Although gastrointestinal (GI) motility disorders like gastroparesis and irritable bowel syndrome affect a large number of children in the U.S., these digestive problems remain widely ignored and misunderstood.
The Suzi and Scott Lustgarten Center for GI Motility, established at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia by a transformative $5 million gift from Irma and Norman Braman, aims to change all that.
GI motility involves the movement of muscles and chemicals in the esophagus, stomach, and intestines during ingestion and digestion of food. A variety of factors can disrupt the normal function and coordination of this complex system, leading to malnutrition and chronic pain.
"Getting an accurate diagnosis for a GI disorder is a long and challenging process, before doctors even begin to explore the right treatment," says Norman Braman. This new center of excellence is named for the Bramans' daughter Suzi Braman Lustgarten and her husband, Scott, who are both longtime supporters of the Hospital.
It features a state-of-the-art laboratory with world-class diagnostic resources and offers comprehensive patient care in collaboration with other outstanding GI programs at CHOP — including psychological services to help children with stress and embarrassment that compound the physical pain of their condition.
The Center will advance research and treatment of pediatric GI motility disorders through the Irma and Norman Braman Endowed Chair for Research in GI Motility Disorders, the Suzi and Scott Lustgarten Endowed Chair for Clinical Care of GI Motility Disorders and a fellowship program, and offer educational tools, workshops, and multimedia resources.
“We want to help families through this painful journey and offer children everywhere happier childhoods and healthier futures,” says Mr. Braman.