PHILADELPHIA — James D. Lewis, MD, MSCE, a professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and associate director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, received the 2016 Achievement in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Clinical Science award from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). Lewis was nominated by the medical and research community for his exceptional dedication to the field of IBD.

During Lewis’ 20-year career, he has published 200 scholarly articles. Lewis, who is also a senior scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, is among few researchers leading NIH-funded clinical trials for novel therapeutic strategies for IBD. Lewis has directed two clinical trials of rosiglitazone to treat ulcerative colitis and a trial using biomarkers to adjust medical therapy for ulcerative colitis. His most recent research delves into the influence of diet and gut microorganisms on the course of IBD to pinpoint new treatments that are not based on systemic immunosuppression. To that end, he is currently directing a clinical trial of two diets as therapies for Crohn’s disease.

Lewis’ research has also advanced the field’s understanding of medication safety, including studies looking at whether patients treated with various medications for IBD are at increased risk for cancer, infections, neurologic diseases, and death, and whether such risks are warranted given the effectiveness of the therapy.

One of the world’s preeminent leaders in IBD, Lewis is also the lead scientist behind CCFA’s IBD Plexus, which aims to be the largest IBD research and information exchange platform ever developed. The resource will standardize data collection and sharing, allowing researchers to mine extensive patient data for new insights into Crohn’s and colitis.

“The enormous potential to improve the lives of those with IBD is the driving force behind my research efforts,” Lewis said. “By improving current treatments and creating less toxic therapies, my colleagues and I will continue advancing the body of knowledge in Crohn’s and colitis to help patients control their IBD and improve their quality of life.”

Lewis earned a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Virginia in 1987. He received his MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine and subsequently served as Chief Medical Resident at Yale University. Following his residency, Dr. Lewis simultaneously completed a fellowship in Gastroenterology and obtained a master’s degree in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania. He joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 and currently is Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, Senior Scholar at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Senior Fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, Associate Director of the Penn Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program, and Director of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Clinical Research Program.

Lewis received the award at the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s annual Advances in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Conference earlier this month. The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America is the largest non-profit voluntary health organization dedicated to helping patients battle IBD.

Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $8.6 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $494 million awarded in the 2019 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 43,900 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2019, Penn Medicine provided more than $583 million to benefit our community.

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