Free Online Webinar for IBS, Functional GI Disorders with Dr. Drossman, “Achieving Effective Patient-Provider Communication” on April 24, 2017

April 17, 2017

The American College of Gastroenterology has announced that for IBS Awareness Month, it will be sponsoring a free online webinar presented by Douglas Drossman, MD, MACG  and one of his patients, Katie Errico on “Achieving Effective Patient-Provider Communication.” The webinar will take place on Monday, April 24, 2017 from 8:00-9:00 p.m. Eastern time. The webinar is designed specifically for people with irritable bowel syndrome and/or other functional gastrointestinal disorders.

Dr. Drossman, a leading, internationally-known expert on IBS, functional gastrointestinal disorders, doctor-patient relationships and the biopsychosocial approach to medical care, is President of the Drossman Center for the Education and Practice of Biospsychosocial Care, President of the Rome Foundation, Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, retired co-director of the University of North Carolina Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders and a longtime board member of the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders,  along with many other pivotal roles in the development of the field of functional gastrointestinal disorders like IBS over his 40+ year career.

To participate in the webinar, please use the link to register. You will need to provide ACG with your full name and email address so that instructions for accessing the webinar on the scheduled date can be sent to you. It is open to anyone in any geographical location who has Internet access fast enough to handle streaming video, audio and chat technology. You will be able to ask questions after the presentation. Please keep in mind that Dr. Drossman cannot diagnose or treat anyone over the Internet, and depending on the number of participants and questions, he and Ms. Errico may or may not be able to get to every question.

“Achieving Effective Patient-Provider Communication” online webinar with Dr. Drossman, April 24, 2017

This is a tremendous and rare opportunity, especially for people with IBS or their loved ones to hear from and communicate directly with one of the world authorities and pioneers in the research, education and treatment of IBS. IBS Impact thanks ACG for making this webinar possible. We also thank Dr. Drossman for taking time out of his busy schedule to make himself available to the general public, and for his long decades of commitment to making functional gastrointestinal disorders like IBS a serious field of medical research and to supporting and treating many who live with these complex conditions.

 

 


Free Online Webinar for IBS with Dr. Drossman, “How to Make the Most of Your Doctor Visit” on April 16, 2015

April 4, 2015

The American College of Gastroenterology, the Rome Foundation, and the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) have announced that for IBS Awareness Month, they will be sponsoring a free online webinar presented by Douglas Drossman, MD, MACG on “How to Make the Most of Your Doctor Visit.” The webinar will take place on Thursday, April 16, 2015 from 8:00-9:00 p.m. Eastern time. The webinar is designed for people with irritable bowel syndrome and family members, but health care professionals are also welcome to attend.

Dr. Drossman, a leading, internationally-known expert on IBS, functional gastrointestinal disorders, doctor-patient relationships and the biopsychosocial approach to medical care, is President of the Drossman Center for the Education and Practice of Biospsychosocial Care, President of the Rome Foundation, Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and retired co-director of the University of North Carolina Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders, along with many other pivotal roles in the development of the field of functional gastrointestinal disorders like IBS over his 40+ year career.

Dr. Drossman will take questions of general interest at the end of his presentation, or they can be emailed in advance through the American College of Gastroenterology at jgaulin@gi.org. Further details are available at the link below. To participate in the webinar, please use the link to register. You will need to provide ACG with your full name and email address so that instructions for accessing the webinar on the scheduled date can be sent to you. It is open to anyone in any geographical location who has Internet access fast enough to handle streaming video, audio and chat technology.

“How to Make the Most of Your Doctor Visit” Webinar with Dr. Drossman, April 16, 2015

This is a tremendous and unique opportunity, especially for people with IBS or their loved ones to hear from and communicate directly with one of the world authorities and pioneers in the research, education and treatment of IBS. IBS Impact thanks ACG, the Rome Foundation and IFFGD for making this webinar possible. We also thank Dr. Drossman for taking time out of his busy schedule to make himself available to the general public, and for his long decades of commitment to making functional gastrointestinal disorders like IBS a serious field of medical research and to supporting and treating many who live with these complex conditions.

