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World Digestive Health Day 2017 Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: May/June 2017 - Volume 51 - Issue 5 - p i–ii
doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000000829
WGO News

World Gastroenterology Organisation, 555 East Wells Street, Suite 1100 Milwaukee, WI

The author declares that there is nothing to disclose.

Address correspondence to: James Melberg, World Gastroenterology Organisation, 555 East Wells Street, Suite 1100 Milwaukee, WI 53202 (e-mail:

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IBD is a group of idiopathic chronic inflammatory intestinal conditions. The 2 main disease categories are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which have both overlapping and distinct clinical and pathologic features.

The pathogenesis of IBD is incompletely understood. Genetic and environmental factors such as altered luminal bacteria and enhanced intestinal permeability play a role in the dysregulation of intestinal immunity, leading to gastrointestinal injury. In the absence of knowing definite causes of IBD there are currently several therapies that dampen the aberrant immune response. Some therapies in development are aimed at the gut microbiome. These therapies can range from diet supplements to fecal transplantation. As IBD is increasingly a worldwide disease, 1 challenge will be to determine if therapies proven to be effective in 1 population will be comparably effective in another. Another challenge will be to facilitate access to novel expensive therapies in lesser privileged countries.

The World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) will raise awareness of IBD through its annual public awareness and advocacy campaign, WDHD. WDHD is celebrated each year on May 29th with associated activities and initiatives continuing throughout and beyond the campaign year. WDHD will provide gastroenterologists, their patients and the lay public, with an understanding of the latest basic and clinical research in the pathogenesis, investigation and treatment of IBD. This campaign seeks to translate research into clinical practice and facilitate communication between physicians, pharmacists, allied health professionals, health care payers, and the public. We want to ensure that patients receive appropriate dietary and lifestyle advice as well as appropriate investigations and treatment, relevant to their condition and circumstances. Also, we want to ensure awareness of the disease and its management is raised in countries where IBD is being increasingly and newly diagnosed.

The WGO’s task will be supported by a Steering Committee with a global perspective. The Steering Committee will provide expertise on IBD, guiding the course of the campaign and the development of the educational and training materials, in collaboration with WGO Member Societies, WGO Regional Affiliates, and WGO Training Centers, which will define this global initiative and provide the resources to sustain the effort throughout the year.

Through a multifaceted WDHD 2017 campaign, the WGO seeks to achieve 2 main goals: firstly, to provide simple messages for the general public to assist them in understanding how IBD affects one’s daily life and its importance in one’s health. Secondly, to develop information for health care professionals—both the generalist and the specialist. Multiple informational pieces to include a facts and tips guide on living with IBD for patients and health care professionals in multiple languages, will be distributed worldwide. The WDHD 2017 campaign is titled “Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Navigating Evolving Therapies in an Evolving Disease.”

On behalf of the Chair of WDHD 2017, Charles Bernstein (Canada), WGO President-Elect and Chair of the WGO Foundation, Cihan Yurdaydin (Turkey), WGO Foundation Vice Chair, Richard Hunt (United Kingdom), and the 2017 Steering Committee, Iris Dotan (Israel), Suliman Fedail (Sudan), Richard Gearry (New Zealand), Anne Griffiths (Canada), Saeed Hamid (Pakistan), Toshifumi Hibi (Japan), Siew Ng (Hong Kong), Flavio Steinwurz (Brazil), Simon Travis (United Kingdom), and Jesus-K Yamamoto-Furusho (Mexico), we look forward to a productive and successful campaign in providing a global perspective on IBD.

WGO invites you to organize your own WDHD 2017 event today! Although the official date of WDHD is May 29th, many events are taking place around the globe throughout the year in celebration of WDHD 2017: “Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).” Join WGO in learning about IBD by visiting the WGO website at Continue to check back as further information, tools, and resources will be added throughout the year. Below are some ways that you can promote WDHD in your community.

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  • Host an academic conference or symposium featuring scientific programs, plenaries, poster presentations, forums, etc., on “IBD” topics.
  • Create toolkits for health care professional and the general public.
  • Organize a public awareness campaign and disseminate campaign materials through blogs, podcasts, videos, brochures, etc.
  • Create your own way to take action and support WDHD 2017!
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  • Host a walk-a-thon fundraiser to rally your community in support of WDHD 2017.
  • Generate awareness of IBD by developing a social media campaign.
  • Engage your local media with public service announcements, press releases, radio advertisements, etc.
  • Create your own way to celebrate WDHD 2017!

To request a copy of the WDHD 2017 logo for use in promoting this year’s campaign or to submit event details, please visit Your event will then be placed on the official WDHD 2017 webpage and the WGO “Meetings and Events” calendar. For further information, please e-mail the WGO Secretariat at

Watch for the WGO monthly e-Alert which will provide the latest news and updates, as well as issues of the quarterly e-WGN ( which features summaries of events that are taking place throughout 2017.

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