Voices matter…

I cofounded the International Foundation for Autoimmune & Autoinflammatory Arthritis (IFAA) in 2013 with three fellow patients Tiffany Westrich-Robertson, Tami Brown, and Amanda John.  Our mission has always been to use our voices to impact education, awareness, and research.  We’ve grown and evolved over the years, but we always held fast to the idea that our voices can help facilitate change.

In 2019, IFAA is proud to announce our new initiative: Arthritis Voices 360

“While IFAA already uses various formats to include all voices – regardless of geography, disease limitations, or prior advocacy experience – we needed more diversity internationally and a platform where all people could truly be involved directly in the conversation.  Enter AiArthritis Voices 360.

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Diversity is key to developing programs with high impact. To ensure the voices of those affected by Ai Arthritis diseases are at the center of it all, the podcast will rotate patient co-hosts and continuously incorporate real opportunities for our community to  influence our solutions by inviting them to the conversation .   Whether it is contributing by submitting comments that may be read on the show or meeting our team in person at a local in-person ‘tour’, our community will be part of the show.”

Whether you are a loved one, a professional working in the field, or a person diagnosed with an Ai Arthritis disease this podcast is for you.   The goal of the conversations are to connect a global pool of patients with other stakeholders so, together we can solve problems. We need ALL stakeholders to have a voice if we want to create meaningful solutions.

Our premiere episode has been released.   Tiffany and I discuss our diagnosis journeys and how we came together to create IFAA.  Please take some time to check it out.  If you are interested in being a cohost, please reach out!!  We would love to have you join us at the table!

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Visit AI Arthritis Voices 360 here:   AiArthritis Voices 360

Check it out and let us know what you think!  Listen, share, and join us.  Let’s use our voices to positively impact our future!

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Kelly holds masters degrees in both Special Education and Speech-Language Pathology. She works full-time as a speech-language pathologist in both a public school setting and as an adjunct faculty member at a university, in Philadelphia, PA. She specializes in both autism and augmentative/alternative communication and took her skills to Uganda, Africa to start a special needs program for disabled children living in an orphanage in 2011. Kelly began experiencing symptoms of autoimmune arthritis in 1984 (while in her teens) but wasn’t officially diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis until 2001. Her first diagnosis was Sjogren’s syndrome. Eventually her diagnosis was changed to sero-negative RA and now Polyarticular Spondlyoarthropathy. She also manages thyroid disease (resulting from Graves Disease), fibromyalgia, renin-deficient hypertension, and disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis (DSAP) on a daily basis. Kelly connected with other autoimmune arthritis patients via social media in 2008. She began volunteering with the “Buckle Me UP! Movement”, which evolved into the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement (IAAM) beginning in 2009. Then became a cofounder of IFAA in 2013. She has represented the ACR on Capitol Hill as an Advocate for Arthritis, was a finalist in Wego Health’s Health Activist Hero awards in 2014, and speaks at various healthcare conferences as a patient advocate in the Philadelphia area.

3 thoughts on “Voices matter…

  1. I am so proud of the work we’ve done to utilize the voices of those affected by AIArthritis diseases to identify and solve problems that can impact education, advocacy, and research. Thank you, Kelly, for being a stellar leader not only for the nonprofit but for our whole community.

    2020 is our year to take voice to next levels!

    Liked by 1 person

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