and so on, are very interested in sort of big data approaches to this. So we started with the genetic side of it. So the human genome we’re also interested in the microbiome and other omics together with the, with the clinical data to try and understand some of these issues and, and through that we hope to identify what we call biomarkers so predictors of of what’s going to happen to people in the future sort of look into the future, but also potentially identify new targets, for treatment, that is treatment development.

The other area that we’re interested in, and we think is incredibly important, is that it’s, it’s true right across genetics and and most of other research that most research has been performed to now in European ancestry populations. So white populations, and as we know, IBD and and Crohn’s disease are really emerging in those other populations that have not traditionally been associated with IBD. So African Americans, Hispanic populations, and, you know, huge numbers of people being affected by IBD and say China and so on. So we work very hard to try and make sure that we’re bringing the benefits that we’re finding from the, from the science has been performed in the European populations to those other populations. 

So, you know, I’m pleased to say my groups, you know, we were significant part of the first African American genome wide association scan. And we we’ve started doing whole genome sequencing and large numbers of subjects for African American and so on, because I think, and also, just to emphasize that, if you start studying things like genetics in different populations, it’s actually incredibly helpful, right across the spectrum because you learn one thing in one population and you can take it out to another population and so on. So, yeah, that’s what we do in our spare time.

AMBER:
It’s incredibly exciting. And I was when I was reading your bio, I was like, I cannot wait to talk to him. I want to be respectful of your time. We’re actually talking about the Sherman prize today. But I wouldn’t have you back to talk to me about all of this on a on a different show, because this is amazing. And the idea that we can learn about biomarkers and the right drug for the right patient at the right time, which is being done and other disease spaces. Yeah, that I mean, patients are like, we’re ready for this. We’re so ready for this.

DR MCGOVERN:
Yeah. And, and, you know, I think I think we’re really, we’re really making some progress in that space. So yeah, be great. I’d be happy to come back and chat about it. Anytime you you. You get me telling about this stuff. I can go on for hours.

AMBER:
I love it. Oh, that’s wonderful. So you are on the Twitter and we can follow you on Twitter. What’s your Twitter handle?

DR MCGOVERN:  Oh, it’s @doc_ibd.

AMBER:
Perfect. I love it easy to remember. Yeah. And the Sherman prize is also on Twitter.

DR MCGOVERN:
Yep. @ShermanPrize , and they have a website and they’re also on Facebook and LinkedIn.

AMBER:
Oh, great. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the website, Sherman Prize. Thank you so much, Dr. McGovern, I was excited to talk to you not only about the Sherman Prize, but also about your research, which is incredibly impactful. Thank you so much for the work that you’re doing. Thank you for taking time out of your day. And what is I know a very busy time for you. And we really appreciate everything that you’re doing for the IBD community.

DR MCGOVERN: 
Thank you. It’s very kind for you to say that. Thank you for having me.

[Music: IBD Dance Party]

AMBER:
Hey, super listener. Thank you to Dr McGovern, the 2020 Committee Chair for The Sherman Prize for getting up so early and being so generous with his time. You can follow Dr McGovern on Twitter as @doc_ibd. I will put his information in the show notes. 

You can find out more about The Sherman Prize and make a nomination at shermanprize.org. You can also follow the Sherman Prize on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as @ShermanPrize. 

Thanks for listening and don’t forget that you can find me, Amber Tresca, all over the interwebs as @AboutIBD, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I will put all this information in the show notes. or you can find it on the Episode 75 page on my web site, aboutIBD.com

And remember until next time, I want you to know more about IBD.

About IBD is a production of Mal and Tal Enterprises.

It is written, produced, and directed by me, Amber Tresca.

Mix and sound design is by Mac Cooney. Theme music is from Cooney Studio

DR MCGOVERN: 
There’s an excitable dog in the house.

JALA:
[Barking]

AMBER:
Right on cue! That…was amazing.

JALA:
[Barking]

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