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We call it the "My ICN Home" shirt.

Dear Improvers,

Hi, it’s Christian – co-chair of the PAC! I’m super excited to share that the PAC has selected a design for a new t-shirt, inspired by our work with ImproveCareNow. We call it the "My ICN Home" shirt. The concept for this shirt actually came from Spring 2018 Community Conference, and I can remember flying home after the conference, visualizing a design in my head. Here we are, one year later, and I finally brought that design to life and my fellow PAC members selected it as the design for our 2019 t-shirt! 

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What I would have told my newly-diagnosed self

After suffering for months (including losing 20 pounds, requiring blood transfusions, missing junior prom because I was in the hospital…) I was told I have ulcerative colitis, a disease with no cure, and that I would need medication for life. Hearing this traumatizing news, I knew my life would be changed forever. I thought I would never recover, and the sickness would continue. I did not know anyone else that had IBD, and I felt alone.

Looking back on my sickest times, I can see very clearly that the one thing I wished I had was someone else with IBD who I could talk to...someone I could relate to and who could understand what it’s like.

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Keep in touch...

The Parent Working Group (PWG) has 160 participating members, and we’re always encouraging them keep in touch with each other; to share ideas, experiences and knowledge, to support one another and to communicate openly about issues and opportunities at their local centers. Last year we challenged ourselves to create a resource that would ease the flow of information and inspire these kinds of connections.

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Becoming a Responsible Young Adult

I’m Fionna and I am 18 years old. I am a freshman in college, thinking about studying engineering, but haven’t decided yet...so that may change! I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when I was five and primary sclerosing cholangitis (liver complication) when I was seven.

Last year I started fencing at school. I love it! Sabre is my favorite.

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Getting What You Need, When It’s Needed

My brother has ulcerative colitis. For too long, I watched him suffer without access to the things he needed (education about the disease, a treatment that worked and that he was on board with, support and understanding). My brother, and everyone living with IBD, deserves to have access to all the tools, information, resources and support needed to not just survive with IBD – but to thrive.

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A thief in the night

Our IBD journey began over five years ago with our oldest daughter. It presented itself more like a thief in the night rather than a bold, coming out. For three years prior to diagnosis, there was a sense that something was not right, but the clues left were random and independent of each other. Add in a misdiagnosis and it would take someone highly skilled to assemble the clues and uncover the mystery.

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A parent partner has incredibly enriched care at my center

Having a parent partner has incredibly enriched the care that our Pediatric Gastroenterology department provides to our patients and their families. It brings a fresh and enthusiastic perspective to our group meetings and has provided valuable feedback for our IBD informational packet that will be given to families.

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Igniting Energy for Learning Networks

Recently, I had the pleasure of sharing my story at a Learning Networks conference here in Atlanta. When you hear the term ‘learning networks’ just think ImproveCareNow, but for other chronic illness populations. This particular conference was unique because it brought four unique, budding learning networks together for the first time. The whole experience was extremely valuable, and it was amazing to see four learning networks that are at different stages, ranging from just starting out to those that have been doing it for a while. Sometimes in ImproveCareNow I find myself wishing change happened more quickly, but the experience helped remind me that we have come so far already. The purpose of my speech was to energize and inspire the participants, but I think it was me who came away inspired.

Several participants asked me to share my speech transcript so they could share with others after the conference ended. I thought maybe I could do one better and share my words with my entire ICN community. So, enjoy and I hope this reinvigorates you in our fight for better care and outcomes for young people with IBD.

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From One Ostomate to Another, I Promise It Does Get Better

We have a problem. The problem is that people seem to be focused on the what of our ostomies and not on the why. Having an ostomy can drastically improve someone’s health; it can even save lives. For many of us ostomates, getting one is not a choice we have the liberty to make.

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