Photo by Adobe Stock, https://cdhf.ca/digestive-disorders/ulcerative-colitis/, Approved for use by CDHF
In the chronic disease space, individuals are set up for success when they are surrounded by a community of support. This can include friends and family, healthcare team members and groups dedicated to providing credible information and support services. The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation (CDHF) is one such group, with a specific focus on supporting individuals living with digestive health conditions.
One of the communities supported by CDHF are individuals living with ulcerative colitis (UC), a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) affecting an estimated 104,000 Canadians1. By providing information and resources, CDHF provides individuals with tools to live their best life, while also connecting them with others in the community managing the same condition.
“I can honestly say working for CDHF has been the most rewarding time of my professional career,” says Jeff Suggitt, CEO, CDHF. “At the end of the day, you know that what we are doing is benefiting individuals who are struggling on a daily basis.”
Just as collaboration is an essential part of managing a chronic condition like UC, it is also the fuel that drives industry partnerships like those between CDHF and Pfizer Canada. While priorities and goals may evolve over time, working together allows both organizations to continually meet their shared objective: supporting the UC community.
“Especially during these challenging times, working together to make sure patients receive the resources they need is as important as ever,” explains Stella Ananthan, Head of Immunology & Inflammation Business Unit, Pfizer Canada. “Our partners at CDHF do exceptional work in creating resources that truly benefit Canadians living with UC, and we are thrilled to have built a relationship in which we are able to co-create and share content together. Improving the UC experience is a constant priority, for both teams.”
To Suggitt, collaboration with industry partners is a trend that is growing stronger, and not slowing down. “What I have seen over the last few years is a commitment to fostering partnerships with industry that focuses on the patient, not the product. This is huge, because through funding from industry partners like Pfizer Canada, organizations like CDHF can continue to design, develop and implement awareness, education and research initiatives in patient communities.”
Beyond the sharing of resources and content co-creation, industry and patient group partners support communities through various aspects of the condition management journey. “Without the pharmaceutical industry and its relentless dedication to research and bringing new innovative treatments to market, patients with UC would not be benefiting from the advancements in treatment, and therefore the options they and their physicians have to manage their condition,” says Suggitt.
Ananthan agrees. “Treatment is just one part of the picture. Joining an empowered and educated community is also vital to patients managing their illness,” she says. “Research, development, and psychosocial support: these are all important parts of a complete path forward for patients living with a chronic condition.”
Looking beyond 2020, Suggitt sees research and education continuing to play a critical role in supporting the UC community, and he believes all parties must be involved in these initiatives. “Charities, industry and patients themselves – it’s important for everybody to be at the table.”
THE IMPACT OF INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE IN CANADA 2012 Final Report and Recommendations. Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada. Accessed at: http://www.crohnsandcolitis.ca/Crohns_and_Colitis/documents/reports/ccfc-ibd-impact-report-2012.pdf.