 

 


New York Times Column Raises Awareness But Also Reinforces Common Misconceptions of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders

September 20, 2013

The New York Times features a regular column entitled “Think Like a Doctor” written by Lisa Sanders, MD. In it, the details of actual interesting or perplexing medical cases, with the patients’ identifying information removed, are presented in the online version of the newspaper. Readers, both medical professionals and laypeople, are then challenged to comment with their guesses of the correct diagnoses. The answers, plus commentary from Dr. Sanders and her sources, are eventually discussed in a followup column published online, and within a few days, in print.

On September 5, 2013, Dr. Sanders first offered the situation of a teenaged girl who was a competitive gymnast and who had been experiencing chronic gastrointestinal difficulties. On September 6, in “Think Like a Doctor: The Gymnast’s Big Belly Solved,” Dr. Sanders revealed that ultimately, the young woman was diagnosed with a combination of two functional gastrointestinal disorders, and had begun treatment, which appeared to have been helpful. The print version of this article appeared in the Times’ Sunday magazine section on September 8.

In some respects, it is pleasing to see functional gastrointestinal disorders as the topic of an article in The New York Times, which is a major mainstream news source with an enduring reach nationally and internationally, far beyond New York City where it is published.  The column correctly notes that functional gastrointestinal disorders collectively affect about 25% of the population and are involved in about 40% of GI-related visits to doctors, and that irritable bowel syndrome is one of the best known functional gastrointestinal disorders. There is some explanation of what a functional gastrointestinal disorder is. There is also a brief reference made to the Rome criteria, the current international standard by which functional gastrointestinal experts believe such disorders can be diagnosed with a high degree of accuracy. Also, Dr. Sanders acknowledges that, in general, functional gastrointestinal disorders are being regarded by the medical profession with more legitimacy than in the past. Discussion of reputable information on functional gastrointestinal disorders by such a high profile media source, would seem to be good for public awareness.

On the other hand, the young patient’s experiences on the path to correct diagnosis and treatment, as described by Dr. Sanders, as well as some of the posted comments from readers, also highlight common and continuing stereotypes among health professionals and the general public alike. In a blog post entitled, “Misunderstood Functional GI Disorders: Gymnast’s Case Shows Why We Must Accept FGIDs as a Chronic Disorder,” which he posted on September 17, 2013, Douglas Drossman, MD, FACG responds to the Times column. Dr. Drossman, who is the founder of Drossman Gastroenterology and the Drossman Center for the Education and Practice of Biopsychosocial Care, the founder and president of the Rome Foundation, and the founder and co-director emeritus of the University of North Carolina Center Functional GI and Motility Disorders, is one of the leading international authorities in functional gastrointestinal disorders. He has held numerous additional roles in the development of the field over four decades of his career as a clinician, researcher and academic.

Dr. Drossman outlines a few major concerns about the piece. Firstly, the gymnast is described as having seen numerous health care professionals in various specialties and undergone many tests and unsuccessful conventional and complementary treatments over a long course of debilitating symptoms. This is not an uncommon experience for people with functional gastrointestinal disorders, implying that they are rare or difficult diagnoses that need to be made by ruling out an extensive list of other potential disorders. This is counter to the symptom-based approach, involving limited tests in some specific situations, that experts like Dr. Drossman have long advocated. Secondly, when the majority of the young woman’s test results  showed nothing obvious, some health care professionals she encountered wrongly concluded that the problem was “in her head” rather than the two neurogastroenterological disorders it is. Thirdly, Dr. Drossman judges the published resolution of the patient’s diagnosis and treatment as a bit too much “poetic license,” implying a relatively quick cure. He cautions his readers to remember that while there are diagnoses and some treatments available, for the vast majority of us dealing with one or more functional gastrointestinal disorders, these are chronic conditions that must be managed on a recurring or constant basis. He expresses concern that the Times column may have the unintended effect of motivating readers to seek more unneeded tests that are usually un-revealing in functional gastrointestinal disorders, in the hope of as positive an outcome as portrayed for the young gymnast.

