The gastroenterology team at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its multidisciplinary Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Center, the first stand-alone center of its kind in the region and one of few in the nation. It serves a high volume of patients and has a dynamic research program of over 25 active clinical trials and research studies.
“Our goal is to optimize disease management,” says IBD Center director Anita Afzali, MD. “Having one central location has provided a host of benefits. The most obvious is convenient access for patients, but having a single space with a full range of resources for research, diagnosis and treatment has fueled some incredible collaboration—the kind that can really transform a patient’s life in remarkable ways, because IBD and related conditions can be so disruptive.”
“Our direct, in-person collaboration between specialists can happen even while the patient is still on-site, and our shared decision-making supports treatment of the ‘whole patient’ rather than just a single aspect of these conditions,” she adds.
At the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center's IBD Center, gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons work in tandem with other health care specialists to ensure truly comprehensive care. Teamwork extends to specific sub-clinics and programs that have been established to support common patient conditions or challenges that frequently occur with an IBD diagnosis:
- Gut and joint clinic – an on-site rheumatologist is available to address common joint involvement
- Pouch clinic – motility and pelvic floor experts provide patient assessments and support preparation and recovery from J-pouch surgery
- Women’s health clinic – maternal and fetal medicine specialists help patients navigate unique concerns related to pregnancy, fertility, sexual health and menopause
- Pediatric-to-adult transition program – empowers teens to take ownership of their disease and treatment while reassuring their caregivers that they will be successful as they transition from care at Nationwide Children’s Hospital
- Formal nutrition education – free, one-hour sessions led by a dietitian help improve the overall nutritional status of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis patients
- IBD urgent referral clinic – for patients who have an unpredictable disease course or complexities that require urgent consultation services. Referred patients are seen within three days after initial discussion between referring office and Dr. Afzali.
In addition to the specialists mentioned above, the IBD Center at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center also relies on dermatologists, ophthalmologists, pharmacists, clinical psychologists, social workers, registered nurses, medical assistants and patient navigators—all of whom share a passion and commitment to all-inclusive, individualized patient care. Dr. Afzali also emphasizes the parallel importance of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s investigatory drug research and participation with national organizations that promote education and awareness, including the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
“We are determined to find that next breakthrough and, hopefully, one day a cure,” she says.
Information about currently active IBD clinical trials at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center can be found here. As principal investigator, Dr. Afzali welcomes early contact to ensure patients are not excluded because of previous treatments tried, and she welcomes general questions about the IBD Center or the referral process. She can be reached at Anita.Afzali@osumc.edu.