IBS Impact.com Has a New Website! September 2015

September 29, 2015

IBS Impact has recently completed a major and overdue overhaul to its main website. Technical and other issues delayed the launch beyond the time expected, but it is live now and we thank IBS Impact’s long-term followers for their patience. The site has been moved to a new web host, webmaster and design template. Information and links on most pages have been updated and reorganized considerably to remove defunct or redundant material and streamline information. It is hoped that the new site will resolve technical issues that prevented updates to the old site for some time, will better allow the possibility of future expansions, and provide greater online accessibility for those with certain disabilities other than or in addition to IBS.

There have also been new resources added on the home page,  IBS page, advocacy page, research pageIBS studies page, resources pageIBS and children page, family and friends page and links page.  For efficient use of space, the events page from the previous site, which was under-utilized, has been removed for now, but a “latest news” column of short news updates has been added to the left sidebar of the home page. Readers interested in the most recent news, events, clinical trial and advocacy opportunities, and articles between main site updates, may follow this blog or our Facebook or Twitter feeds (links found on the lower right sidebar of this blog). In this update, particular attention has been given to increasing resources for international visitors to the site, with the current site reflecting six countries that are consistently among the top sources of hits to our sites, for children and teens with IBS and their families, and for those with medical conditions that commonly overlap with IBS.  Regardless of one’s interest in IBS, whether personal or professional, most users should find useful and interesting material and links.

Because of the redesign and transfer of the site, some links embedded in older posts on this blog or search engine results relating to IBS Impact.com may result in error messages, but you should still reach the site itself. If so, please use the navigation links at the top of the site to reach the desired subpage.  No information that is still currently useful has been removed from the site, although in some cases, the location has changed. For example, much of the information previously found on the advocacy page has been moved to the resources page, and some of the previous contents of the resources page has been moved to the IBS page.

Please feel free to check out the new site here. Our goals with the website, blog and social media are to provide a varied range of current, scientifically accurate, reputable information and resources to people with IBS and their families and friends, and to encourage informed choices, proactive self-advocacy and public awareness of IBS, and the unmet medical or social needs many of us face as a result of IBS.

IBS Impact, as an entity, is not directly affiliated with any other organization, site or research sponsor and receives no funding for the information we post on the main website, this blog or our Twitter and Facebook pages. We do welcome constructive collaboration and value the many individuals, websites, organizations and clinical and research entities who continue to support, encourage and amplify our efforts in various ways to benefit the cause of IBS awareness and advocacy worldwide.

Special thanks to Shawn Case, IBS Impact’s volunteer founding webmaster, web designer and advocate in the IBS community for many years, who continues to act as a co-administrator and advisor for IBS Impact, and through his former business, donated hosting and maintenance for the IBS Impact site since its inception. Thanks also to Johnny Steverson, the CEO of WebTekPromotions, who completed the work on the new site at a substantially discounted rate and will also be donating hosting and maintenance going forward. Their work is essential to IBS Impact and the cause.

Comments, suggestions, corrections of outdated links, article submissions, and clinical trials or surveys by researchers affiliated with academic, medical, or pharmaceutical entities or reputable organizations representing IBS or commonly overlapping conditions in any country are all welcome and will be thoughtfully considered.  A new contact form can be found on the home page of the main site, or comments can be left on this blog.  Thank you to all of our readers and social media followers for your interest and participation.

Representative Moore of Wisconsin Co-Sponsors HR 2311 for Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders

September 18, 2015

According to IFFGD/the Digestive Health Alliance and the official Congressional legislative database Congress.gov, Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI-4) has recently signed on as a co-sponsor to the Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act of 2015.

Representative Moore is serving her sixth term in the House of Representatives. Her district, the 4th Congressional District of Wisconsin includes Milwaukee and much of the surrounding area. According to her official House website, Representative Moore  is currently a member of the House Committee on Budget, and also has a record of supporting concerns related to health, veterans and women. Approximately two-thirds of adults with IBS are female. Representative Moore was also a co-sponsor of the previous version of this legislation, HR 2239, in the 112th Congress, which was then known as HR 842 in the 113th Congress.

If you are a constituent of Representative Moore, please take a few minutes to write or call her with your thanks for her long, consistent support of the functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders community.

In officially supporting HR 2311, Representative Moore joins Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI-5) , who is the initial sponsor, and was also the initial sponsor of two previous versions beginning in 2011, and the first co-sponsor, Representative Andre Carson (D-IN-7), who was a previous co-sponsor in 2013-2014 and Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19, a new co-sponsor this Congress. If you are a constituent of any of these Representatives, please thank them as well.

According to the information on Congress.gov, it appears that the bill is currently under consideration in the Subcommittee on Health. Click on the link above if you would like to see a list of its members.

U. S. citizens, if your Member of Congress is not yet a co-sponsor of HR 2311, please see the previous post from May 18, 2015 for links to the bill and more details on how to do so.  Often, it takes multiple attempts to elicit any interest from legislators, so if you do not receive a reply, do not hesitate to try again or to switch contact methods until you attract attention. Keep in mind that your Representative may be different from before because of the 2014 elections, district boundaries that may have been re-drawn, or if you have moved.

Your personal experiences as a person with IBS and/or other functional GI/motility disorders, or as a concerned family member, friend or colleague, are most effective in communicating to legislators and their staff that there are real human beings behind the statistics. However, even general expressions of support are helpful.

HR 2311 is bipartisan legislation (supported by members of both parties) and according to IFFGD discussions with IBS Impact,  is “revenue-neutral,” meaning that there will be no additional taxes or spending added to the current federal deficit if it is enacted. Discretionary funds are available at the National Institutes of Health to be allocated if Congress directs NIH, through this Act, that functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders are a priority. Congress will only do so if we, as a community, are able to show them the importance of the research, education and FDA coordination provided for in HR 2311.

NIH grants funding to researchers throughout the world, not just in the U.S., so in the long run, enactment of this Act may also benefit readers with IBS in other countries. Medical research also sometimes involves multinational teams of scientists, and in any case, study results are usually published globally, adding to the cumulative knowledge worldwide.

It is IBS Impact’s understanding that HR 2311 will not require a debate or vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, and will pass as soon as it reaches 218 sponsor/cosponsors, or a simple majority of the House. In order for this milestone to be accomplished during the current Congress, the 114th,  the necessary number of sponsor/cosponsors must be reached by December 2016. Every two years, the Congressional membership will be different as a result of elections. Thus, if HR 2311 has not passed by that time,  a similar bill will have to be reintroduced and the FGIMD community will have to start the process of gathering co-sponsors anew. This is what occurred with HR 2239 in 2012 and HR 842 in 2014. While it is quite common for legislation of various sorts to take several Congresses to pass, our continuing advocacy now can increase awareness, build momentum and perhaps accelerate passage. It is in our hands.

Check back on this blog or join IBS Impact’s Facebook page or Twitter feed for further updates on HR 2311 as they occur. Links to the social media sites can be found on the right sidebar of the blog.