acceptance,  advocacy,  awareness,  colorectal cancer,  Colorectal Surgery,  coping with flares,  Crohn's,  living with IBD,  Ostomy,  stigma,  Ulcerative Colitis

IBD Awareness Week Line-Up: Diversity, Mental Health & More!

Today kicks off Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week! The lead-up to this week has included my (very exciting!) feature on the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s website for general IBD awareness and for racial and ethnic minorities. I also had the honor of sharing my IBD story with reporters from various media outlets who attended the Foundation’s briefing this past week.

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(Courtesy of Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, from left to right: Michael Osso, Jose Torres, Tina Aswani Omprakash, Gaylyn Henderson, Stephanie Hughes, Dr. Brent Polk & Laura Wingate)

In discussing my story, I talked about the cultural impact of being a minority woman with Crohn’s Disease and a permanent ostomy. Being a different race, gender, sexuality and/or ethnicity adds a whole other layer of complexity to the IBD experience. I really wanted to bring to light how complicated our struggle really is. To name a few things, I discussed the following:

  • The privacy concerns with regard to sharing our stories as minorities
  • The clash between Eastern vs. Western medicine, including holistic practices and diet to treat IBD
  • Straddling my South Asian heritage with my American upbringing: (1) Questioning my definition of success and (2) Understanding the value of humanism in my IBD experience.

Over the upcoming weeks, I will be sharing these aspects of my story with you all via blog posts, videos, Instagram live chats, etc., to bring greater awareness to the minority experience with IBD!

Please also mark your calendars for the following Awareness Week events as sponsored by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation!!!

December 1: General IBD & mental health

December 2: Men & IBD

December 3: Women & IBD

December 4: LGBTQ people & IBD

December 5: Minorities & IBD

December 6: Advocacy 

December 7: Pediatric & Older Adults

  • Facebook Chat: December 3, 8 p.m. EST about women & IBD with Dr. Anita Afzali (Ohio State University), Girls With Guts President Alicia Aiello, and Natalie Hayden
  • Twitter Chat: December 4, 8 p.m. EST cohosted with Mental Health America discussing mental health & chronic illness. Participants include Dr. Tiffany Taft (Oak Park Behavioral Medicine), Aaron Blocker, and Keri Flaccomio
  • Instagram Live: December 6, Minorities & IBD, Tina Aswani Omprakash & Shawn Bethea

Looking forward to celebrating Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week with you all!

~Love, light & peace always~

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My name is Tina and I am from the NYC area. Due to the severity of my Crohn's, multiple surgeries and extraintestinal manifestations, I have served as a case study for a number of renowned doctors and surgeons across the country. I hope that my advocacy work and the medical research done on me help current and future populations of IBD patients. In a world where the #metoo movement has erupted, I believe it is high time for patients like myself to speak up about the ravaging aspects of chronic illness and disability. The intent of this blog is to give those suffering in silence and in shame a voice that creates greater awareness and acceptance of our daily struggles. I own my chronic illnesses and disabilities and my goal is for you to as well!