The IBD Centre of BC

A bold new vision for patient-centred IBD care


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an unpreventable, complex, chronic, relapsing and often debilitating lifelong disease that does not yet have a cure.

The two main types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both are caused when the intestine’s immune system responds aggressively or inappropriately to intestinal matter and attacks healthy tissue inside the digestive system.

Seeing the necessity and urgency for improved delivery and management of care, a group of IBD specialists has formed a non-profit society and reached out to other stakeholders to help to improve the lives of the 25,000 British Columbian adults, youth and children struggling with IBD, by delivering province-wide efficient and effective modern care through The IBD Centre of BC.

IBD Facts
  • Approximately 25,000 British Columbians have IBD.

  • IBD is as common as Type 1 diabetes and epilepsy, and more than twice as common as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.

  • 1,500-plus new cases are diagnosed annually in BC.

  • 25% to 50% of IBD patients relapse annually.

  • The peak age of IBD diagnosis is around 25, just as young adults are establishing their independence and building lives as contributing members of society.

  • Children (ages 1 to 16) account for 20% to 25% of the IBD population, diagnosed with Crohn’s disease as early as their first year of life.

  • For every person diagnosed with IBD there are a host of significant others who are also affected — by the emotional toll the disease takes on a family, the economic consequences of lost work time, drug therapy not fully covered by MSP, worry and more.

  • IBD is a $300-million provincial economic burden, costing about $12,000/patient due to hospitalization, work/school absenteeism and treatment.


The IBD Centre of BC provides a complete spectrum of benefits for patients, families and the public health-care agenda.

  • Significantly decreased wait times to see a specialist
  • Faster, more efficient diagnosis
  • Improved access to specialist care
  • Improved quality of care
  • Reduced hospital and ER visits
  • State-of-the-art diagnostic tools
  • Telehealth for patients living outside the Lower Mainland
  • Multidisciplinary and complementary integrated care teams
  • Advanced treatments, therapeutic regimes and modalities
  • Education promoting patient understanding of IBD and its long-term management
  • Continuing educational outreach to health-care professionals working with IBD patients across the province
  • Research from “bedside to bench and bench to bedside”
  • Central biobank for clinical samples
  • Repository for patient information
  • Improved quality of life for patients, including fewer work/school absences and less urgent-care needs
  • Reduced direct and indirect costs of IBD to patients and society
Life with IBD
  • Nikita's Story

    Sure, it would be good if we could find out why I got colitis and what we could do to cure it, but I think the more realistic state is that given this is not going away, what’s the best I can do under the circumstances?

    Read Nikita's Story
  • Luciana's Story

    For other women with IBD, I would say to consider having a baby. You will have so much support during your pregnancy. I knew I could count on my Canadian doctor team, I never felt alone, and I am so grateful to them.

    Read Luciana's Story
  • Jim's Story

    I can reach kids who are broken because I know hurt. Sharing our pain opens the conversation.

    Read Jim's Story
  • Nik's Story

    The soccer and running is a bit of a f-you to the disease.

    Read Nik's Story
  • Emily’s Story

    I have always taken the approach that if you work hard enough you can overcome anything. I had to accept that ulcerative colitis isn’t going to be like that. This is forever.

    Read Emily's Story
  • Oliver’s Story

    It’s like your body is turning itself inside out and all you can do is wait until it passes. I wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone. It’s like torture.

    Read Oliver's Story
  • Sam’s Story

    In my ideal world everyone would talk with each other and they would all know what I’ve been doing for my Crohn’s for the past three months.

    Read Sam's Story
Young Adults with IBD Clinic

The Young Adults with IBD Clinic at The IBD Centre of BC integrates clinical care with complementary healthcare professionals and state-of-the-art research to help adolescents and young adults transfer from a child-centred to adult-centred healthcare system, where self-advocacy and self-management skills are vital. These short videos illustrate key aspects of the transition process.

Bernard Bressler, PhD (Secretary)

Professor in the Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences and Associate Member of the Department of Orthopedics at UBC; former Vice President Research at UBC; former Vice President Research at Vancouver Coastal Health

Brian Bressler, MD, MS, FRCPC

Practicing gastroenterologist; world-recognized expert in IBD; Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at The University of British Columbia’s Department of Medicine

Kulwant Chauhan, CA (Chair)

Chartered accountant; Vice President of Abacus Private Equity and the Hillcore Group, responsible for analysis for broad initiatives such as new business models, acquisition models and new debt and equity financing

Jon Festinger, Q.C. (Vice Chair)

Lawyer, strategic advisor and educator with a focus on digital media, creative freedoms, entertainment and sports; past Chair of Ronald McDonald House British Columbia

Lawrence Halparin, MD, FRCPC, CSPQ 

Diplomate American Board of Gastroenterology; Clinical Professor Emeritus, UBC; Former Head Gastroenterology, Providence Health Care

Kevan Jacobson,

Pediatric gastroenterologist; Clinical Professor and Head of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and the Pediatric IBD program at BC Children’s Hospital

Antony Kalla, B. Comm

Mortgage broker; Principal of Westbridge Mortgage Services Ltd.; expert in commercial real estate acquisition, management and repositioning

Yvette Leung, MD, FRCPC

Practicing gastroenterologist in IBD; physician lead for the Vancouver Pregnancy and IBD Clinic; Associate Clinical Professor, University of British Columbia, Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology


Jennifer Pearson

Non-profit fundraising volunteer, formerly with BC Children’s Hospital and the MS Society

Matthew Robinson CPA (Treasurer)

Senior Accountant at MNP with a focus on public company audits and NPO reviews

Greg Rosenfeld,

Gastroenterologist with an advanced Fellowship in IBD; Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, The University of British Columbia; member of Pacific Gastroenterology Associates at St. Paul’s Hospital with a clinical practice focus in IBD

Norma Sebestyen, B. Comm, MBA

Merck executive with extensive experience in sales, marketing, strategic planning, corporate affairs, health education, government relations, operations, and policy and patient access; board member, Providence Research Insitute and Canadian Glycomics Network

Joan Stobbs

Executive Assistant to the Board


We acknowledge that we work on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish People.

Covid-19 and IBD: What Patients and Caregivers Need to Know
  • This slide presentation on Covid-19 and IBD is from the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation.

The IBD Centre is located at:


Suite 250
840 Howe Street
Vancouver, BC
V6Z 2L2


Phone: 604-416-4444