News Release

Miller School Celebrates New Elaine and Sydney Sussman Family Crohn’s and Colitis Clinic

With more than 200 donors, physicians, patients and researchers in attendance, the Miller School of Medicine celebrated the April 30 grand opening of the Elaine and Sydney Sussman Family Crohn’s and Colitis Clinic – the only one of its kind in the southeastern United States.

By offering interdisciplinary clinical care and supporting laboratory research into Crohn’s disease and colitis (also known as inflammatory bowel disease or IBD), the new clinic at the University of Miami Hospital and Clinics will provide a medical home for adult and pediatric patients with these chronic digestive disorders, which affect 1.4 million Americans.

“We are grateful for our donors’ generosity, which allows us to provide the absolute best care for patients from South Florida, the Caribbean, Latin America and beyond,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School, and CEO of UHealth – University of Miami Health System. “Our patients will be able to see the Miller School gastroenterologists and other specialists, while our researchers study issues like genetic variations in our quest to discover new ways to care for patients.”

University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala thanked Elaine and Sydney Sussman for their long-time support of the Miller School of Medicine, including a significant donation to create the Elaine and Sydney Sussman Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at University of Miami Hospital. “Our medical school is built on commitment, collaboration and a spirit of caring,” Shalala said. “Our generous donors help to build that community, so we can offer the finest patient care and make new research discoveries.” The Sussman Family gift of $1.5 million for the new clinic is part of Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami, and brings their total giving to $8.3 million.

Guests at the grand opening celebration were able to tour the new clinic, which includes a comfortable reception area, four examination and treatment rooms and four infusion areas with a state-of-the-art diagnostic endoscopy center across the hall. Located on the first floor of the University of Miami Hospital and Clinics , the Sussman Family Crohn’s and Colitis Clinic is the brainchild of its Director, Maria T. Abreu, M.D., professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology, the Martin H. Kalser Chair in Gastroenterology, and Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology.

“Our wonderful new clinic offers the highest level of multidisciplinary care to patients with inflammatory bowel disease,” said Abreu. “There is nothing like this in the country for one-stop care for adults and children. It’s a place where physicians come to patients – not the other way around. In the longer term, our mission is to conduct research that could lead to a cure for Crohn’s disease and colitis.”

One of Abreu’s patients, Zachary Sloan, told attendees about his personal battle with Crohn’s disease. “When I was diagnosed 14 years ago at age 12, all I could hear was the word ‘incurable,’” he said. “I was given different medications that would make me sick, and I was in and out of the hospital for surgery. My disease really cast a pall over my life.”

Three years ago, Sloan enrolled in law school and in a clinical trial with Abreu and her team. “Now, I am feeling the greatest I have in my entire life,” said Sloan, who recently became a practicing attorney. “I am very grateful to my doctors and to the donors who make lifesaving treatments possible. On behalf of every Crohn’s disease patient, I thank you for your generosity.”

Special guests at the reception included Elaine and Sydney Sussman’s daughter Andee Sussman and her partner Bill Harris. “Dr. Abreu was able to diagnose and treat my colitis, and now I feel better than at any time since I was 5 years old,” said Andee Sussman.

Among the donors recognized at the reception were Micky and Madeleine Arison; Guido and Ana Lourdes Adler (BA ‘75), and their daughter Kristy (MSEd. ’11); Jeffrey S. Bass (JD ’92) and Heather Bass, their son Connor, and parents Robert L. Bass, D.M.D., and Eleanore Bass: Martin and Helene Lindenfeld: Dohn and Joanne Trempala; Bruce and Lori Behren; Lawrence and Marcia Swartz; and Ella Gelvan. Also recognized were Mitchell, Alicia, and Glenn Widom and Ellen Shapiro who are all co-chairs of the Keymorada Fishing Tournament that benefits the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and the Sussman Crohn’s & Colitis Clinic.

To view more photos from the grand opening, click here.

Andee Sussman and Maria T. Abreu, M.D.
Andee Sussman, daughter of Elaine and Sydney Sussman, dedicates the Sussman Family Crohn's & Colitis Clinic, which Maria T. Abreu, M.D., right, directs.