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Personal experience with nutritional interventions

On June 5, 2017, my single, overweight suitcase and I boarded a plane flying from Miami to London Heathrow. Over the course of the next six months, I shadowed and worked with the IBD Team at Great Ormond Street Hospital, a tertiary children’s hospital in the center of London. As a Political Science major who intends to go into medicine, the opportunity to study how IBD patients were being cared for under the UK’s health system was too enticing.

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What are Engagement trainings?

ImproveCareNow Community Engagement Learning Series (CELS) trainings were designed by patients, parents, clinicians, and ImproveCareNow staff to share best practices and new skills. Whether you are just getting started or have an established team, you will get something out of these trainings. Each session presents new skills, and provides a chance to work with others to plan how to implement what you learned at your center. Each CELS training is designed to empower you to connect more patients and parents to your team, to build relationships, develop leaders, and share information that improves lives.

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All in for ICN

Last year I joined the board of ImproveCareNow (“ICN”). ICN is a collaborative health care network dedicated to improving the care and outcomes for children with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (also called Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD). What excites me about ICN is that it has developed a transformative model for the delivery of health care unlike anything I have ever read about or experienced myself.

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PAC Travel Toolkit

Traveling with IBD, whether it be inside or outside the country, isn’t always easy. However, the PAC has created a new tool to answer questions, share experiences, and hopefully help ease some of the stress of traveling with IBD! Initially, we planned to offer information for patients wanting to study abroad. After giving this idea some more thought, PAC members decided a toolkit with general information about traveling is more relatable and would help more people. Thus, the Travel Toolkit was born!

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The strength of our community

I always get nervous before group meetings. I worry that no one will show up or that the material won’t be helpful. Last Wednesday was no exception. When I walked into a conference room at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital I was nervous but shouldn’t have been. I was greeted by smiles, waves, and pizza.

I felt comfortable, accepted, and ready to learn.

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I became my own worst enemy

My name is McKenna, I’m 18 years old and just graduated high school! I was diagnosed the fall of my sophomore year with Crohn’s disease. That year I quit playing soccer and joined the boys varsity football team for junior and senior year!  

My biggest struggle with Crohn’s was myself…I became my own worst enemy.

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Waiting for the Glass to Break

Growing up is hard. School is hard. Managing friendships and reaching goals is hard. And, living with IBD is hard. There is no question that kids and teens today have a mountain of responsibilities and pressures without worrying about managing a life-long condition. With all the school assignments, sports, activities and just trying to have fun, having to add in one more step makes it feel like the glass is going to shatter.

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Being involved is empowering!

When I joined ImproveCareNow about 1.5 years ago, research was one of the primary ways I wanted to be involved. I’ve lived with Crohn’s disease for almost 11 years, and for much of that time research felt like something that happened behind the scenes and was entirely out of my realm of influence. Often research is done to or about patients and families, but very rarely is it done with them. Engaging patients and families in research can not only enhance the research itself, but it can also help patients and families feel as though they have a stake in the discovery of new knowledge about IBD.

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Finding my place as a patient within ICN

I have been part of the PAC since August 2016. Getting started, I never knew that joining the PAC would be so life-changing for me. I never dreamed of being a part of something as innovative as I believe ImproveCareNow is. From my perspective, no other healthcare network has accomplished so much as ImproveCareNow. As a patient, it allows me to boast on those accomplishments, and it motivates me to work harder in doing my part to grow the network. Wait, but what is my role? The patient’s role?

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June 13 Virtual Community Conference - Join Us!

Twice-yearly ImproveCareNow Virtual Community Conferences seek to connect and grow our widely distributed and diverse community in pursuit of our purpose to improve health and care for all children and youth with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. We invite all people wishing to learn more about and get involved with ImproveCareNow to join us on June 13 between 4:30 and 8pm ET for our Spring 2018 Virtual Community Conference. Read more to see the agenda for this event. 

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