Come the end of the year, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) organizes Advances in IBD, a medical conference dedicated to topics in IBD research and care. The foremost clinically-oriented IBD meeting in the US, this conference attracts both adult and pediatric clinicians.
Per tradition, Advances in 2016 is held in Florida. And, that is how I found myself in the Magic Kingdom, rubbing shoulders not only with Mickey and Minnie but with the biggest names in IBD. As the parent of a 12 year old child living with Crohn’s disease, I was attending in the hopes of moving beyond the ‘IBD 101’ webinars and the usual CCFA-supported patient educational sessions to gain a higher-level understanding of the issues at the cutting edge of IBD management. If knowledge equals power, I needed to level-up and Advances seemed like the perfect place to do so. Unfortunately, I learned there is no clear path for parents or patients to register for this conference (co-production comes slowly in medicine). But, after some discussion with the good folks at CCFA, I was able to sign-on as a physician (having gone to medical school does come in handy), even though I am neither a gastroenterologist nor an IBD specialist. So, it was as a parent-mole that I sat among the sea of clinicians, feeling a bit like an imposter, and jotting down what I found of greatest interest from the perspective of a person affected directly by IBD. What follows are these observations – admittedly filtered by my personal experiences as #DadofkidwithIBD