News and Announcements

Regis Panel Examines Diverticulitis and Crohn’s Disease

November 6, 2013

Disorders of the bowel are a subject of jokes, but they’re anything but funny. People might be surprised to learn that just one of those disorders, diverticulitis in the colon, has become almost epidemic in the United States, Western Europe and other industrialized nations. It leads to some 130,000 hospitalizations annually in the United States, according to Jason Hall, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Surgery at Tufts University School of Medicine and the Department of Colon and Rectal Surgery at Lahey Clinic in Burlington.

He and other experts shared information on diverticulitis and Crohn’s disease at Regis College’s latest event in the President’s Lecture Series on Health. Of particular interest was the assessment that the increased number of cases in the past fifty years may be linked to known environmental influences such as smoking and diet. It also suggests new forms of proactive treatment.

Diverticulitis describes pouches that form in the wall of the colon that become inflamed or infected. The resulting abdominal pain, fever and other GI symptoms are often serious enough to require hospital admittance and surgery. Kristina Whiton-O’Brien, MSW, Assistant Director of Online Advising and Field Education at Boston University, has been living with Crohn's, endured various surgeries and kinds of treatment, and shared her experiences at the Regis event.

Preventive and supplementary measures, proactively undertaken by a patient, provide some hopeful alternatives. Gita Patel, a registered dietitian and certified Lifestyle Eating and Performance therapist, explained the role of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are not absorbed in diseases of the bowel like Diverticulitis and Crohn’s, and the replacement of these essential nutrients by food or supplements to control the condition. Intervention to change environmental factors could well help reduce the incidence of Crohn’s.

The panel of experts was moderated by Antoinette Hays, PhD, RN, President of Regis College. Audience members included nursing students and practicing nurses who find the program’s continuing education credits or CEUs beneficial to their careers. Maureen Catapano, a retired nurse from Dedham, MA, complimented the Health Lecture Series, which she regularly attends because, “Otherwise, it would be hard to maintain my RN licenses as CEUs are expensive.”

The Regis College President’s Lecture Series on Health was established in 2007 by former Regis College President Mary Jane England, MD, in partnership with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. The unique series of lectures designed to challenge the community to develop new skills to build awareness of contemporary health and wellness issues and learn to effect positive change.

The next lecture will be held at Regis College on November 13 on Emergency Medicine, Technology and Tele-Health. The panels are free and open to the public. Pre-registration by the Friday prior to each event is available, and preferred, for nurses and social workers who wish to earn free contact hours. The series is hosted in partnership with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. For more information, call 781-768-7001, or e-mail

Regis College: News and Announcements
News, Announcements
News and Announcements