Q&A with Bruce Rosengarten, Chairman, Crohn's & Colitis Australia
Bruce Rosengarten has had an extensive senior executive career including roles that took him across our region and internationally. While living with ulcerative colitis for over 40 years, he built a highly successful career, however, it took him 39 years to admit publicly he has colitis. He has often taken up roles in not-for-profit organisations as a passionate believer in supporting the community.
Bruce is the author of Passionate Leadership, and today runs his own consultancy and is a member of several advisory Boards as well as being Chairman, Crohn’s & Colitis Australia.
What are you most excited about for the Crohn’s and colitis community's future?
Building a stronger community. I am very fortunate in my role at Chair of CCA that I can witness the enormous level of activities and support we undertake and provide to our community. I am also looking forward to the work we are doing to build on this. Our program to improve consumer education, our program to help GPs and physicians understand Crohn’s and colitis, our program to review the care of paediatrics care, the new Gut Smart program launched for Dietitians and Nutritionists and the soon to be launched program to help Psychologists care for those with Crohn’s and colitis. Plus, we are moving our organisation to be more digitally focused and capable. Yes, there’s more.
Why did you think it was important to share your own lived experience with Crohn’s disease?
It took me nearly 40 years to speak about my disease publicly. This is not an easy disease to share with anyone. Having overcome the barrier and broken out of the “water closet” I am proud to share my experience in the hope I can build more awareness, make it safer for others to share their experiences and also seek the help one may need when coping with Crohn’s or colitis.
How important is it to build support networks?
Each person needs to define the support networks that fit for them. It can be family and friends; it can be professional help. Sometimes it is difficult for others to share the empathy when things are not going so well. For me I used to deal with it myself and use my medical professional network to help find some answers. Often at times I also used distraction, almost not being prepared to accept I will be inconvenienced, it didn’t always work.
What does living fearless mean to you?
Working with your medical support team to minimise your symptoms and hopefully find remission. It is also knowing that when things are going poorly, and you have a flare up you can find the support you need to have a solution. Crohn’s and colitis can be very difficult to manage. It can affect your day-to-day life quite substantially. Sometimes it is not easy to live fearlessly. Having those around you, access to support and information and the professionals you need is crucial.
Do you have a message for your fellow Live Fearless Challenge participants?
Have fun, use this opportunity to share as much about the disease as possible.