Welcome to IGU of Washington, D.C.
IGU is the educational non-profit organization formerly known as International Graduate University of Washington, D.C. This 501©(3) was founded in the late 1960’s spearheaded by Walter E. Boek, PhD. He had served as Assistant Commissioner of Health of New York State under four governors, after which he headed the Health Information Foundation. He and his wife, Jean K. Boek, PhD, wrote Society and Health, which served as a basis for medical anthropology; scientific methodology used as the basis of research studies in public health.
In 2014 we changed our mission to be able to contribute to the critical need for education, research and promotion of awareness in autoimmune disease, and cancer. We began to work with the Celiac Program of the Children’s National Medical Center and developed regular teaching programs for gluten free living.
Our focus begins with Celiac Disease for several reasons. Celiac Disease is a common autoimmune disease that affects 1% of the world’s population; it is mostly undiagnosed and misdiagnosed, even today. CD can be managed by maintaining a gluten free diet (free of wheat, barley and rye), but this is much more difficult and problematic than it may sound. Those with Celiac Disease do not share exact symptoms, and their symptoms frequently overlap or share those of other disorders and diseases. CD sufferers often contract other autoimmune diseases. CD causes neurological and psychological problems that lead to learning differences and difficulties. Children feel a great deal of sorrow and alienation from their peers because they must refrain from enjoying the wonderful food surrounding them in everyday life, and they cannot share those experiences. CD sufferers and their family live with the constant anxiety of ingesting gluten inadvertently. Food warning labels do not include barley or rye; they specify wheat ingredients only, for example. “Gluten free” is commonly misunderstood. Education and support is lacking on the part of medical practitioners, schools, and the community at large, as well as those who have CD, and their families.
There are many who do not present with CD but suffer from gluten intolerance and gluten insensitivity. Scientists and physicians are leaning toward the opinion that CD may be a continuum of varying degrees of severity, with a range of symptoms and disorders. There are many who fall within this category of non-CD gluten sensitivity, and thus must also eliminate gluten from their diets.
Finally, some research scientists hypothesize that identifying the autoimmune disease mechanism of CD may be the key to discovering a universal cause or process of autoimmune disease. These scientists believe that CD is the best place to start because we know its cause. CD is caused by a genetic variant and is triggered by the environmental factors of wheat, barley and rye.
IGU is currently engaged in educational programming on several fronts, including cooking classes, lectures, and webinars. We are developing podcasts, an educational computer simulation game, a medical education course, expanding our webinar program, and continuing our classes. We are contributing to efforts to develop a uniform diagnostic framework for medical practitioners. IGU has helped thousands of people already.