ImproveCareNow Research Committee member and pediatric IBD psychologist, Jennie David PhD, recently shared her answers to some questions about the state of IBD research, emerging trends in ICN Research, significant recent discoveries, and the value of being involved for psychosocial professionals.

What do you think are the emerging trends in IBD research?

There are several emerging trends in the pediatric IBD research occurring within the ICN network, including efforts to understand health equity across the network, cohorts within pediatric IBD (e.g., VEO-IBD, patients who undergo a colectomy), and appreciating the perspectives/attitudes of clinicians within the network. These trends appear to be in step with trends in the broader IBD research as we all work towards true equity and access, understanding the heterogeneity of IBD, and assessing how perspectives/attitudes can impact care delivery.

What are the big updates or discoveries in IBD research from 2023?

Broadly in IBD research, we have continued to see studies around exciting new medical treatments that are expanding our array of available treatment options. I think we are also seeing a cultural shift in how we utilize treatment options like dietary therapy and surgery as we appreciate that IBD care is about finding the right tool at the right time for the right person.

Within the ICN research world, the COMBINE study results are a highlight of 2023, with notable excitement about these results and the implications expressed during our Fall Community Conference.

In this last year - what are some of the studies that were approved by the ICN Research Committee and what do we hope to learn?

The studies approved by ICN’s research committee will continue to expand our knowledge of IBD into important areas including  health equity, multidisciplinary care, and better understanding cohorts of IBD patients (e.g., VEO-IBD). I am hopeful we will learn more about the current state of pediatric IBD care across the network, and moreover identify roadmaps from this research to keep moving forward to better care for all.

Any other observations about IBD Research or Research in ICN?

I have been very excited and awestruck to see how much research has been happening in pediatric IBD and within our community. Research takes so many resources, and so much collaboration and time. To see such ongoing strong efforts in research is a true demonstration of the commitment our community has to revolutionizing care for our patients and families.

It is also very cool to see more published multidisciplinary work, like co-authors from different specialty backgrounds, and to have multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder perspectives on the Research Committee when reviewing proposals!

Have you noticed anything significant or different in the types of ICN research coming through the committee over the last 2(ish) years?

As a newer member to the ICN Research Committee, I have noticed increasing references to psychosocial care and DEI considerations in proposals and am hopeful these trends continue!

How can psychosocial professionals benefit from participating in ICN and ICN research?

There are a plethora of benefits to psychosocial professionals participating in ICN and ICN-related research, including education (e.g., learning more about the psychosocial nuances that accompany IBD), finding and building community (e.g., through the Social Work and Psychology "SWAP" group), gaining access to excellent resources (e.g., the Ostomy Toolkit), networking with other clinicians, patients, and families across ICN, and presenting and/or publishing research (e.g., at ICN’s conference, at other national conferences, in peer-reviewed journals).

🔎 ImproveCareNow believes in doing research with, not for or about, patients and families. With guidance from our representative ICN Research Committee, patients, parents/caregivers, clinicians, and researchers are working together to identify research questions, design and carry out studies to answer important questions about IBD, and to implement what they have learned to continuously improve clinical care and outcomes. 
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💡 Everything we do in ImproveCareNow is magnified by the efforts of thousands of improvers! No action is too small; here are some ways to get started:
💚 Join the Patient Advisory Council (patients with IBD who are 14+)
💙 Join the Parent/Family Advisory Council (parents/caregivers of young people with IBD)
💚 Participate in our Current Research Opportunities (subject to eligibility)
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