New Crohn's and Colitis Canada Network unites world-class Canadian healthcare centres

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Network elevates standard of care for Canadians living with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis

Toronto, ON, May 11, 2016 – Crohn's and Colitis Canada proudly introduces the country's first national network of leading Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis patient care and research centres. Promoting Access and Care through Centres of Excellence (PACE) is the largest Canadian collaboration for adults living with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

"PACE unites centres of excellence to combine areas of expertise. It is a bold step forward to close gaps in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis care," says Mina Mawani, President and Chief Executive Officer, Crohn's and Colitis Canada. "Working together, we will reduce chronic steroid use, expand access to inflammatory bowel disease specialists, empower patients and improve long-term outcomes."

The PACE model is unique for Crohn's and colitis care in Canada. PACE will facilitate a combination of independent research and collaborative learning over a four-year period. During the first year, each centre of excellence will drive its own research. The centres will then work collaboratively in order to develop their own competencies in all areas.

Recognizing the current gaps in care, Crohn's and Colitis Canada chose to invest in five centres to support patient care. Together, they selected Dr. Geoffrey Nguyen, Clinician Scientist at Mount Sinai Hospital's Centre of Excellence for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which has one of Canada's largest and most comprehensive multidisciplinary team of IBD clinicians, to spearhead PACE.

"We have the opportunity to better serve the quarter of a million Canadians living with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis," he says. "PACE provides a platform to share and strengthen our knowledge in order to improve patient outcomes."

Dr. Nguyen is also one of the expert clinicians leading the centres in three provinces.

Mount Sinai Hospital, part of Sinai Health System, Toronto ON – Geoffrey Nguyen, MD, PhD, FRCPC

  • Goal: Develop an IBD telemedicine network to deliver timely access to specialized care in remote areas.
  • The centre currently provides both outpatient care and inpatient services to more than 4,700 patients annually.

"Our centre is leveraging the Ontario Telemedicine Network's infrastructure and resources to access remote communities and extend the reach of our specialized care. We see ourselves pioneering this novel technology in the IBD field," says Nguyen.

University of Calgary, Calgary AB – Remo Panaccione, MD, FRCPC

  • Goal: Elevate the consistency of clinical care by standardizing clinical practices and treatments across Canada
  • The IBD Clinic at the University of Calgary has produced over 600 scientific publications and is ranked fifth in the world for academic output

"Our priority is reducing chronic steroid use in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis patients. Three quarters of patients referred to a specialist are on steroid treatment and our work addresses this issue," says Panaccione, a member of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases and Department of Medicine at the Cumming School of Medicine.

University of Alberta, Edmonton AB – Richard Fedorak, MD, FRCPC, FRCP (London), FRSC

  • Goal: Develop clinical care pathways based on the best evidence and expertise
  • The IBD Clinic at the University of Alberta treats approximately 4,000 patients via a multidisciplinary IBD care team, ensuring that each patient has a comprehensive and well-coordinated treatment plan.

"We are introducing technology to integrate best practices into the healthcare system to ensure all patients are getting the best care," says Fedorak.

McMaster University, Hamilton ON – John Marshall, MD, MSc, FRCPC and Dr. Neeraj Narula, MD, FRCPC

  • Goal: Implement an electronic patient platform to monitor a patient's health in between clinic visits, and empower patients.
  • The multidisciplinary IBD Clinic at Hamilton Health Sciences provides comprehensive care for several thousand patients and an intersection between compassionate and cutting edge IBD therapy, and the innovative research of McMaster University's Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute.

"The doctor and patient time is far more productive when patients monitor their own health in between visits," says Marshall. "Empowering patients ultimately leads to better adherence to treatments, informed discussions and improved monitoring of high-risk cases," he adds.

McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), Montreal QC – Alain Bitton, MD, FRCPC

  • Goal: Measure improvements in patient outcomes delivered through the PACE network.
  • The MUHC Inflammatory Bowel Disease Centre boasts dedicated nurses, public education seminars on current Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis topics and trains future IBD leaders through the Advanced IBD fellowship program.

"This level of collaboration will be monumental for IBD care. We are combining data from across the country which allows us to evaluate the success of each PACE network in order to advocate for improved healthcare delivery," says Bitton.

Crohn's and Colitis Canada, along with its partners AbbVie Corporation, Janssen Inc. and Takeda Canada, are investing an initial $2.5 million over four years. Over time, PACE plans to add more centres of excellence to the network and share its findings across IBD healthcare providers to ensure learnings will benefit all Crohn's and colitis patients.

About Crohn's and Colitis Canada

Crohn's and Colitis Canada is the only national, volunteer-based charity focused on finding the cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis and improving the lives of children and adults affected by these chronic diseases. We are one of the top two health charity funders of Crohn's and colitis research in the world, investing over $94 million in research to date. We are transforming the lives of people affected by Crohn's and colitis (the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease) through research, patient programs, advocacy, and awareness. Our Crohn's & Colitis – Make it stop. For life. Campaign will raise $100 million by 2020 to advance our promise.


For more information about PACE and to view interviews with the IBD Centre research leads, please click here.

For more information or to arrange an interview with a representative of Crohn's and Colitis Canada, a research clinician or patient, please contact:

Nic Canning
Smithcom Ltd., Account Manager

Rasheed Clarke
Marketing & Communications coordinator
1-800-387-1479, ext. 215

  • 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.

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