ImproveCareNow #ignitetalk


IGNITE - The impact and importance of listening

Kera has been seeking information and making tough decisions from a young age. She was just 10 years old when she, with support from her Mom and Dad, made the choice to use nutritional therapy to treat and manage Crohn's disease after surgery. Her path to emergent surgery, and ultimately her diagnosis, was long and paved with painful symptoms and emotional trauma. Some adults dismissed her pain as "normal" or even lies. In her deeply honest #ignitetalk, Kera reminded us that life is full of inflection points...the moment a stomach bug morphed into chronic pain, the moment her pain was validated and she learned she had Crohn's, the moment her care providers really listened and answered her questions, the moment she realized that succeeding at nutritional therapy helped her physical health but exacted a huge toll on her mental health, the moment it became clear her issues with body image and eating were not safe or healthy, the moment she discovered the Patient Advisory Council and people who she didn't have to 'downplay her trauma around', the moment (which came just before she took the podium at #ICNCC23F) when her PAC co-chair, Shira, told her that she is allowed to take up space.

If reading about or listening to real experiences with eating disorders and/or body dysmorphia does not serve you, please protect your own mental well-being by skipping this post and video.

Be inspired by Kera's #IgniteTalk 🔥


IGNITE - I made a conscious choice to become a part of something

Ignite Talks have become a tradition at ImproveCareNow Community Conferences. There is always so much enthusiasm for these brief and breathtaking personal narratives. And we continue to feel gratitude and awe for the improvers who speak from their hearts and share their real life experiences with pediatric IBD. We are grateful to Tomiyo for her story about caring for her daughter with severe IBD and the emotional toll it had on her. Speaking to a live audience was an act of real bravery for this introverted parent, and it represents a promise that Tomiyo kept to herself to be involved and to help other caregivers who might be suffering like she did. Tomiyo's ignite talk highlights the importance of support, community and advocacy for IBD caregivers and the power of stories to drive us all to create a better for future for those who need it most. 

Be inspired by Tomiyo's #IgniteTalk 🔥


IGNITE - A Parent's Perspective on Healthcare Learning Networks

Ignite Talks are a true highlight of ImproveCareNow Community Conferences - whether we are meeting in-person or live online. This spring, at our Live Online Community Conference, we were honored to listen as Jane Weyer shared her personal story as parent to a child diagnosed not only with Crohn's disease, but also Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) - an autoimmune liver condition affecting around 30,000 people in the US. Jane, and her daughter Nicole, didn't have the information or resources they wanted at the beginning of their PSC journey. So, they rolled up their sleeves, leaned on the strong foundation of connection and improvement built by the ImproveCareNow Learning Health Network, and together with other visionaries founded A-LiNK (the Autoimmune Liver Disease Network for Kids). A-LiNK Connections, the caregiver/patient community, was established to collaborate, advocate, support, and educate families on this journey with them.

Be inspired by Jane's #IgniteTalk 🔥


IGNITE - Community and having a relationship with patients is important

Imagine being diagnosed with a chronic illness in the midst of a global pandemic and lockdown. How does a young person develop resilience and thrive when facing incredible health challenges in isolation? How can they connect with people who understand, who can normalize IBD and offer support and validation about experiences that are still very stigmatized? Not only was Hannah able to develop resilience (on her own terms) and thrive (in the face of difficult surgeries and complications), she also found a community in ICN and the PAC and has grown into an incredible patient advocate. In her #ICNCC23S Ignite Talk, Hannah shares the story of her diagnosis, what resilience and community mean to her, how asking questions and getting to know patients can open the doors to more inclusive and whole-body care.

Be inspired by Hannah's #IgniteTalk 🔥


IGNITE - My friend...IBD

What if your closest friend had a habit of interrupting your plans and not listening when you begged them to stop? You might might wish to end that friendship. But, as Mahalakshmi points out in her #IgniteTalk, which she shared at both our in-person and our virtual community conference this fall, when "friend" is really a metaphor for IBD there isn't really a choice. 

Be inspired by Mahalakshmi's #IgniteTalk 🔥 


IGNITE - IBD is a marathon AND a sprint

Inspiring, honest and motivational. Those were the words used to describe IBD parent, Ildiko's #IgniteTalk. In it she reminded us all of the critically important and unique perspective that parents and caregivers of young people with IBD bring to the discussion. She asked us to remember that while we collaborate on the big challenges that IBD presents, there are also small things we can do to make a difference right now (like watching our language). And she issued a call to action for us to work together to make truly meaningful progress in outcomes for kids with IBD and also to really believe that radical, transformative progress is possible.

Be inspired by Ildiko's #IgniteTalk 🔥


IGNITE - There is Hope

Have you ever wondered what a doctor might be thinking or feeling when you open up about what's going on physically and emotionally because of IBD - the good, the bad, the embarrassing, the frustrating? When they deliver an IBD diagnosis to a family? When they want to be a source of answers? During her #IgniteTalk at the Fall 2021 Live Online Community Conference, Dr. Rana Ammoury let us peek inside her experience as a pediatric GI and an ICN participant for the past seven years. Her story, beautifully written and delivered, is a genuine reminder of the power of vulnerability, humanity, community and hope. 

Be inspired by Rana's #IgniteTalk 🔥 


IGNITE - Creating a Family

Do you need an IBD family? Martha knew instinctively that she did, from the moment her family first started their journey with Crohn's disease. So, she volunteered to start a pediatric family support group at her local care center. It took some time for the group to gain traction - nine months, in fact. But thanks to Martha's "pleasant persistence" and the active involvement of their pediatric GI provider, the group is now thriving - supporting and encouraging each other (both the parents and the kids), working side-by-side with patients and providers to better care, and offering newly diagnosed families a safe and welcoming place to find their footing surrounded by people who truly understand. As Martha puts it, "I had no idea who I would meet or how we would all interact, but I knew that if I needed an IBD family, others did, too."

Be inspired by Martha's #IgniteTalk 🔥 


IGNITE - I don't have to be healthy to be happy.

When Shira joined the Patient Advisory Council - in October 2020 - she wrote that she was looking for a place where she could use her voice to influence the quality of care other people receive - to change someone else's life for the better. Since then, she has set about doing just that - co-chairing the PAC's Advocacy Taskforce and joining the imPACt podcast where she has contributed to patient-led discussions on topics ranging from Parent-Patient Relationships to Arthritis to Queerness & IBD. In her Fall 2021 Live Online Community Conference Ignite Talk, Shira brought us deeper into her IBD journey by sharing a raw and beautiful account of her own self-inquiry and discovery, of learning to lean in during the dark moments and hold space for the hard feelings IBD brings. She challenged us, as she has challenged herself, to acknowledge that, yes, IBD is a burden and it brings a certain loss of control, but it does not mean the loss of one's happiness or identity.

Be inspired by Shira's #IgniteTalk 🔥 


IGNITE - Building a Legacy

Dr. John Grunow was one of the first pediatric gastroenterologists to join the ImproveCareNow Network - 15 years ago. He's been a dedicated improver ever since. Recently, John retired from active clinical practice but continues his work with ImproveCareNow. We are so grateful that he agreed to share his story in our very first clinician ignite talk - at the Fall 2021 Live Online Community Conference. Thank you, John.

Be inspired by John's #IgniteTalk 🔥 


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