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Leading GI Organizations Announce Funding to Improve Vaccine Utilization and Preventive Health Maintenance in Patients with IBD

The programs explore and address gaps in vaccine utilization and/or communication among providers and IBD patients.

New York, New York, March 8, 2019 – The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (Foundation), in partnership with Pfizer, Inc., have announced the results of a request for proposal (RFP) to address vaccine utilization, promote health maintenance, and increase preventive care services in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). 

“Applicants were encouraged to design programs or initiatives that explore or address gaps in vaccine utilization and/or communication amongst providers related to the RFP topic,” noted Francis A. Farraye, MD, MSc, FACG, AGAF, Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Boston Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, who chairs the steering committee for the partnership between ACG, AGA, and the Foundation. “These projects were selected for their potential to overcome barriers by helping to identify and establish best practices around improving vaccine utilization and preventive health maintenance for patients with IBD. The selected projects also have the potential to be easily replicated, broadly disseminated, and widely adopted within the IBD community.” 

The total funding related to this RFP is over $1 million, made possible through Pfizer Global Medical Grants. The awarded projects are:

Improving Vaccine Utilization and Preventive Health Maintenance in IBD 
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Project lead: Gil Y. Melmed, MD, FACG, AGAF 

  • This proposal seeks to understand barriers to the uptake of preventive health measures among patients with IBD through patient focus groups; develop dynamic web-based interventions, including an interactive web site with animated video content, to overcome those challenges; and then test those interventions with a randomized, controlled trial in IBD Partners Patient-Powered Research Network. The primary outcome will be influenza vaccination uptake; secondary outcomes will include uptake of other recommendations including pneumococcal and zoster vaccination, bone health assessment, and skin cancer screening. If successful, these interventions will be freely promoted to optimize uptake in existing patient-education sites including You&IBD, IBD&Me, and IBD Partners. 

Streamlining Preventive Health for Patients with IBD Through Effective Care Models, Evidence-based Guidelines, and Patient Engagement 
CME Outfitters LLC 
Project lead: Miguel D. Regueiro, MD, FACG, AGAF, Cleveland Clinic

  • As part of the project to improve patient health, vaccination rates, and preventive services, educational interventions to health care professionals (HCPs) and patients are essential for change. Outside the clinic, digital health coaching presents the opportunity to supplement and support patient education, reinforcing the need to complete all necessary vaccinations among a group of 100 patients. Patient reported outcomes and feedback will be collected to assess improvements in vaccination and preventive health literacy, improvements in communication with providers, and shared decision-making. 

Leveraging Digital Reporting and Shared Decision Making to Improve Vaccination and Preventive Health Maintenance in IBD
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Project Lead: Ashish Atreja, MD, MPH

  • The project goal is to develop and validate the use of patient-centered digital medicine technology to improve vaccination rates and preventive health compliance among IBD patients by developing a comprehensive intervention that includes self-assessment tracking as well as shared decision making. The overarching aim is to create a digital vaccination module for IBD patients and content for provider workshops that can serve as a freely available national resource for IBD centers, IBD practitioners, national organizations, and patients.

The projects were selected by an RFP steering committee representing key stakeholders, including gastroenterologists, an advanced practice provider, and an IBD patient: Francis A. Farraye, MD, MSc, FACG, AGAF (chair), Jean-Paul Achkar, MD, FACG, Kalee Eichelberger, Joseph D. Feuerstein, MD, Sunanda V. Kane, MD, FACG, AGAF, Geoffrey C. Nguyen, MD, PhD, AGAF,  and Ashley Perkovic, APN, FNP-BC. 

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Media contact: Aimee Frank,, 301-941-2620


American College of Gastroenterology
Founded in 1932, the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) is an organization with an international membership of over 14,000 individuals from 85 countries. The College’s vision is to be the pre-eminent professional organization that champions the evolving needs of clinicians in the delivery of high-quality, evidence-based and compassionate health care to gastroenterology patients. The mission of the College is to advance world-class care for patients with gastrointestinal disorders through excellence, innovation and advocacy in the areas of scientific investigation, education, prevention and treatment.

American Gastroenterological Association
The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to more than 16,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization.

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is the largest non-profit, voluntary, health organization dedicated to finding cures for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The Foundation’s mission is to cure Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults who are affected by these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research; providing educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public; and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD. For more information visit call 888-694-8872, or email

Pfizer Global Medical Grants (GMG)
The mission of Pfizer Global Medical Grants (GMG) is to partner with the global healthcare community to improve patient outcomes in areas of mutual interest through support of measurable learning and change strategies. “Independent” means that the projects funded by Pfizer are the full responsibility of the recipient organization.  Pfizer has no influence over any aspect of the projects and only asks for reports about the results and the impact of the projects to share them publicly.


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