Anna Gomberg, Host/Writer/Producer of Visceral: Listen to Your Gut
Meet the Host of Our Podcast: Anna Gomberg
A compassionate patient with Crohn’s disease and a background in philosophy, developmental psychology, moral development, and media studies—and a lengthy career in nonprofit communications—Anna Gomberg has been writing, producing, and hosting the GI Research Foundation’s podcast, Visceral, since its launch in 2022. For 10 years, Annie has served as the Administrative Director of the University of Chicago’s IBD Center, developing close working relationships with many of the researchers we fund as part of her work. She lends knowledge and empathy to her role as our podcast host. We recently had the opportunity to ask Annie a few questions such as how her diagnosis affects her, what she loves about hosting the podcast, and why she believes funding research is important.
How has your digestive disease affected your life? What has it taught you?
Crohn’s disease was tough when I was younger because there weren’t sufficient therapies. My grades suffered in high school because of my IBD. After college, I was not allowed to join the Peace Corps due to my health and I left graduate school because I was too sick to continue. If I were diagnosed today, I would have so many more options. I definitely take managing my stress and health seriously and exercise several times a week, because it really helps. I try to push through being “just a little sick”—having a cold or a cough, because it just doesn’t seem that bad compared to the worst symptoms Crohn’s can dish out.
Does research about digestive diseases give you hope?
Research about digestive diseases gives me so much hope because there are so many innovative approaches and new ideas that might someday unlock what causes Crohn’s disease and others like it and make it easier to manage. I hope my children don’t have IBD, but the advances that have been made just in my lifetime have dramatically changed the disease outcomes.
Why do you host the podcast? What do you love about it? What challenges you?
Everyone has a story—each patient, each researcher—and it is interesting to untangle and interpret those stories in ways that are interesting and beneficial to other patients. I like learning about the approaches used in scientific research. The best question you can ask a scientist about their work is, “What are you most excited about?” The most difficult part about hosting and producing is that most people aren’t used to speaking and being recorded, and sometimes really interesting conversations happen after I have turned off the mic!
Why does the work of the GI Research Foundation matter?
The GI Research Foundation is a way for patients and families to directly contribute to the research on their specific digestive diseases, and to help advance science that will solve problems and answer questions, and there is nothing quite like it. Science takes time, money, and extraordinary focus and effort, and it isn’t perfect—but it is the most elegant and beautiful approach to finding truth humanity has ever found, and it is so noble to be part of what drives those discoveries.
Anna Gomberg is married with two children and spends her free time enjoying books, photography, music, history, and art. In addition, she is currently volunteering to support Chicago’s migrant population.