NIH Grant to Study Pelvic Floor Disorders | News | Loyola Medicine
Friday, September 4, 2015

Loyola physicians earn prestigious NIH grant to study pelvic floor disorders

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Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery physicians, from left, Colleen Fitzgerald, MD, Linda Brubaker, MD, Cynthia Brincat, MD, and Elizabeth Mueller, MD, will research the prevention of urinary tract issues, including incontinence, using a $3.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

MAYWOOD, IL  Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine has been awarded a prestigious National Institutes of Health U01 grant to study the prevention of lower urinary tract symptoms in women.

The $3.7 million grant will be awarded over five years to a Stritch team, led by co-principal investigators Elizabeth Mueller, MD, MSME, and Linda Brubaker, MD, MS, FACS, FACOG. Drs. Mueller and Brubaker are renowned reconstructive pelvic surgeons who see patients at Loyola University Health System’s Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery Center in Maywood. Loyola is among the nation’s most recognized leading centers for female pelvic floor disorders. Loyola, along with five other centers, will design and implement studies to prevent symptoms such as urinary incontinence from middle school to post-menopausal women.

Urinary incontinence (UI) is the most common pelvic floor disorder, affecting nearly half of all women in the United States.

“Although millions of women struggle with urinary tract symptoms, many avoid seeking care,” said Dr. Brubaker, dean and chief diversity officer, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. “This grant will allow us to explore the way we may be able to prevent bothersome urinary symptoms and bring greater awareness to these issues.”

The Loyola center was the first of its kind in greater Chicago. It is still one of the few centers in the country that offers a single location for the multidisciplinary diagnosis and treatment of women with pelvic floor disorders.

Loyola physicians and researchers Colleen Fitzgerald, MD, MS, Cynthia Brincat, MD, PhD, Alan Wolfe, PhD, and David Shoham, PhD, MSPH, also will be involved with the grant.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with our research partners to advance a life-altering area of care for women,” said Dr. Mueller, associate professor at Stritch and director of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at Loyola University Health System.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.