Co-Founder of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America Passes Away

Fearless leader Suzanne Rosenthal will be greatly missed

New York, NY (February 11, 2013): The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) announced today the passing of co-founding member and philanthropist, Suzanne Rosenthal. Ms. Rosenthal was a fearless, determined and courageous woman who turned her diagnosis of Crohn’s disease in 1955 into a legacy that has gone onto to help hundreds of thousands of people over the years. 

She dedicated her life to spreading awareness about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, supporting and educating patients and funding research to find cures. In 1967, along with her husband, Irwin M. Rosenthal, William D. and Shelby Modell, and Henry D. Janowitz, MD, she founded the National Foundation of Ileitis and Colitis, now known as the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. 

“There are no words to clearly express our gratitude to Suzanne for all that she has done for the 1.4 million people who suffer from these diseases,” said Richard Geswell, President of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. “She will be greatly missed. Her legacy will live on and we will not stop until we find cures.”

Ms. Rosenthal held many key volunteer positions at CCFA.  She was a former president of the Greater New York Chapter and served as National Chairperson of the Board from 1987 to 1991.  She served as Chairperson Emeritus of CCFA's Government Affairs Task Force, and was a champion in all advocacy efforts of the foundation.  Suzanne received CCFA's distinguished Public Policy Pioneer Award for her tireless advocacy efforts on behalf of IBD patients everywhere.  The award was presented at CCFA's First National IBD Advocacy Conference, held in Washington, D.C. in June 2003.

Ms. Rosenthal traveled throughout the country to visit many of CCFA's chapters and to help establish new chapters.  She made numerous media appearances to raise public awareness of these inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). During her tenure as President of the Greater New York Chapter, she initiated the support group model that has since been implemented as CCFA's national network of support groups.

Additionally, Ms. Rosenthal was the Founder and past President of the Digestive Disease National Coalition (DDNC). The DDNC comprises more than 32 lay groups and professional societies, representing the research and healthcare legislative interests of people who suffer from digestive disorders. In addition, she was an active leader in many digestive disease-related health forums and committees, holding the following positions: member, Advisory Council, National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH); chairman, Workgroup on Education of Public and Patients and Supporting Resources of the National Commission on Digestive Diseases; and member, Advisory Committee, and current member, Executive Committee of the National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse.

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America Staff and volunteers extend our deepest sympathy to Suzanne’s family. She is survived by her husband Irwin, daughters Karen Rosenthal and Robin Mehler, son-in-law David Mehler, grandchildren Jenna, Jack and Abby, brother Donald Sigman and sister-in-law Myrna.

Ms. Rosenthal asked that all donations in her honor be made to CCFA.

Media Contact:

Erin Stoeber

(646) 943-7458;

About CCFA

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is the largest voluntary nonprofit health organization dedicated to finding cures for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). CCFA’s mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults who suffer from these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research, providing educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public, and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD. For more information, visit, call 888-694-8872, like us on Facebook, find us on LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter.