Community Health Leaders
Last updated: May 2023
In order to stay up to date on latest treatments, drug discovery, clinical studies and how to manage IBS everyday IrritableBowelSyndrome.net brings you frequent articles, blogs, points of view and advice from leading health leaders and professional medical experts.
Current health leaders
Elizabeth Alvarez, 30, was diagnosed with IBS and Crohn’s Disease in 2011. She was 21 years old and endured many years of suffering with severe abdominal cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stool, anemia, weight loss, fever, eye infection, joint pain, mouth sores, hair loss, anxiety attacks, the works. Read more.
Tiziana Boaro, 32, has been diagnosed with IBS in July 2021. After a year and a half of struggling with severe abdominal cramping, bloating, discomfort and feeling inadequate in any social situation that lead to anxiety, depression and loneliness. Read more.
Mara Bosloy first noticed digestive issues at age 10 when the salmon she had at dinner in Disney World gave her quite the rollercoaster (and she's been sensitive to salmon ever since). Read more.
Larah Brook is an IBS sufferer, who lives in Australia with her husband and daughters. After experiencing IBS for many years, Larah is now enjoying a symptoms free life most of the time, and can again find pleasure in food and eating out with family and friends. Read more.
Lisa has written on health and healthcare for 25 years, first as a business journalist and currently as a digital marketing strategist. She holds an M.S.J. in journalism from Northwestern University and a B.A. in English from Case Western Reserve University. Read more.
Having taken turns writing for radio and reference books, then cranking out an unbearably serious first novel—Kim Dolce is now exploring the lighter side of life: Coping with IBS and multiple sclerosis. Read more.
Emily is a master certified life coach, health educator, and professional medical writer, who is passionate about empowering people to be their own health advocate and enjoy life with more peace and joy. Read more.
Sarah Glinski, RD
Sarah is a Registered Dietitian based in Canada. She lives in Edmonton with her husband and two cats. Growing up in rural Australia and the Northwest Territories while living with her own digestive issues was what initially sparked her interest in science and nutrition. It was often difficult to access the healthcare services she needed because of her remote location. Read more.
Shannon Grantham knew something was different with her at a young age. She always had problems with food. It did not matter what she ate, or if she ate at all. Either way, she tended to always be in the bathroom. Read more.
Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE
Melissa is a nationally recognized nutrition educator and speaker, Registered Dietitian and wellness expert. Advocating for balanced nutrition at all ages and a healthy lifestyle, Melissa aims to “practice what she preaches” in her everyday life. Read more.
Todd is a mental health and addictions counselor who hails from Southeastern Pennsylvania. He was recently diagnosed with IBS and intends to apply all that he has learned through years in Recovery to his newest mountain to climb. Read more
Karina is a freelance writer, translator, and blogger. She was diagnosed with IBS shortly after finishing University, and it changed her outlook on life. In the first years of her career, she struggled to find a balance between accepting her condition and leading a normal life. Read more.
Marci Kallick is a patient advocate who believes we all, as patients, must stand up and protect our health through education. After her own personal experience not getting the answers she was seeking, she turned to resources online such as Health Union and its’ community sites for support. Through community and informational websites, patients are able to take control of their own health journey, lessening the grip illness has on their daily lives. Read more.
Laura Kiesel is a Boston area freelance writer who has authored articles on health for many publications, including Healthline, Vice, Self, Headspace, the Guardian and Harvard Health blog. She was diagnosed with IBS at age 20, and has several other diagnoses, including interstitial cystitis, endometriosis, and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Read more.
Sawyer Matheny is a 24-year-old graduate from the University at Buffalo with a BFA in Theatre Performance. Acting is more than just a hobby for him, it’s been a life-long goal. He has dedicated most of his life, from a young age, to the arts. Sitting still has never come easy, so every day would consist of some sort of creative endeavor wherein at the end, he could look back and feel accomplished at what he had done. Read more.
Meredith McGovern first realized there was something different about her stomach as a tween, going through periods of seemingly random lactose intolerance and constipation. It wasn’t until her twenties that she was officially diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a relief after years of embarrassing situations and unrelenting stomach pains. Read more.
Michaela Pace is an NYC-based actress and artist. Born in Cortland, she went to school at the University at Buffalo to study theatre. After graduating in 2019, she landed her first professional job working on a Paramount film that was being shot there. Read more.
Amy Dodd Pilkington
Amy Dodd Pilkington has experienced symptoms of a digestive disorder for as long as she can remember. She had her first colonoscopy at the age of three and had two more during her teen years. After several years of seeking answers, she finally received a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome at the age of 19. Read more.
Cambria graduated from WSU with a degree in Rhetoric & Professional Writing and a certificate in Editing & Publishing. Currently, she is getting her master's degree in Library Science from a university in Ireland. Read more.
Former health leaders
Joanna Baker is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and a Registered Nurse with over 20 years’ experience in healthcare. Read more.
Glenda is a Registered Nutritionist, neuroscientist, wellness coach and educator who helps people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome to live a less irritable life. Read more.
Jo has lived with IBS on-and-off for 13 years. In a bid to take control and raise awareness around gut health, she started blogging about her journey, the anxiety it brings and how sometimes, it’s a struggle to leave the house. Read more.
Catie Duckworth was diagnosed with IBS at 21 while in college. After years of struggling to manage her symptoms due to a stressful work environment, Catie moved to Boston to pursue a career in the food industry. She earned a Certificate in Culinary Arts and an MA in Gastronomy at Boston University. Read more.
Meredith has lived with IBS and endometriosis for years, finally in 2015 she was diagnosed with SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). After many rounds of treatment with SIBO and trying different types of diets such as low FODMAP and the SIBO biphasic diet, Meredith realized there wasn't one particular treatment protocol that suited her, so she tailored her diet to her individual needs, which lead to her developing her own recipes. Read more.
A native Texan raised on all things garlic and onion, Sarah Hackley considered it a challenge to adapt her diet after being diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome in 2017. Now, she likes to share tips and tricks for making low-FODMAP flavorful with other patients online. Read more.
Andrea is a Registered Dietitian and popular Nutrition Blogger from Calgary, Alberta. Her private practice Ignite Nutrition Inc. provides focused online nutrition counseling for functional gut disorders, including IBS, as well as celiac, IBD, fatty liver disease, and unusual allergies and food intolerances. Read more.
Stephanie worked at Health Union - the parent company of IrritableBowelSyndrom.net - as a Director of Community Development where she managed the COPD.net and CrohnsDisease.com communities. But in her personal life, she has been managing IBS since adolescence. Read more
Dr. Payal Maharaj
I am a scientist, food blogger, photographer and outdoor enthusiast; I was diagnosed with IBS in 2020. The IBS diagnosis was a big shock. Not only was it unexpected but I had not heard of this condition before. It started off with abdominal pains here and there which I would try to resolve with antacids or other over-the-counter medications. Slowly and surely, I began to experience painful symptoms. Read more.
Ally was diagnosed with IBS in 2011 at the age of 22. IBS changed her life, therefore she wanted to bring awareness to the condition and become a patient advocate for all women dealing with this debilitating syndrome. Read more.
Lisa Pearl McIntosh
As a life-long member of the IBS crew, Lisa was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia at the age of 17 and has struggled with the combination ever since. Interestingly enough, the universe decided that her life needed a little bit more color and in recent years Lisa was diagnosed with general anxiety and borderline personality disorder. Read more.
Neilanjan ‘Neil’ Nandi
Multiple life encounters gave shape to Dr. Nandi’s interests where he has dedicated his career to the management, research and education of those afflicted with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s & Ulcerative Colitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Read more.
After completing a degree in business, Hannah worked for many years in the corporate and non-profit world before realizing in her 30’s that her health and ongoing digestive issues were deteriorating. After working with different practitioners and trying different natural health methods, Hannah’s health improved, but after being unable to fully resolve her digestive issues, she was diagnosed with IBS. Read more
Becky is a health and wellness writer and editor who was diagnosed with IBS at age 19, following a giardia infection. This fueled her desire to learn more about both the brain-gut connection and health and wellness issues in general. Read more.
Hessiel (or Hess P) is a writer and a patient advocate who was born and raised in Massachusetts and lives with his wife, Ashli. Dealing with GI issues dating back to 2009, Hess sought help from countless doctors and GI specialists to figure out what was wrong until he was eventually diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome in 2014. Read more.
Dr. Megan Riehl
Dr. Megan Riehl, a prominent GI psychologist at University of Michigan who has lectured extensively around the country in the area of psychogastroenterology and is considered a leader in her field. Her clinical expertise spans the field of gastroenterology from patients with motility disorders like IBS, to those with chronic gastrointestinal diseases like Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Celiac Disease. Read more.
TK Sellman, RPSGT CCSH is a career journalist (Columbia Chicago, ’90). She was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia in 2010, which inspired her to go back to school to become a sleep technologist in 2012 and a professional sleep educator in 2014. Her IH diagnosis was later abandoned when her neurologist in Seattle confirmed RRMS was to blame for her continual fatigue, as well as other symptoms of relapse (tremor, migraine, and tinnitus). Read more.
Dr. Megan Taylor practices integrative primary care and naturopathic gastroenterology for adults and children with digestive complaints, allergies, and autoimmune disease in Seattle, WA. Dr. Taylor earned her doctorate in naturopathic medicine from National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR, graduating with honors. Read more.
Sarah has lived with IBS-D since the age of 19. After trying out many different dietary methods to control her symptoms, she found some relief with the FODMAP diet. Read more.
Marisa Lauren Troy
Marisa was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease, when she was 13 years old. After keeping her disease a secret from everyone but her immediate family for 12 years, she finally felt comfortable sharing who she really was with the world. Read more.
Diagnosed as a school-aged child, Tori has been inspired by her experience living with IBS and working in the healthcare setting as nurse to become a IBS patient advocate. Her goal is to help those who are discouraged with their IBS, and to bring more awareness of this disorder. Read more.
Caitlin is a qualified Naturopath with a passion for helping people who are suffering from IBS reduce symptoms, find the cause and reduce their pain so they spend less time in the bathroom and more time living their life to the fullest. Read more.
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