DDW News


DDW® 2023 from a Patient’s Perspective: Unleashing the Power of Knowledge

This article was written by Kimberly Hooks and was originally published on kimberlymhooks.com. Read more to learn about her experience attending the 2023 meeting as a patient advocate. Kimberly is a devoted IBD advocate and the Host Ambassador with Color of Crohn’s and Chronic Illness (COCCI), a nonprofit organization focused on enhancing the quality of life for minorities battling IBD and related chronic illnesses. She can be found on Twitter @kimberlymhooks and Instagram @kimberlymhooks.

Registration for next year’s meeting will open in January 2024.


As I sit here, eager to share my recent experience attending Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) 2023 in the vibrant city of Chicago, I am filled with overwhelming excitement. As an IBD patient who struggled for years with their diagnosis and to be honest, still trying to figure things out, moments like these reaffirm the power of knowledge and the significance of events like DDW.

For those unfamiliar with Digestive Disease Week, let me tell you — it’s an absolute game-changer! DDW is the largest gathering of healthcare professionals, researchers and patients in the world, focused on the latest breakthroughs in gastroenterology. With cutting-edge research presentations, hands-on workshops and an inspiring atmosphere, DDW has proven to be an instrumental platform for propelling medical advancements and empowering individuals living with chronic digestive diseases.

The highlight of DDW 2023 was witnessing groundbreaking research presentations on IBD and related chronic illnesses. Renowned experts passionately shared their findings, giving us fresh hope and insights for better management and treatment options. For someone like me, who has experienced the challenges of living with Ulcerative Colitis, I was so grateful to attend this amazing event!

AGA IBD Patient Influencers (L-R) Kimberly Hooks, Carlos Cabrera, Shonda Berry, Michelle Pickens, Demi Ricario
AGA IBD Patient Influencers (L-R) Kimberly Hooks, Carlos Cabrera, Shonda Berry, Michelle Pickens, Demi Ricario

Beyond the scientific sessions, DDW 2023 emphasized the significance of community and support. I made several connections on social media with other IBD warriors, and meeting my fellow IBD advocates in person felt so surreal!

Community is everything when it comes to the IBD space. It was a pleasure connecting with https://cocci.org, https://girlswithguts.org and https://www.southasianibd.org . Each amazing organization is making a significant impact by fostering a supportive network, offering educational resources, and promoting advocacy efforts for the IBD community! As IBD patients, together, we can overcome challenges and strive towards a brighter future for everyone living with IBD!

Attending DDW 2023 was an unforgettable experience, from attending AGA Gastro Squad Ambassador meet-up to the incredible Poster Hall sessions! Also, it was very impactful attending the Medscape Mix & Mingle event and the Color of Crohn’s and Chronic Illnesses session to discuss what’s new in healthcare and ways to impact IBD minority patients better.

As someone living with IBD, this was an incredible opportunity to stay up-to-date with the latest breakthroughs and connect with experts in the field.

Together, we can be the change we wish to see in the IBD community and beyond. Let us inspire and be inspired, for knowledge is power, and with it, we can conquer and obstacle that comes our way.

Thank you, American Gastroenterological Association, for the unforgettable patient experience and the opportunity to participate in the AGA IBD Influencer Program! To be able to experience DDW 2023 as a patient was truly amazing!

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