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The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Celebrates a $5 Million Gift from Braman Family at May 12 Event

Friday, May 13, 2011 General News J E 4
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--New Center Will Offer Full Services for Pediatric Digestive Disorders--

PHILADELPHIA, May 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A $5 million gift from Irma and Norman Braman launched the Suzi and Scott Lustgarten Center for GI Motility, a new center of excellence at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The Center is poised to offer the most comprehensive clinical and research program in pediatric gastrointestinal motility disorders.

The event, featuring a reception, dinner and remarks, was held Thursday at the Ruth and Tristram Colket Jr. Translational Research Building on the Hospital's Main campus, 34th St. and Civic Center Blvd.

"Getting an accurate diagnosis for a GI disorder is a long and challenging process, before doctors even begin to explore the right treatment," said Norman Braman. "Complex digestive conditions harm the physical and emotional well-being of many children, but GI research is severely undervalued and underfunded. We want to help families through this painful journey and offer children everywhere happier childhoods and healthier futures."

The Bramans are prominent philanthropists and civic leaders based in South Florida. Mr. Braman, the founder and head of Braman Enterprises, also owned the Philadelphia Eagles from 1985 to 1994.

The new center is named for Norman and Irma's daughter, Suzi Braman Lustgarten, and her husband Scott Lustgarten, Philadelphia-area residents who are longtime supporters of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Among other activities, Mr. Lustgarten is president of the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation, which supports Children's Hospital and other charities.

"We are extremely grateful to the Braman Family for their support of Children's Hospital over the years, and particularly for their leadership in establishing the Lustgarten Center," said Steven M. Altschuler, M.D., chief executive officer of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "This new center will advance an important area in pediatrics, delivering state-of-the-art GI care for children while developing treatment innovations that we can share with other pediatric hospitals."

In motility disorders, such as gastroparesis, irritable bowel syndrome, and GE reflux disease, problems in a child's GI tract interfere with normal functioning, and may result in impaired digestion, nutritional problems, pain and chronic disability.

While relatively common in children, functional GI disorders have traditionally lacked readily identifiable causes, and research and treatment efforts have often lagged behind those for other pediatric diseases.

The new GI Motility program will complement other outstanding GI research and clinical programs at Children's Hospital, involving food allergy, celiac disease, eosinophilic disorders and inflammatory bowel disease. These large programs, drawing on patients from throughout the world, offer an interdisciplinary treatment model that maximizes efficiency for clinicians and creates an ideal patient experience for children and families.

The Lustgarten Center will provide world-class diagnostic resources in a new GI Motility Laboratory, offering a full spectrum of services unavailable at most children's hospitals. A Motility Disorders Clinic will offer integrated patient-centered services, including psychological therapies, access to clinical trials, coordination of care with other healthcare providers, and long-term follow-up focused on the patient's quality of life.

Two endowed chairs are being established within the new center: the Irma and Norman Braman Endowed Chair for Research in GI Motility Disorders, and the Suzi and Scott Lustgarten Endowed Chair for Clinical Care of GI Motility Disorders. The Center will expand research in functional GI and other motility disorders by availing itself of the large clinical population at Children's Hospital and collaborating with existing research programs in pediatric genomics and stem cell therapies.

Finally, the Lustgarten Center will establish a fellowship program to train new clinicians in functional GI and motility disorders, and will provide resources for patient and family education, as well as learning tools for primary care and family practice physicians.

About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 516-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.

Background--About Gastrointestinal (GI) Motility Disorders

In GI motility disorders, a lack of coordination among muscles, nerves and hormones in a patient's GI tract interferes with normal functioning, causing impaired digestion, nutritional problems, and frequently pain and chronic disability. While relatively common in children, functional GI disorders have traditionally lacked readily identifiable causes, and research and treatment efforts have often lagged behind those for other pediatric diseases.

Because these are disorders of functioning rather than structural, infectious, inflammatory or biochemical abnormalities, blood tests, x-rays and endoscopic examinations show essentially normal results.

Approximately 15 to 20 percent of all children are affected by some form of motility bowel disorders during childhood and adolescence. Even those who do not consult physicians have significantly higher rates of school absenteeism and alterations in lifestyle, while some children with these conditions are completely disabled. The aggregate cost of functional GI disorders in the U.S. is estimated at $25 billion.

Contact: Rachel Salis-SilvermanThe Children's Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhone: (267) 426-6063Salis@email.chop.edu  

SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

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