IBS Impact concurs with Dr. Drossman that these aspects of the column are problematic. Some iteration of the Rome criteria has been in existence for over two decades, making diagnosis by exclusion outdated. The assumption that we are all imagining our medical condition, or are causing it by psychological problems we may or may not actually have is a familiar frustration of many of us with IBS or other functional gastrointestinal disorders, who often have difficulty getting some supposedly well-experienced professionals to take our very real physical concerns seriously, just because functional gastrointestinal disorders are sometimes associated with or exacerbated by stress or other mental health diagnoses. The actual biopsychosocial interactions involved in IBS and related disorders are more complex, as noted in Dr. Drossman’s source links in his post. Finally, while the temptation for those of us with moderate to severe and/or constant symptoms to chase after anything or anyone with the remotest possibility of help at any cost is very real and very understandable, over years of disappointments, that proves neither realistic nor pragmatically and financially sustainable for many of us. Our hope for the future may become directed in different ways, such as the awareness and self-advocacy that IBS Impact encourages.

It’s impossible to know for sure the effects of the Times article on any given reader. It is hoped that, on balance, the positive aspects of the piece open eyes to functional gastrointestinal disorders more often than the negative aspects influence public perception. This post highlighting the article and Dr. Drossman’s response attempts to continue the conversation on functional gastrointestinal disorders in a public way, so that voices of affected people and professionals who have lived with or among FGIDs every day for months or years. can be directly heard, not merely filtered through a newspaper’s interpretation. We encourage readers and fellow bloggers to share their reactions.


PBS “Second Opinion” Series Broadcast Episode on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

December 10, 2012

Recently, IBS Impact was alerted that an entire television episode of the U.S. Public Broadcasting Service health series “Second Opinion” was devoted to IBS. The series is hosted by Dr. Peter Salgo, a well known health and science correspondent and practicing clinician and professor associated with Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.

His panelists for the episode on IBS were Erin Slater, RD, a person with IBS whose experience led her to become a registered dietitian, Douglas Drossman, MD, FACG of Drossman Gastroenterology in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, co-founder and recently retired co-director of the University of North Carolina Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders, and current president of the Rome Foundation, and Lisa Harris, MD and Ashok N. Shah, MD, MACG, AGAF, both of the University of Rochester Medical Center. Within the context of Ms. Slater sharing her personal experiences with IBS, the panelists asked questions and provided answers that addressed common facts, misconceptions and treatment options related to IBS in general.

The entire episode is available for viewing on the “Second Opinion” website at the link below It runs a bit over 26 minutes. A link to a written transcript is also provided near the top of the linked page for those who are not able to access the audio. IBS Impact recommends this video to readers and thanks PBS, the University of Rochester, which sponsors this series,  the host and panelists for devoting time to IBS on the widely respected and high profile PBS network of stations, particularly Ms. Slater for her willingness to discuss her own IBS candidly and at length for broadcast television. It is hoped that this program will contribute to much greater awareness of IBS.

PBS “Second Opinion” Episode #910: Irritable Bowel Syndrome


UNC Online Chat:”Answers to Your Questions About IBS and Functional GI Disorders” on March 6, 2012

March 1, 2012

The University of North Carolina Center for Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders has announced the next online chat in its “Evening with the Experts” series. It will take place Tuesday March 6, 2012 from 8:00-10:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Douglas Drossman, MD, FACG,  will be available for an open discussion of “Answers to Your Questions About IBS and Functional GI Disorders.” Dr. Drossman, who co-founded the Center and recently retired as its co-director, is currently President of the Rome Foundation, the Drossman Center for the Education and Practice of Integrated Care, and Drossman Gastroenterology PLLC.

This month’s chat announcement makes a special note that, unlike the usual practice for most UNC chats, there will not be an introductory video this month. Dr. Drossman will take questions for the entire session. Therefore, the Center encourages attenders to log in to the chat promptly. Many past video presentations are archived on the Center website, but the actual chat sessions are conducted live and not archived.

