Coalition of Skin Diseases
The Coalition of Skin Diseases (CSD) consists of several organizations that represent patients suffering from some of the 3,000 known types of skin disease. The groups share a common mission of educating patients, advocacy and supporting skin disease research that will lead to new treatments and cures. CSD members have engaged in collaborative advocacy efforts, including Skin Disease Research Day and NIAMS Coalition Day. To visit the CSD online, click here.
SIDES Program at 2012 SID Annual Meeting
This is an article written by high school students about their experience attending the Society for Investigative Dermatology (SID) Education for Students (SIDES) program held during the 2012 Annual Meeting.
The students attended some of the main lectures and the morning poster session.
“Upon entering the SID Conference, we were overwhelmed and amazed at the wealth of knowledge present. Professors, teachers, advocates, and curious citizens milled about discussing matters well above our heads. The depth of their research and the sheer potential it contained was astounding. We overhead people discussing cures and answers they were so close to unlocking, but were prevented from doing so due to lack of funding. Seeing the potential was encouraging, yet the lack of support: not so much.
After a long discussion with Sheila Belkin (Director of Patient and Partner Relations of the National Alopecia Areata Foundation), Susan Thornton (Interim CEO of the Cutaneous Lymphoma Association), and Julie Block (Chief Executive Officer of the National Eczema Association), we were amazed to see how passionate they were concerning their causes. Their fervor incited a fire within us for these patients who are struggling to survive each day. At our school, the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, we attended a class dedicated to research in the Humanities field. Our proposals, which were rather simple, seemed colorless and naïve compared to the tremendous projects to which these women have dedicated their lives. Thanks to this conference, we decided that we, even though we are only high school students, wanted to dedicate our full support to the rapidly growing world of research.
As high school students at an intensive boarding school with many hours of homework and few hours of sleep, it is difficult to dedicate much of our own time to research or advocating for patients. However, we can raise awareness to other high school students by teaching them the causes and symptoms of easily preventable skin afflictions that are common in today’s generation. Melanoma, for example, is the most dangerous of skin diseases, but very easily prevented. It is caused by UV radiation, which can be blocked with sunscreen, clothing, and the abstinence from tanning beds. If teenagers knew how easy it was to ward off something that approximately twenty percent of them would suffer from, perhaps the health of our generation would improve. Preventative medicine, after all, is always the best medicine.
Even though we cannot advocate for patients or participate in advanced research projects, we can at least raise awareness to teenagers like ourselves. By showing them the simplicity of disease prevention, we can fight the ever-present threat of skin disease. Hopefully, by doing this we can influence kids our age to further their knowledge in this subject, and possibly even enter the research field.”
About the Students:
Sarah Chang and Gabriela Schweizer are two students attending the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) in Durham, North Carolina. They came to NCSSM from their homes in Wilmington and Atlantic Beach, NC. In May 2012, these two students attended the SID Conference at the Raleigh Convention Center at the request of their science teacher, Ms. Korah Wiley. The invitation came from the SIDES Chair, Duke Faculty and graduate of NCSSM, Kelly Nelson, MD.
Gabriela is a seventeen-year-old senior aspiring to find her place in the medical field. Her dream is to one day become successful enough to establish her own medicinal nonprofit clinic in third-world countries, benefiting impoverished and underfed children.
Sarah is a sixteen-year-old senior with aspirations to become an infectious disease specialist or enter the Clandestine Services of the CIA. To achieve these diverse goals, she is currently perfecting her third language, and taking appropriate classes such as Molecular/Cellular Biology and Immunology to prepare her for the medical field.
Ms. Wiley invited her classes to this conference in an effort to raise their awareness of the potential that research in dermatology holds. According to Gabriela and Sarah, it did just that.