On October 15, 2021, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is pleased to host its 31st Annual Torch Gala at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta. The goal: to raise $520,000 through the Gala, with proceeds going toward funding critical research, to better diagnose and ultimately cure, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which include Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis.

Mark E. Murphy, M.D., FACP, AGAF, a gastroenterologist with The Center for Digestive and Liver Health in Savannah, will be honored at the Gala as the Premier Adult Physician of the Year, for his work with IBD patients. With training and focus on IBD throughout his over 30 years in practice, Dr. Murphy supports his patients both in and out of the clinic. He has been a longtime supporter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, attending Take Steps Savannah for many years.

“I am honored and grateful to receive this prestigious recognition from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation,” said Dr. Murphy. “Throughout my career, the people who have been most influential in my professional life have been my patients – in particular those with IBD who never give up and persist all while dealing with these chronic diseases. They inspire me every day and are the reason I want to work that much harder to make a difference in the lives of Crohn’s and colitis patients.”

Neal S. Maziar, CEO, BE A SPORT, LLC and Torch Gala Chair said, “We are thrilled to recognize Dr. Murphy as the Premier Adult Physician of the Year. His years of caring for IBD patients have made him an invaluable partner of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.”

Dr. Murphy, a Savannah native and the son of longtime Savannah surgeon H.J. “Jack” Murphy, M.D., founded The Center for Digestive and Liver Health, an affiliated practice of United Digestive, along with Dr. Edward Rydzak in 1994. During his years of practice, he has been selected as the Best Gastroenterologist in Savannah fifteen times, has won the Golden Apple Award for resident instruction at Memorial Health University Medical Center, and was chosen as Commencement Speaker for the graduating class of Mercer University School of Medicine.  Dr. Murphy was the recipient of the 2005 Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s National Postgraduate Fellowship and has served as both a basic science Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis researcher (under the direction of Drs. Balfour Sartor and Kim Isaacs) as well as the principal investigator on over 60 IBD clinical therapeutic trials.

A National Merit Scholar and a First Honor Graduate of the University of Georgia with a perfect 4.0 GPA in the UGA Honors Program, Dr. Murphy was the 1984 recipient of the Dean Tate Phi Beta Kappa Award as the Outstanding Senior Student at the University. He received his M.D. with Honors from the Medical College of Georgia in 1988, where he was the recipient of a national Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship, the Alumni Scholarship, and the Merck Manual Award and was elected to membership in Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA). Dr. Murphy completed his Internal Medicine residency at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, winning the Fordham Award as the Outstanding UNC Teaching Resident, and continued his postgraduate education as a Digestive Disease Fellow at UNC-Chapel Hill before returning to Savannah to begin private practice.

Murphy has authored book chapters in numerous medical textbooks, including references in Gastroenterology (Yamada) and Internal Medicine (Noble).  He has also written two novels, numerous short stories and over 300 articles as a columnist for the Savannah Morning News.  Earlier this year, Dr. Murphy was selected as the winner of the Georgia Press Association’s Otis Brumby Award, given to the state of Georgia’s best opinion columnist. He has been elected as the President of the Georgia Medical Society, served for two years as President of the Savannah Book Festival, and has been on the Board of Directors of both Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia.

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation

Research studies show that approximately 3.1 million Americans currently have IBD, and an estimated 100,000 Georgians are affected annually by the disease. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is the largest non-profit voluntary health agency dedicated to finding cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improving the quality of life of those affected. For over 50 years, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation has been inspiring and engaging patients and caregivers in the country’s largest IBD community and helping to dramatically accelerate the pace of research by breaking down traditional barriers to patients, data, funding, and collaborations. They also provide extensive educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public.

The Torch Gala is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Foundation’s Georgia Chapter. In 31 years, the Torch Gala has raised more than $8.5 million.

About Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Known collectively as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis affects nearly 1 in 100 people. Crohn’s disease may attack anywhere along the digestive tract, while ulcerative colitis inflames only the large intestine (colon). Most people develop the diseases between the ages of 15 and 35; however, the incidence is increasing in children.

For more information, visit crohnscolitisfoundation.org.