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Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program Further Advances Hoag’s Digestive Health Excellence

Patients with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, and microscopic colitis live with their conditions their whole lives. To help them live healthy lives, they require comprehensive, ongoing care by a compassionate team of dedicated experts.

Already a national leader in digestive health, Hoag launched the Margolis Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Program last year – thanks to the generosity of the Margolis family – to give patients with these complex conditions access to world-class care in a community hospital setting. When Hoag tapped Caroline Hwang, M.D., to lead the IBD Program, the hospital found a passionate, nationally renowned physician leader.

In Hoag, Dr. Hwang said she found a “dream team” dedicated to its patients.

“IBD centers are largely found at academic institutions. Hoag has demonstrated a commitment to bring the positive aspects of an academic IBD program – cutting edge research, comprehensive care and clinical trials of promising therapies – to the community where patients can access them conveniently,” said Dr. Hwang, who is board-certified in gastroenterology and a recognized expert in the field of inflammatory bowel disease.

“The key for these patients is having a team committed to their comprehensive care. From day one, Hoag gives patients access to a nurse navigator who helps guide them through all aspects of their care and a dedicated dietitian,” she said. “These elements demonstrate Hoag’s commitment to successful long-term outcomes for our patients.”

Someone managing IBD requires a host of specialists. A distinctive feature of Hoag’s program is that it brings together this multidisciplinary team of gastroenterologists, surgeons, rheumatologists, radiologists, pathologists and others who meet regularly to discuss complex cases and establish a comprehensive approach. The IBD program also provides patients with access to clinical trials, including several of promising new drugs.

“Through a team-based, multidisciplinary approach, we work with patients to develop a customized treatment plan, addressing the medical, nutritional, and psychosocial challenges patients face with these diseases,” she said. “We are also committed to research efforts to find new treatments and eventually a cure.”

Hoag’s comprehensive approach includes adjunct care, such as acupuncture and stress management, which helps many patients gain control over triggers for their disease flare ups. Prevention is a key component of GI care at Hoag, and Dr. Hwang’s career-long focus on the role of nutrition in IBD outcomes and responses to therapies attracted her to Hoag’s program.

“Hoag recognized that IBD can be difficult to manage in a single gastroenterologists’ office. It’s a disease that is marked by flare ups of disease activity. Patients can be doing well and then all of a sudden develop abdominal pain, diarrhea, things that interfere with people’s ability to work and function,” she said.

IBD affects an estimated 3 million Americans. According the CDC, adults with IBD are more likely to have certain chronic health conditions including cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, cancer, arthritis, kidney disease and liver disease.

The COVID-19 pandemic has added an additional layer of difficulty for many patients with IBD, who may be on immunosuppressive drugs to keep their symptoms in check. Hoag’s program provides patients with the access to the care they need safely and reliably during these uncertain times.

“I consider myself lucky that I can focus on this one disease and share the latest research with my patients every day,” Dr. Hwang said. “It is my passion and to be able to spend time with patients and go over their concerns. It’s my honor to do this work.”

For more information, call 888-574-8029.