You quickly recognize a pattern when listening to members of the IBD community talk about Dr. Remo Panaccione. Along with his colleagues from across the country, people living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis and their loved ones consistently and passionately describe him as attentive, proactive, and patient-centered. It is for these reasons and many more that Dr. Panaccione is the recipient of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s 2020 Physician of the Year Award.
Dr. Panaccione shows a steadfast commitment to people taking on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by advocating on their behalf to ensure they have access to the latest evidence-based information and receive the very best care. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Panaccione has contributed his knowledge and expertise as a member of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s COVID-19 Task Force
. He is also Co-Chair of Meeting of the Minds, a national conference that unites IBD healthcare providers and researchers to learn and share the latest clinical and research advancements.
To Dr. Panaccione, being a physician is a privilege: “Patients and their families let you into their lives and lend you their trust. Helping patients navigate through difficult times and seeing that you can improve not only their illness, but also their lives, is rewarding.”
When Dr. Panaccione meets with people who are newly diagnosed with Crohn’s or colitis, he always communicates the future is bright. “Although it may not seem like it in the moment, tomorrow will be better than today,” says Dr. Panaccione. “There is so much research into IBD taking place, and so much hope for the future. The key is for patients to work with their healthcare providers to identify the best therapies for them, as we move closer to the next breakthrough, and YES even the cure.”
Beyond his own clinical practice, Dr. Panaccione wears many hats in shaping the future of IBD research and health care. In addition to serving as the Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic and Director of Gastroenterology Research at the University of Calgary, Dr. Panaccione is the Dean of Admissions and a Professor of Medicine at the Cumming School of Medicine. He is deeply invested in sharing his passion for medicine and inspiring the next generation of physicians.
For students considering a career in medicine, Dr. Panaccione shares, “Pursue something that you love and have a passion for. Do not forget that medicine is a vocation and you are here to serve the patient. Be your best so that you can be the best for those you treat.”
As Physician of the Year, Dr. Panaccione has clearly made his mark in the field of IBD, and he will continue to do so for years to come.