ImproveCareNow Parent_partners


Partnering for better pediatric IBD outcomes

ImproveCareNow (ICN) believes that when patients and caregivers are true partners in the design and delivery of their IBD care, we can achieve even better outcomes. One way our learning health network fosters this commitment to partnering with our pediatric IBD families is through our Community Conference scholarship program. Scholarships allow patients and/or caregivers to attend our in-person meetings at no cost to them.


The story of our new PFAC logo

My name is Maria and I'm the ImproveCareNow Parent/Family Advisory Council (PFAC) Connections Co-Lead. Recently, I had the pleasure of collaborating with the ICN Communications team and PFAC leadership, to create the very first logo for the PFAC! Our new PFAC logo symbolizes the incredible strength and unwavering unity of parents and caregivers who nurture and support children with IBD.


I am the incoming Chair of the Board of Directors of ImproveCareNow

My name is Missy Ketchum, and I am the incoming Chair of the Board of Directors of ImproveCareNow (ICN). I have served on the Board for five years, an experience that has deepened my admiration for ICN’s mission. I begin my new role as Chair on July 1, 2023.


Finding my way to mindfulness meditation practices that resonated

Diagnosed at age 15 with severe IBD, my daughter’s journey with illness was bumpy, but manageable, until the summer after her sophomore year of college. Her colonic health had been on a slow decline for some months, and that’s when cDiff took advantage. Though her health worsened over the summer, she was able to convince her doctor to let her go back to college in the fall. There, cDiff continued to recur and stopped responding to all medications. An oral fecal microbiota transplant finally shut down the cDiff but sent her into her worst flare ever. She was hospitalized on the opposite coast from where we live. I flew out to be with her, thinking it would be for a few days and ended up staying a couple of months until she was stable enough to get her home to California, where she was admitted to a hospital there. Of all the challenges we’ve faced over the course of her illness (she’s now 27), the time we spent on the East Coast, far from all our supports was the most difficult. She was on an adult ward there, and they didn’t seem to understand why I insisted on staying with her.

It was the first time my stoic child became depressed. And I found myself overwhelmed, afraid, and alone.


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 🔥


I wanted to share my family's experiences and see how I can help other IBD families

My name is Stacy and I am Co-Chair of the Children's Mercy IBD Patient Family Advisory Council (or "IBD PFAC" for short). I have twin boys and one of them is a patient of the Children's Mercy IBD Clinic. An interesting fact about me is that I am also an RN and I have worked for the Veteran's Hospital Administration for the past 17 years.


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 🔥


How to begin doing research with ImproveCareNow

The ICN Research committee encourages everyone to submit research proposals even if you think the research process might be too intimidating or difficult. Because when we ask and answer questions about IBD together as a community, we can get even better results.


A Thank You Letter to Jill Horan

Let’s all stop to take notice of one of the truly wonderful people around us: Jill Horan. The following reflection was written by incoming parent co-leaders, Heidi and Ildiko, as a celebration of the dedication, creativity, passion and kindness that Jill has brought to her careful tending of the ImproveCareNow Parent Working Group (which has announced a new name, by the way). 


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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