Nebraska Medical Center celebrates opening of Frederick F. Paustian Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

Medical Center leaders and philanthropists cut the ribbon on the Frederick F. Paustian Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at the Nebraska Medical Center.

The Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha officially opened the Frederick F. Paustian Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at the Lied Transplant Center during a celebration on Aug. 3.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis affects millions of people worldwide. Many suffer frequent flareups of these chronic diseases, but treatment can help. The gastroenterologists at the Paustian Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center understand how IBD disrupts gut function and can run necessary tests to determine the disease source and best treatment options.

The center’s celebration was not only of Dr. Paustian, a pioneering gastroenterologist who helped build the medical center’s transplant program, but also of Michael Sorrell, MD, whom Dr. Paustian recruited to UNMC and Nebraska Medicine and who, in the words of UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, “took the baton from Dr. Paustian and took it further than was previously thought possible.”

Dr. Sorrell also led the recruitment effort that brought Peter Mannon, MD, director of the center, to the medical center.

The center had its genesis in a 2015 gift from Omaha philanthropists Ruth and Bill Scott, with the express design of allowing UNMC and its clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine, to become one of the top centers in the country for treatment and research of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The gift also created the Ruth and Bill Scott Presidential Chair of Internal Medicine, which Dr. Mannon now holds.

During the event, Dr. Gold thanked the Scotts for their support.

“If you look around this campus, it would be hard to find one square foot … that they have not helped to build or in some way make better,” he said. “They have done so with a personal commitment to our mission while making a truly personal connection to all the people that bring our mission to life.”

Nebraska Medicine CEO James Linder, MD, who was mentored by both Drs. Paustian and Sorrell, called the Scotts, the Sorrells and the Paustian family, represented by Dr. Paustian’s daughter, Cheryl Robinson, “stars” of the medical center.

“The trend of the medical center has been strictly upward,” Dr. Linder said. “And it’s because of their leadership that we have been able to recruit and to fulfill the vision they had in building programs.

“The generosity of Bill and Ruth and others in the community … has really transformed things,” he said.

Dr. Mannon, who also is chief of the UNMC Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, thanked the Scotts and Robinson when he took the podium.

Dr. Mannon spoke of the opportunity, vision and promise that drew him to the center, including the chance to build on Drs. Paustian and Sorrell’s legacy of academic and clinical excellence. He also thanked Debra Romberger, MD, chair of internal medicine, for her support.

“She’s been a mentor,” he said. “You’re never too old to have a mentor.”

He lauded the Scotts on their vision “to establish a place that would ensure optimal care and outcomes for thousands of patients” and Dr. Sorrell for his stewardship of that vision.

“I see the promise in what we can do – to be bold, to have big thoughts, to exceed expectations – and this is all due to the transformative support of the Scotts.”

Dr. Mannon and the center collaborate with the Nebraska Food for Health Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and its director, Andrew Benson, PhD, who is looking at dietary factors that collectively influence composition and function of the gut microbiome.

Dr. Benson said he was excited to work with Dr. Mannon and the center to discover how dietary strategies can affect the microbiome and be used to prevent diseases.

In closing, Dr. Gold thanked attendees, joined the ribbon cutting and said patients’ lives “are going to be changed and saved as a result of what you folks have done.”

About Dr. Frederick Paustian

Frederick Paustian, MD, the first specialty-trained gastroenterologist in Nebraska, was instrumental in making gastroenterology one of UNMC’s top centers of excellence. Dr. Paustian died in 2014.

Dr. Paustian and his first wife, Mary Ann “Maisie,” who died in 2007, were close personal friends of the Scotts. Previous gifts from the Scotts recognized the Paustians by naming the two primary amphitheaters in the Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education after them and establishing the Frederick F. Paustian, MD, Gastroenterology Research Laboratories, on the seventh floor of the Durham Research Center II.


Share this story:


Looking for more stories?