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About Sickkids
About SickKids

September 14, 2011

Northbridge Financial Corporation Chair to tackle little known disease

Mary Jo Haddad and Dr. Anne Griffiths

By Daniel Puiatti

The rates of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are rising among children and adolescents, particularly in Ontario, and thanks to a $2 million donation from Northbridge Financial Corporation, SickKids now has a new chair to help tackle this relatively misunderstood and unknown spectrum of diseases, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Dr. Anne Griffiths, one of Canada’s leading IBD researchers and clinicians, was named the inaugural holder of The Northbridge Financial Corporation Chair of Inflammatory Bowel Disease at an event at SickKids yesterday afternoon.

Mary Jo Haddad, President & CEO of SickKids, opened the ceremony by recognizing the lifelong efforts of Dr. Griffiths in the treatment of paediatric IBD. “Dr. Griffiths is a special woman who plays an essential role in the efforts against IBD,” said Haddad. “The appointment of Dr. Griffiths is a significant move forward for children with IBD.”

“This endowment is an incredible gift to SickKids and allows us to further improve the lives of children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease,” said Griffiths. “I thank SickKids for both providing care to children with IBD and allowing doctors and researchers the environment to research and develop treatments for IBD.”

There are currently about 2,000 children and adolescents under 18 living with IBD in Ontario, a number which has been rising for about 20 years. Despite this long history, the cause of IBD remains unknown. To tackle this, part of Griffiths’ research is focused on how environmental factors, such as bacteria, might trigger the disease in children who are genetically susceptible to it.

Griffiths, Division Head of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and Associate Scientist, Genetics & Genome Biology at SickKids and Professor in the Department of Paediatrics, at the University of Toronto, is a world leader in the study and treatment of IBD. Her appointment helps solidify SickKids’ position as a leading centre making strides against the disease. This summer alone, SickKids announced two exciting developments: the identification of a gene that may play an important role in the development of ulcerative colitis and the creation of a new mobile application to help teenagers with IBD better transition to adult care.

To learn more about Dr. Anne Griffiths, please visit her biography page. You can also read more about Dr. Griffiths in a recent Researcher in Profile featured on our website.