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Vanessa M Weisbrod

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Vanessa Weisbrod, BA, CA, (Educators ’21) is the Director of Education for the Celiac Disease Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. Vanessa’s areas of professional interest include developing innovative approaches to patient and family education, designing quality improvement projects to evaluate patient education programs in the hospital setting, and improving gluten-free diet adherence among food insecure families with celiac disease. Vanessa can be followed on Twitter or LinkedIn contacted via email.

TikTok for Celiac Disease and Gluten-Free Diet Education

Adolescents with celiac disease are always seeking new and innovative ways to learn about the gluten-free diet and manage the social and emotional elements of living with this chronic disease. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boston Children’s Hospital Gluten-Free Diet Education Class for patients with newly diagnosed celiac disease was held in-person in a clinic conference room with approximately 2 to 5 families attending each class. The classes are 90 minutes and highly interactive with a skilled dietitian. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, all nutrition education classes for celiac disease were quickly transitioned to a virtual zoom format.

The virtual format allowed for higher enrollment, which meant shorter wait times to get into the class. Zoom also removed barriers like long commutes and high parking fees, which previously prevented some families from attending the classes. However, some adolescents who attended remote school for most of the day reported it was challenging to sit for another 90 minutes in front of the screen and wanted new and fun ways to learn. Their specific ask: TikTok.

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