Task Force

On March 12, 2020, the Scientific and Medical Advisory Council and COVID-19 Task Force of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada met via teleconference to discuss how people living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and their caregivers should manage their disease in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada has made these recommendations for two reasons:
  1. To reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the general population.
  2. To directly protect the most vulnerable people, including the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. Patients with IBD on medications that suppress the immune system (immunosuppressive) may be at risk for more severe infection.
The COVID-19 IBD Task Force includes:
Members Institution
Mina Mawani,  B.Comm, MHSc.HA President & CEO, Crohn's and Colitis Canada
Gil Kaplan, MD, MPH, FRCPC (Chair, SMAC) Professor of Medicine, University of Calgary Adult Gastroenterologist & Epidemiologist
Eric Benchimol, MD, PhD, FRCPC
(Chair-Elect, SMAC)
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Ottawa Pediatric Gastroenterologist, CHEO IBD Centre 
Usha Chauhan, NP (Member, SMAC) Nurse Practitioner at McMaster University Medical Centre, GI clinic CANIBD Co-founder and Steering Committee Member
Jean-Eric Ghia, PhD (Member, SMAC) Associate Professor, Department of Immunology, Department of Internal Medicine Section of Gastroenterology, University of Manitoba
Director, Gastrointestinal Basic Biology Research, IBD Clinical & Research Centre Children Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba
Deanna Gibson, PhD (Member, SMAC) Associate Professor, Biology
University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus
Anne Griffiths, MD, FRCPC (Member, SMAC) Professor, Paediatrics, University of Toronto Chair, SickKids Research Institute
Northbridge Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Director of the IBD Program, The Hospital for Sick Children
Jennifer Jones, MD, MSc, FRCPC (Member, SMAC) Associate Professor
Departments of Medicine & Clinical Health and Epidemiology Team Lead, Multidisciplinary IBD Clinical & Research Program Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre
Dalhousie University
Reena Khanna, MD, MSc, FRCPC (Member, SMAC) Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Western Ontario Clinician Researcher in the Program for Experimental Medicine
David Mack, MD, FRCPC (Member, SMAC) Professor and Chief, Department of Pediatrics, University of Ottawa Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute
Laura Targownik,MD, MSHS, FRCPC
(Member, SMAC)
Associate Professor of Medicine
Departmental Division Director (Gastroenterology), University of Toronto Chair for Diversity and Equity, Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Staff Gastroenterologist, Mount Sinai Hospital
Lisa Barrett, MD, PhD, FRCPC Lisa Barrett MD PhD FRCPC
Clinician Scientist, Infectious Diseases NSHA/Dalhousie University
Marc Bradette, MD, FRCPC, CSPQ Universite Laval
Charles Bernstein, MD, FRCPC Distinguished Professor of Medicine Head, Section of Gastroenterology
Program Director, Gastroenterology Postgraduate Training Program
Director, University of Manitoba Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinical and Research Centre University of Manitoba
Sharyle Fowler, MD, FRCPC Assistant Professor, Gastroenterology and Hepatology University of Saskatchewan
Peter Lakatos, MD Director of IBD Centre
McGill University Health Centre Professor, Department of Medicine McGill University
John Marshall, MD, MSc, FRCPC, AGAF Professor, Department of Medicine Director, Division of Gastroenterology McMaster University
Remo Panaccione, MD, FRCPC Professor, Department of Medicine Director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic Director, Gastrointestinal Research University of Calgary
Sandra Zelinsky Patient Advisor

Dr Benchimol and Dr Kaplan photos

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  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.