Crohns & Colitis Congress

Crohns & Colitis Congress

January 21, 2020
3 min read

Crohn’s & Colitis Congress: Collaboration between physicians, patients ‘critical’

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David T. Rubin, MD 
David T. Rubin
Uma Mahadevan

AUSTIN, Texas — Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease will be on-site at the Austin Convention Center starting Thursday as a media partner for the Crohn’s & Colitis Congress, bringing the latest in inflammatory bowel disease news to our daily feed.

The Congress, which is in its third year, according to David T. Rubin, MD, AGAF, section chief of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, and co-director of the Digestive Diseases Center at the University of Chicago Medicine and organizing committee chair of the Crohn’s & Colitis Congress, has seen a record-setting attendance before any on-site registrations, as well as 120 participating faculty members, which is also a record.

“We have learned from our prior 2 years of how engaging and successful we want the meeting to be and how we can continue to improve it,” Rubin told Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease. “This year, there are a number of things that are unique and should be highlighted.”

IBD A to Z

New to this year’s Congress, a partnership of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and the American Gastroenterological Association, is that all the breakout sessions during the first day of the Congress were included in the registration, according to Rubin.

One of the new programs during the breakout sessions is IBD A to Z, which is designed to be an introduction to inflammatory bowel disease.

The session was created, and will be led, by Florian Rieder, MD, PhD, of Cleveland Clinic and Tina Ha, MD, of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

“We know that people come to the conference with different levels of understanding of inflammatory bowel disease,” Uma Mahadevan, MD, AGAF, co-director of UCSF Colitis and Crohn's Disease Center and organizing committee co-chair of the Crohn’s & Colitis Congress, told Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease. “Some people are new to the field and want to learn the basics and others have an excellent fund of knowledge and want to enhance their skills and understand their nuances. The IBD A to Z session walks people from the very beginning of diagnosing IBD, through the available therapies and then goes into managing the complexity of disease including positioning news therapies and managing complications.”

Multidisciplinary approach

“One of the strengths of the Crohn’s & Colitis Congress is that it adapts to what the attendees want. We went through what prior attendees put on their evaluations and reviewed what they said they would like to see at the Congress. For example, multidisciplinary speakers and more opportunities for networking,” Mahadevan said in an interview.


Mahadevan noted that there have been multidisciplinary speakers at past meetings, but there was an emphasis on strengthening that portion of the meeting.

Rubin highlighted the importance of hosting these multidisciplinary talks by noting that they offer attendees opportunity to take care of the whole patient.

“We have recognized that unless we partner with our dietitian and nutrition colleagues, as well as our psychiatry and psychology colleagues, and our ostomy specialists and our rheumatologists, gynecologists and dermatologists, we’re not taking care of the whole patient,” Rubin said. “This general holistic approach to these complex patients and their needs is setting a good example, we’re role modeling how we’d like to see the microcosm of individual practices look by having that type of collaboration on stage and we recognize that not everyone in their practice has access to all these specialties, but at least recognizing the needs of the patient and knowing when it’s appropriate to have resources or at least be able to refer patients for additional support in these areas is critical.”

Patient involvement

Another new focus for this year’s meeting was the introduction of a parallel-patient program.

Rubin noted that there is an IBD Insider session that will take place Saturday that will provide patients with an all-encompassing update from the different areas that were covered during the meeting. More than 1,000 people have signed up for the virtual presentation, according to Rubin.

Additionally, he discussed why it is important to involve the patient voice in these meetings.

“Despite the fact that I value my colleagues’ perspectives on managing patients who live with Crohn’s and colitis, we recognize that the patient’s voice needs to be heard at these meetings. Although we listen to them every day in the exam rooms, it is important to have them share the podium and share in the planning of meetings to make sure we don’t forget some of the high-profile priorities for them. We also hope that they will disseminate what is discussed to their friends, family and other patients,” he said. “Only by working together on both sides of the examining table can we really advance the field properly.” – by Ryan McDonald