Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act of 2019 (H.R. 3396) Re-Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives, June 2019 

New co-sponsor September 2020

This is a similar bill to the ones known in the 112th Congress (2011-2012) as HR 2239, in the 113th Congress (2013-2014) as HR 842, in the 114th Congress (2015-2016) as HR 2311, and in the 115th Congress (2017-2018) as HR 1187. Although the Act has not been passed yet, historically, it has brought increased Congressional awareness and research funding to functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders like IBS.  IBS Impact thanks IFFGD for its consistent work over many years in bringing this bipartisan bill to fruition and urges U.S. citizen IBS Impact members and site visitors to advocate for this landmark legislation on behalf of people with IBS and related disorders.

IFFGD announced publicly in late June 2019 that HR 3396 was introduced into the 116th Congress (2019-2020) on June 2019 by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI-5), who also was the initial sponsor of all previous versions. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI-4)  joined him as the first co-sponsor. She has also been among early co-sponsors of all previous versions. This time, they were soon joined, also in June 2019, by  Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-8), who is co-sponsoring the Act for the second time, and Rep. David Price (D-NC-4), who is co-sponsoring for the fourth time. In July 2019, they were joined by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI-2), who is co-sponsoring for the third time and Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO-7), who is co-sponsoring for the fourth time, Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI-3), who is cosponsoring for the fifth time, and Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO-2) who is joining them for the first time. In September 2019, Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA-45), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY-4), Rep. Max Rose (D-NY-11), and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ-4), all signed on for the first time. Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA-2) subsequently signed on for the third time. In October 2019, they were joined for the first time by Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX-34) and Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV-3) and in November 2019 by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE-at large) for the first time. In January 2020, Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-1) signed on for the first time and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL-1) for the second time. In February 2020, Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ-2) became a co-sponsor for the first time. In March 2020, Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY-3) and Rep.  Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-at large) became co-sponsors for the second time. In September 2020, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC-1) and Rep. James McGovern (D-MA-2) signed on for the first time.

If you are a constituent of any of these representatives,  please write or call or post on their social media to thank them for their support of the functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders community.

A link to the bill can be found here.

IFFGD’s information regarding the bill is here:

Sign up for IFFGD’s new Advocacy Connection e-newsletter here:

Please check back on this site, our blog at or @ibsimpact on Twitter or IBS Impact on Facebook for updated news as it becomes available.

IFFGD’s annual Advocacy Day took place as a Virtual Advocacy Day online July 27, 2020.

IBS Impact supports the efforts of IFFGD on behalf of military veterans and service members, who are disproportionately affected by IBS and other functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders.

IBS Impact is concerned about the introduction of a new mental health diagnosis that may unfairly label some people with IBS or similarly complex or overlapping medical conditions.

For residents of the United Kingdom, see this page from The IBS Network, the U.K. national charity for IBS, for recent advocacy or awareness issues specific to the U.K.

Read a guest post by the IBS Impact founder, originally published on the Disruptive Women in Health Care blog in April 2011.

Breaking the Silence by Nina Pan

(opens in a subpage of IBS  Disruptive Women in Health Care has since been acquired  by HIMSS Media, and its website and blog no longer exist. Thank you to Disruptive Women in Health Care for accepting and hosting the guest post for many years.)

Nina is a longtime educator and disability advocate, person with IBS and founder of IBS Impact from the USA.

Read a guest post for IBS Awareness Month on the IBS Impact blog from April 2013

 A Lesson Learned From a Young Person With IBS by Lyndin Kane

Lyndin has IBS and lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Read a guest post for IBS Awareness Month on the IBS Impact blog from April 2015

We Should Be Able To Talk About This by Jay Thompson-Munn

Jay has IBS, as well as anxiety and endometriosis, two conditions that commonly coexist with IBS. She also has family members with IBS and other GI conditions. She lives in New Zealand and wrote this especially for IBS Impact.

Read a guest post for IBS Awareness Month on the IBS Impact blog from April 2017

Misinformation, Mystery and Muddling Through IBS by Kathy Kersmarki

Kathy has IBS and lives in Winter Park, Florida, USA. She wrote this post especially for IBS Impact.

Read a guest post for IBS Awareness Month on the IBS Impact blog from April 2018

Looking Back and Paying it Forward: A Life with IBS by Jeni Skukowski

Jeni has IBS, works as a Registered Dietitian, and lives in Connecticut, USA. She wrote this post especially for IBS Impact.

Read a guest post for IBS Awareness Month on the IBS Impact blog from April 2019

IBS: A Personal and Professional Journey  by Joanna Baker

Joanna has IBS and is also a Registered Nurse and an Accredited Practising Dietitian. She lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. She wrote this post especially for IBS Impact.


Simply put, people with IBS should be the primary ones to determine our own needs and make our own choices about issues that concern us, both as individuals and as a community. While those without IBS who support this philosophy can be valuable and welcome allies in our quest,it is our right and responsibility as those most directly affected by IBS to speak for ourselves and to participate actively and openly in the process of constructive change. As is often said in many other advocacy communities, “Nothing about us without us.”

While there has been increasing recognition of IBS in recent years, much of the information about what “IBS patients” experience, need and want is filtered through the perspective of researchers, other professionals or organizations whose mission is not solely focused on IBS and who, sometimes, are not people with IBS. Meanwhile, people with IBS have often had difficulty consistently “amplifying the need,” in the words of one IBS Impact  member, from our individual daily concerns about our symptoms to the larger issues that could improve the lives of many: greater public awareness, greater access to expert medical care, IBS education and support systems in our own local communities, funding for research to better understand the causes of IBS and find more effective treatments, and the legislation and public policies to support all of the above.

It is time for people with IBS to see public awareness and self-advocacy as in our own interests and as natural parts of the dialogue about IBS. Let us be equal participants with the professionals and organizations that assist us, and let us work with them to communicate our needs and hopes to researchers, policy makers and the general public with honesty and dignity. IBS Impact specifically uses “person first” language to communicate that we are not merely theoretical “patients” whose sole place is in relation to medical providers who have given this diagnosis of IBS. We are real people with real lives and real relationships that have been greatly affected by IBS, and our honest, lived experiences and opinions are legitimate and important.

Some self-advocacy articles and resources that previously appeared on this page, such as on communicating with doctors, employment, education, and disability benefits, have been moved and added to the Resources page of this site.

Last update to Advocacy page and all links verified: September 2020