People with IBS, and/or their concerned family members and friends are encouraged to make time to attend and participate in this and other UNC chats, which are an excellent, unique opportunity to interact directly with leading researchers, ask questions and give them feedback about our needs and concerns.

To participate in this or any UNC chat, go to the Center home page about 10 minutes before the starting time, click on the chat icon and follow the instructions given there.

Those who are unfamiliar with UNC’s online chat series may also find this previous post by IBS Impact on July 29 to be of interest.


Increasing Access to Quality Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

October 23, 2011

Irritable bowel syndrome is estimated to affect 9-23% of people in different countries worldwide, conservatively 10-15% in the U.S. alone.  One would think this means that IBS education, treatment and local support systems are are readily available, as they are for many other less common chronic conditions in many communities. In many parts of the U.S., people diagnosed with diabetes or kidney disease, for example, can be promptly referred to clinics, classes and support groups run by hospitals or local affiliates of  large national not-for-profit organizations to teach people to manage their conditions effectively, and staff may also be available to respond to ongoing routine questions and concerns. For other conditions, such as cystic fibrosis and hemophilia, national networks of specialized treatment centers exist where affected children and adults can receive expert care. Sophisticated mechanisms for sharing information about patients seen in those centers have been developed for the purposes of coordinating treatment and research. Over the past few decades, this ability has contributed to increasing life expectancy and quality of life significantly for people with these serious inherited disorders.

Granted, IBS is not as clearly understood scientifically, nor is it life-threatening. However, despite its high prevalence,  many people with IBS anecdotally report difficulties in finding physicians, psychologists and other providers who have extensive, current experience and knowledge of IBS, and who practice with true understanding and compassion for what may be complex needs. As discussed in IBS Impact’s October 9,2011 post, recent research by a team at UCLA has shown that many physicians and primary care nurse practitioners who do not specialize in functional GI disorders do not use the Rome criteria for diagnosis and still do not recognize that IBS is no longer a diagnosis of exclusion.  There are various university medical centers  in the U.S and abroad that have consistently studied IBS to some extent, but this is not true of every teaching hospital in all geographical areas, even some large cities. Centers that solely focus on comprehensive, state of the art patient care, education and research for functional gastrointestinal disorders are few.

There are reasons for hope, as well as much work left to be done by the IBS community toward better access to quality treatment for all who need it. Recently, IFFGD launched its new Digestive Health Alliance site which includes a U.S. and international care locator of providers who voluntarily indicate to IFFGD that they have an interest or specialization in functional gastrointestinal disorders. IFFGD has long provided such lists on request, but perhaps the move online will make these resources more easily available to anyone.  IFFGD asks people with functional GI and motility disorders to suggest additional providers they have found helpful, whom IFFGD will then approach for possible inclusion in the directory. IBS Impact encourages readers of this blog to do so, as entries for many locations remain scant, and the locator will be most useful when it can provide several potential choices to people in each geographical area.

Part of HR 2239, the Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act, also addresses the issue of centralized, coordinated research and care by calling on the National Institutes of Health to establish “up to five centers of excellence on FGIMDs located at academic medical centers throughout the country” dedicated to functional GI and motility research.  IBS Impact once again urges readers to ask their Members of Congress to support this legislation.

Finally, Douglas Drossman, MD, FACG, co-founder and current co-director of the University of North Carolina Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders has recently announced publicly that at the end of 2011, he will be leaving full-time patient care and research at  UNC in order to concentrate on several other goals,  including consulting for other clinicians and newer researchers and leading workshops on the biopsychosocial model, patient-centered care and other subjects related to functional GI disorders. IBS Impact thanks Dr. Drossman for his many decades of commitment to people with functional GI disorders and to establishing the field as a legitimate and viable area of research. We wish him and his Center colleagues well in this transition and success in his new endeavors. The IBS community, both people with IBS and professionals, should support him in his new initiatives so that they bear fruit for our community in the years to come.