is a common functional disorder with high reported prevalence rates throughout the world. However, many questions remain unanswered regarding possible similarities and differences among different cultural and ethnic groups in relation to prevalence, genetics, environmental factors, symptom reporting, gender distribution, pathophysiology, diagnostic workup, management, treatment compliance and clinical response.

This conference represents collaboration between the Rome Foundation and the World Gastroenterology Organisation. Its purpose is to bring together an international group of clinicians, scientists and researchers with an interest in IBS and other functional GI disorders to foster greater awareness of IBS, and update existing knowledge about the similarities and differences at a global level. This coming together can lead to the development of national and regional programs to enhance clinical skills, improve the quality of multinational clinical trials and research, and establish international research networks. Another focus of the conference will be on cross-cultural aspects of IBS and other functional GI disorders. Effects of the interaction between culture and health often go unrecognized, yet in clinical practice they can impact the quality of health care and health outcomes, and in research cause methodological shortcomings that lead to biased conclusions and the inappropriate interpretation of research results.

The development of cross-cultural clinical and research competences will be emphasized. Cross-cultural clinical competence relates to the ability of health care providers to function optimally in the multicultural background of patients in many medical practices, while cross-cultural research competence relates to the skills required to conduct research involving population subgroups of differing cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The symposium will be held for 1½ days on April 6-7, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, just prior to the 9th International Symposium on Functional GI Disorders April 8-10, 2011.

Conference objectives:

  • To foster greater interest in the global aspects of IBS.
  • To foster the development of cross-cultural competence in the clinical and research arenas.
  • To improve the quality of multinational research
  • To foster international research networks for the conduct of cross-cultural, multi-national research on IBS and other functional gastrointestinal disorders
  • To increase awareness on the impact of culture on patient care and research in the FGIDs.
  • To address cross-cultural issues in the conduct of multinational clinical drug trials
  • To facilitate the development of patient reported outcomes measures for FGID clinical research across cultures.

Who should participate:

  • Practicing gastroenterologists, primary care physicians, psychologists, sociologists, and other health care providers interested in IBS and the functional GI disorders at a global level.
  • Scientists and academicians interested in cross-cultural investigation of these conditions.
  • Pharmaceutical company research, development and marketing managers interested in learning about cultural differences in attitudes and beliefs toward medical treatments.
  • Members of health policy and regulatory organizations