Dr. Eva Szigethy, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Pediatrics, has been presented with the inaugural Sherman Prize for Excellence in Crohn's and Colitis by the Bruce and Cynthia Sherman Charitable Foundation. The award recognizes outstanding contributions by health care professionals, medical researchers, public health advocates, and educators who are advancing patient care, medical research, and public service in the field of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). As part of the award, Dr. Szigethy will receive a grant of $100,000 to support her project, Shifting Treatment Paradigms and Improving Health Outcomes by Integrating Behavioral Health into the Comprehensive Care of IBD Patients.
Dr. Szigethy is a psychiatrist who specializes in integrating behavioral and medical care for children and adults with IBD by teaching behavioral specialists about the gut and medical specialists about the brain. She established the nation?s first behavioral health program for pediatric IBD patients, addressing the emotional and behavioral challenges of IBD, co-locating a psychiatrist and psychologist within the pediatric gastroenterology clinic at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Dr. Szigethy has replicated that model for adult patients, founding the Visceral Inflammation and Pain Center to provide psychological and psychiatric services for patients at the UPMC IBD Center. She has proven that providing behavioral and medical care in tandem improves health outcomes and reduces medical costs.
"Early on in my career, I was struck by the level of unaddressed emotional distress faced by people with IBD, and set my goal to show that behavioral treatment could improve their quality of life," said Dr. Szigethy. "I look forward to using the Sherman Prize funding to further explore the relationship between the inflammatory biomarkers of IBD, genetic markers, GI symptoms, and psychiatric symptoms to better understand the treatment of psychiatric co-morbidities of IBD."