ImproveCareNow Pac


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.


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.


PAC 2018 Year in Review

It’s been a busy year for the Patient Advisory Council (PAC). Twenty-eighteen has seen the PAC evolve to be more dynamic and engaged than ever before. The progress and developments made in our group of 50+ patient members include substantial leadership changes and more toolkits than I can even remember. 


New Resource: PAC Accommodations Toolkit

As co-chair of the Patient Advisory Council (PAC) Advocacy task force, I am excited to announce our new Accommodations Toolkit! Becky and I (with lots of support from the entire PAC and ICN social workers) developed this toolkit as a resource to help patients, parents and providers better understand and navigate the accommodations process.


Top Ten LOOP Posts of 2018

LOOP is making an impression on the IBD community!

We enter December 2018 with 60 new posts, shared by 40 ImproveCareNow community members! And 27 people posted for the very first time in 2018. Posts covered topics like: IBD research, mental health, new PAC member intros, ICN event updates, what I wish you knew, and many honest accounts of life with IBD.

We are thankful for each and every one of these stories. Here are the top 10, most viewed, posts of 2018!


Being an advocate when I don’t feel like one

Sometimes I feel like people expect me to always act a certain way because I have Crohn’s. Maybe you’re thinking I mean people understand and expect me to always be tired or running to the bathroom. But that’s not it; it’s that I feel like they expect me to be happy, bubbly, positive – like I am when I’m advocating.


PAC Body Image Toolkit

Body image is a topic that Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients don’t often talk about due to the embarrassment and fear associated with opening up about their experiences with their Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

It can be incredibly frustrating to feel like you have no control over how your body works or looks, especially given all the messages we receive from the media about how a body ‘should’ look and behave. We wanted to create the Body Image Toolkit as a way to express our experiences, provide tips, and start conversations about body image & IBD. It’s important to know that we’re not alone in our feelings, and that there are so many people who understand what we’re going through! 


PAC Social Media Week Recap - CC18F

ICYMI – PAC hosted another Social Media Week leading up to the Fall 2018 ImproveCareNow Community Conference. Social Media Week is one way we get excited for the Community Conference! It consists of PAC members putting together a series of personal and highly-focused quotes, pictures and stories, which we share widely to raise awareness of ImproveCareNow and IBD. In the past, we’ve answered questions like: "What is your IBD story?" "What or who motivates you to keep on fighting?" and "How do you/or the PAC raise awareness for IBD?" and in the Spring members shared what the ICN Core Values meant to them. For the Fall CC we wanted to share stories and examples of how we are Better Together.

These are our stories:


Triumph Cords

Hi everyone, my name is Natalie and I just graduated from the University of Cincinnati (UC) this August with a degree in Environmental Studies and minors in Psychology and Biology. On my own time I am a health & environmental advocate and enjoy fighting for awareness & understanding of things people may not be educated on (like Crohn’s disease, which I also have).

Thanks to the UC journalism department, I was prompted to write a short piece for a video and article I was featured in for my school. It was about overcoming adversity and making it to graduation, and I wanted to share it with you.


Sustenance, for a healthy life

My name is Maddie. I am 16 years old and I have Crohn’s disease (CD). I have used nutritional therapy as a primary treatment for my Crohn’s disease since my diagnosis at the age of 13. Nutritional therapy has changed my life – both my health and my relationship with food.


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