News: Shit Happens

News: Shit Happens

News: Shit Happens

Team: Events, Training & News

Date: This is not a timed event.


CHI’s Director of Knowledge Translation, Dr. Kristy Wittmeier, co-leads a project centering on a social media campaign that is partnering researchers with patients to inform healthcare research in Winnipeg.

Called Shit Happens, the campaign was started in 2011 by Liz Crawford, a mother of a child with Hirschsprung’s Disease (HD). She created an online community utilizing Twitter, Facebook and a personal blog to support families living with HD, which has grown to reach over 28 countries and a potential audience of over 100, 000 people.

This project is unique in that patients and their families are engaging directly through the campaign with researchers on what matters most to them, which in turn is helping to inform both research and HD treatment protocols.

Caregivers who use the HD social media sites participated in a survey to identify issues that were most important to them, while pediatric surgeons across Canada were surveyed to identify what they believe are the most important issues for families dealing with the disease. Those results have been compiled and are being used to direct a literature search from which evidence-based resources will be developed. Gaps in evidence will be shared with an international team of researchers to inform the next phase of research and improve treatment for patients with HD.

The results of the first phase of the project have been published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research and can be viewed here:

For more information on the project, please visit:

The story was also featured in the Nov/Dec issue of Wave magazine, and you can go to page 30 to read more about it here:

Liz and her son’s pediatrician, fellow Principal Investigator Dr. Richard Keijzer, can also be seen speaking about the project on Winnipeg’s Breakfast Television: