Harinder - Research Champion

"I think the most important part of this role will be to help professionals see our side of it and patients see their side of it."

A pharmacist from the West Midlands, Harinder aims to bridge the gap between people with Crohn’s and Colitis and healthcare. He is working with a project using histopathology (studying disease through interpretation of cells and tissue samples) to personalise medication in Ulcerative Colitis.

I was first unwell when I was at university, but it went away, coming back five years ago when I was working, and was very busy and very active. You think it will sort itself even as the symptoms are creeping up on you. I was tired, went to the toilet a lot and there was blood and mucus in my stools. Some foods made it worse too, so I was avoiding them and losing weight.

I was training for a national dance competition in Bhangra, which is Punjabi folk dancing. We trained in cycles as we worked towards each competition and in 2016 I was aware that I couldn’t reach the same level of fitness as previously. Now I know I was having a flare-up. During training I felt very unwell, so I saw my doctor who called an ambulance as my heart rate was so high. It turned out my iron levels were so low that my heart was struggling.

It was hard for my parents to see me so ill, especially since I was in denial and was convinced I’d get better without treatment. I’m coping well now as my medication is working.

I didn’t feel I got enough information from the NHS, but Crohn’s & Colitis UK were excellent, so two months ago I became a Research Champion. I’ve met other people living with the conditions, healthcare professionals and researchers.

As both a healthcare professional and a person living with a chronic illness, I hope to help improve communication between healthcare professionals and patients.

Research Champion

I became a research champion to provide a voice for patients as well as for healthcare professionals.  I have had Ulcerative Colitis for 5 years now and the experience is teaching me so much about myself, the impact on the people around me and how health is perceived in the world. 

I hope to break down barriers to care through my unique position to drive research that really puts the patient at the centre of care. 

Research serves as the blueprint for how healthcare is conducted and through this, we can influence positive change to grow and share insights into people’s experiences and build greater awareness of IBD.

Want to volunteer with us?

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, develop new skills and make a difference to everyone affected by Crohn's and Colitis.


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Helpline service


We know it can be difficult to live with, or support someone living with these conditions. But you’re not alone. We provide up-to-date, evidence-based information and can support you to live well with Crohn’s or Colitis.

Our helpline team can help by:

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