November marks pancreatic cancer awareness month, a time to recognize the impact of pancreatic cancer and those fighting against it.

At a benefit in New York City on Thursday, November 21st, the National Pancreas Foundation (NPF) honored pancreatic cancer fighters, including those involved in pancreatic cancer research and care at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Dr. Gulam A. Manji accepts the 2019 Rising Star Award from the National Pancreas Foundation. Photo credit: NPF

Gulam Manji, MD, PhD was presented with the Rising Star Award, given to a doctor who sets the bar that all others in the field hope to one day attain and is a true champion in the field of medical science. A medical oncologist specializing in gastrointestinal cancers and sarcoma at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Dr. Manji is a leader in the field of translational research, taking discoveries in the lab to find new therapies for cancer patients. He is the director of the newly established Pancreas Medical Oncology and Translational Research program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, and is the principal investigator for a multitude of innovative clinical trials, including several investigator-initiated multicenter trials.

The NPF Compassionate Care Award is given to nurses who continue to go above and beyond in the treatment and care for their patients and families. This year, the award went to Karen Chen, a nurse practitioner at the Pancreas Center at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and a dedicated and compassionate caregiver for patients with pancreas cancer.

Members of the clinical research team at the NPF benefit. From L to R: Alex Raufi, Anja Noble, Karen Chen, Gulam Manji, Merissa Zymet, Jennifer Cosaluzzo


For Dr. Manji, the award is personal. He not only works with Karen daily, but also is the primary oncologist for Linda Leiby, who also was honored at the benefit with the Courage Award. Linda was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2018 and has been under Dr. Manji’s care. To date, Linda currently has no evidence of disease and is maintaining an active lifestyle and continues to regain strength. To read Linda’s story, click here.



Linda Leiby with Dr. Gulam Manji at the 2019 National Pancreas Foundation Awards Ceremony

“I am honored to receive this award from the National Pancreas Foundation, especially alongside such remarkable researchers, caregivers, and patients,” says Dr. Manji, who also is a member of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. “It is only through collaboration among a team such as this that we can make progress against this deadly disease, and I am inspired today and every day by our team.” 

Members of the Pancreas Center team at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. From L to R: Daviany Morales, Cy Gonzalez, Karen Chen, Rodelyn Zapanta, Laurie Chabot, Yasmiris Vasquez


The National Pancreas foundation is dedicated to providing hope for those suffering from pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer through funding cutting edge research, advocating for new and better therapies, and providing support and education for patients, caregivers, and health care professionals. To learn more, click here.