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The Spark That Set The Flame

I was a reluctant participant - I was perfectly content to let others lead the way. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, I just didn’t think I had anything of significant value that I could share. That’s not false modesty, I was literally fumbling through trying to understand what it meant to have two kids with a chronic disease that had no cure. That was until I began to partner with my local IBD care center and the larger ImproveCareNow community. 

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I never liked avocados until after my UC diagnosis

I never liked them, but when my doctor told me avocados are filled with good fats and that they are a wholesome food loaded with nutrients, I decided to give them a chance. I was surprised by how good they tasted!

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Sharing the story of how patient and family engagement can impact IBD care - a clinician perspective

In December 2021, our team's ICN Coordinator/Data Analyst - Ashley Kiel - shared her experience as an essential, but non-clinical team member involved in the challenge we undertook to educate our local IBD community about the ImproveCareNow CIRCLE and how patient and family engagement can positively impact overall care and treatment of IBD. Now, I'd like to add my perspective, as a pediatric GI doc, on why engaging with patients and families is so important, how we have been pursuing engagement efforts over the past year, and what others can steal shamelessly from our experience.

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We are grateful!

Twenty-twenty-one brought challenges! Looking back on this year, we find there is a lot to be grateful for - not the least of which is this amazing community of improvers working together to improve the lives of thousands of young people living with IBD and their families. We'd like to express our gratitude.

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Sharing the story of how patient and family engagement can impact IBD care

My name is Ashley and I am the ImproveCareNow Coordinator/Data Analyst for the IBD Team at Nationwide Children's Hospital. My team was challenged by the Engagement Trailblazers to educate our patient population about ImproveCareNow's CIRCLE and how patient and family engagement can positively impact overall care and treatment of IBD. 

ImproveCareNow Learning Labs are small groups of care centers with key characteristics in common or who are working on similar issues. This structure enables care centers to work more closely together to catalyze improvement and to maintain personal connections as our Network grows. Engagement Trailblazers is a Learning Lab focused on finding ways to connect with all patients and families across ImproveCareNow and to help them access and utilize the IBD resources we create together.

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What I Wish You Knew About IBD & Holidays

Invisible illnesses, like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, don't take time off for the holidays. Learning about what your friends and family members who live with IBD may be experiencing is a powerful way to demonstrate your caring and support, and to also include them in holiday plans in ways that work for them.

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Top Ten LOOP posts of 2021

LOOP is an important venue for our community to keep #TalkingAboutIBD. It’s a place where #StoriesMatter - where they connect us, grow our confidence, validate our experiences, remind us we are not alone, and motivate us to continue improving together.

So far, in 2021, 70 stories have been shared #InTheLOOP. Patients, clinicians, parents, dietitians, researchers, and staff & leaders from across the ICN Community have written about IBD from their unique perspectives. They have covered topics ranging from support and advocacy to the importance of sharing openly and talking about IBD, from research and innovative projects to personal struggles, triumphs and hopes for the future.

Without further ado, here are the stories you read the most in 2021!

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