In this episode of the AGA podcast, Small Talk, Big Topics, hosts Drs. Matthew Whitson and CS Tse interview Dr. David Rubin, professor and chief of the section of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at the University of Chicago. The conversation takes place just after the 2021 Crohn’s & Colitis Congress, of which Dr. Rubin served as co-chair, and focuses in large part on the congress and its importance for the field of gastroenterology. Matthew and CS talk with Dr. Rubin about events of this year’s virtual Congress, his own mentors, the relation between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and COVID-19, what is on the horizon of IBD treatment, and more!
As the conversation gets underway, Dr. Rubin introduces himself and the Crohn’s & Colitis Congress. The Congress is a joint project of AGA and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, and this year’s meeting — held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — provided research updates, networking opportunities and career development. The meeting was centered on several themes, the first of which was the pandemic. In general, Dr. Rubin says, COVID-19 outcomes for patients with IBD are not worse than those of the general population, with the only exceptions pertaining to individuals on certain medications. Further, he addresses concerns over therapy continuity through the pandemic, and advises IBD patients to receive their COVID-19 vaccine whenever possible.
Besides COVID-19, the Congress covered a variety of other topics, such as advances in clinical care. These include emerging tools for monitoring based on objective measures, as well as new medications and fine-tuned ways of using existing medications. Dr. Rubin explains how clinicians need to combine science and art to counter both misinformation and a cultural trend that trusts too much in anecdotes. He further shares insight on IBD and pediatrics, the concept of wellness, diet and its impact on the microbiome, and several other topics the meeting sessions covered. Listeners can still access Congress recordings, and Dr. Rubin encourages them — whether advanced or early in their careers — to get involved in such GI community opportunities as this to learn, network and collaborate. In closing, he passes on wisdom he has received to young gastroenterologists and trainees, and explains why listeners should not adhere to dogma.
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