Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week From a Minority’s Perspective

Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week From a Minority’s Perspective
I’ve been active in my new role as a Color of Crohn’s & Chronic Illness (COCCI) ambassador for a couple of weeks now. This week has been especially busy. In 2011, the U.S. Senate officially recognized Dec. 1-7 as Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week. The three goals of Senate Resolution 199 are to find a cure for Crohn’s and colitis, to raise awareness about inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and to support research for improving IBD treatments and finding a cure. The week recognizes and supports IBD patients and appreciates the family members, caregivers, healthcare providers, and researchers who help them battle their disease. As a COCCI ambassador, my mission during Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week has been to focus on being a person of color with IBD each day. Dec. 1, 2: Am I the face of IBD? During the first two days, I shared my perspective as a minority of a disease that affects mainly white people. Kaiser Permanente Northern California reported that the ethnic breakdown of its IBD patients was 66.5% Caucasian, 12% Hispanic, 8% Asian, 6.9% Black, and 6.7% multiracial, other races, or unknown ethnicity. Most IBD studies have focused on Caucasians or don’t take ethnicity into account. A 2017 meta-analysis in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology discovered that the 525,425 IBD patients observed were 65% Caucasian, 30% Asian, 2% Hispanic, and 1% Black. Although the proportion of Caucasian participants is close to those covered by Kaiser, the breakdown of minority patients is disproportionate. This makes me wonder how effective treatments may be for minority patients, especially if genetics is involved. Also, I’ve noticed that whether I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, sitting at the infusion clinic, or getting a col
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