Guest Blog: Join the Open Restrooms Movement

By: Michael Osso, President & CEO, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is spearheading a new Open Restrooms Movement to kick-off an effort to make more restrooms available to patients with urgent bathroom needs (whatever the cause).  The Foundation recognizes that this can be an issue at times for patients with diseases beyond Crohn’s or colitis, and hope some of the NHC membership with affected patients will support this movement.

The Foundation has supported local volunteer efforts at the state level for many years as they promoted state legislation requiring restroom access for certain categories of patients. However, after more than 15 years of such legislation in Illinois (one of the first states to successfully pass this legislation), awareness of the law remains very low, and compliance by businesses is still a problem for patients. (See this recent article from the Chicago Tribune, in which Ally Bain, the organizer of the original legislative effort, is cited as saying she still hears stories about people who suffer from intestinal diseases being denied restroom access.)

There have been multiple additional articles (here, and here) on the issue of restroom access recently, since awareness has been increased due to COVID shutdowns, which has greatly impacted patient communities.

At this point, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation believes that patients – and others in need of a restroom while away from home – will be better served by building awareness of their needs. So through this movement, they want to encourage businesses and municipalities to be a part of the solution because restroom access is a human need, which can be best addressed by human kindness — not legislation.

Will you join the movement by putting your organization’s name on this campaign? All you need to do is sign up, and the Foundation will do most of the rest.  

The timeline is soon:  The We Can’t Wait app is already available for download on the App store and Google Play. Public messaging designed to build awareness will launch in early February. Please join the movement!   For more information, please email Michael Osso (  

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is a National Health Council (NHC) member and Michael Osso is a member of the NHC Board of Directors. For more information about membership, contact