Dr. Charles Bernstein Receives the 2019 Research Leadership Award

Dr. Charles Bernstein
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is pleased to present Dr. Charles Bernstein with this year’s Research Leadership Award. Dr. Bernstein has received this recognition for his outstanding contribution to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) research in Canada, in addition to his demonstration of leadership in this field. 

Central to Dr. Bernstein’s research accomplishments is the University of Manitoba IBD Epidemiology Database, which he created. The database houses important information about patients with IBD from across the province of Manitoba. Information from this database – including information on physician visits, drug prescriptions, socioeconomics, and more – has allowed researchers to make numerous discoveries about the state of IBD in Canada.

“I could not imagine the Canadian IBD research landscape without Dr. Bernstein’s contributions,” writes Dr. Eric Benchimol, a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, in support of Dr. Bernstein’s nomination for this award.

Dr. Bernstein’s research has revealed the prevalence and economic burden of IBD in Canada. His work has also shed light on risk factors for the development of IBD and the impact of mental health and psychiatric comorbidities on healthcare outcomes for people with IBD. The reach of Dr. Bernstein’s research is not limited to scientists alone; his work is often used by clinicians, patients, healthcare administrators, policy makers, and government officials.

Currently, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is funding Dr. Bernstein’s research through a three-year Grant-In-Aid of Research. With this grant, Dr. Bernstein is using brain scanning techniques to better understand the relationship between the brain and the gut. He is exploring how depression and anxiety disorders are expressed in the brain in people living with IBD. The results of this research will significantly impact our understanding of the mental health issues that so often accompany Crohn’s and colitis.

Dr. Bernstein’s excellence in research is matched only by his commitment to investing in the growth of other researchers. He has fostered the careers of gastroenterologists beyond Manitoba, which has led to a nation-wide expansion of research in IBD health services and policies. 

Dr. Geoffrey Nguyen, professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, summarizes Dr. Bernstein’s merit for the Research Leadership Award in his letter of support. He writes that Dr. Bernstein’s “extensive curriculum vitae speaks to his vast academic accomplishments. It is, however, his warmth, generosity, and integrity that make him a cherished colleague. He is an inspirational figure to young and established investigators alike.”

Dr. Bernstein is a man with many roles; he is a clinician, researcher, and mentor. In all of these, he is a leader and a pillar for IBD research and care.

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

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