U.S. Congress Launches Caucus on Crohn’s and Colitis

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U.S. Capitol Building
photo courtesy of David Iliff, CC BY-SA 3.0
Advocacy for inflammatory bowel disease took a step forward last week with the introduction of a Congressional Crohn’s and Colitis Caucus. Launched and chaired by Congressmen Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and Jesse L. Jackson Jr. (D-IL), the caucus will undertake a variety of efforts to address Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, together known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The goals are to foster awareness of IBD, promote the need for expanded research at the National Institute of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and affirm the importance of accessible insurance and disability coverage for IBD patients.

According to a press release from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), the two congressmen are inviting their Congressional colleagues to become members of the new caucus.

“As a parent of a child with Crohn’s and colitis, I have witnessed first-hand the often debilitating effects of this disease,” Congressman Crenshaw stated. “Alongside Congressman Jackson, I am continuing to help raise much-needed awareness about issues related to Crohn’s and colitis—across party lines.”

Reps. Jackson and Crenshaw are no strangers to Crohn’s and colitis efforts. Rep. Jackson introduced the IBD Research and Awareness Act in the 111th congress, for which Rep. Crenshaw was a co-sponsor. Both congressmen have also participated in the CCFA’s IBD Day on the Hill, an annual two-day advocacy campaign that brings patients and their families from all around the country to visit their representatives in Washington DC and gather support on Capitol Hill. This year it will take place on May 25-26. Please visit the CCFA web site for more information on IBD Day and other advocacy projects.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic inflammatory diseases that affect the digestive system, causing severe cramping and diarrhea, intestinal pain and bleeding, weight loss, and a variety of other symptoms and complications. Of the 1.4 million Americans afflicted, approximately ten percent are children. There is no known cure for IBD. Although there are medications and surgical options that can help, these illnesses can have a devastating impact on patients and their families.

Healthline offers a host of resources on Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. For more insight and coping strategies for living with IBD, please visit our Crohn’s & Colitis Corner

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Tags: Advocacy (Making a Difference)

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Andrew Tubesing is an acclaimed advocate and humorist on the subject of inflammatory bowel disease.

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