National Psoriasis Foundation Conference '22
In-person conferences have always been something I looked forward to. Of course, the pandemic changed all of that. Everything turned to virtual, which we know is simply not the same.
The 2020 and 2021 National Psoriasis Foundation Conferences were online, and virtual offerings are better than none. We are all immune-compromised, and in the interest of public safety, I also understand and support the decision. It's just connecting through a screen just feels impossible.
My experience at the 2022 National Psoriasis Foundation Conference
Personal connections and feeling seen are a huge part of why these conferences are so special to me. Growing to see familiar faces daily with a silent understanding of what it's like to manage life with this condition, you simply can't do that through zoom.
I was so excited when I got the message that, once again, The National Psoriasis Foundation would be having an in-person conference in 2022. The conference was in Chicago, Illinois. It was a one-day conference entitled Healthier Together: Learning for All Ages. It was so informative and refreshing.
My take on the morning sessions
The sessions started out with a welcome message from Matt Kiselica, who is on the Board of Directors of the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF). He was then followed by Leah Howard, who is the NPF Interim President and CEO, who gave opening remarks.
For the children in the audience, the next opening comments came from Jonathan Scott, who is also on the Board of Directors and works with the children who have psoriasis.
Taking a look at comorbidities...
The first presenter was Dr. Ahmad Amin, a Dermatologist with Northwestern Medicine. He presented on “Comorbidities.” Have you ever wondered why psoriasis is so red? He explained that there is more blood flow going to the inflammation location, which explains the red color. He also stated that insulin resistance is greater in people with psoriasis.
His recommendation was that as individuals who live with this condition, we should all have our glucose checked often. Next, he moved on to treatments that will hopefully be available very soon. Deucravacitinib is hopefully approved in the next two months, and Tapinarof hopefully approved by the summer.
A new lesson learned about IBS
The second presenter was Dr. Adam Stein, a Gastroenterologist also from Northwestern Medicine. He presented on “Gut Health.” He first started off by talking about Celiac Disease. To be truthful, it was a bit hard for me to follow along with because I do not have Celiac Disease.
The biggest takeaway from his presentation was the fact that he stated that if any of us who live with psoriasis also live with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), then we should be seeing a Gastroenterologist. I have IBS and have never been told that.
Our sessions went into the evening
Matt Kiselica gave a fitting tribute to three members of the NPF that had passed away. Ellen Clements, one of those members, was also a contributor to this community. It was a sad tribute that tugged at most of us, but it was done so beautifully.
This was followed by the third presenter of the evening Craig Ing. His presentation was more about getting moving and was entitled “Get Moving with Qi Gong.” It is a type of martial arts that is meant to not be so painful for people with physical limitations.
A program for our future
The fourth presentation came from Jaime Lyn Moy and Miles Seiden, focusing on a new portion of the NPF website that had been constructed. It was called “Our Spot: A Program for Youth.”
This program is geared toward children of all ages that live with psoriatic disease. I can personally say I know Jaime Moy, and she is outstanding when it comes to working with the children. She and her son have psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Rounding out the day with a panel
The final session was a panel discussion with four NPF volunteers entitled “Professionals Living with Psoriasis.” It was a round table discussion of each person’s experience of managing workplace situations and psoriasis symptoms.
It also brought in collaborative conversation from others in the audience. Without going into details, some of it was hard to hear. This concluded the conference. While it was a long day, it was a great day, and I look forward to the next conference to come.
What are you grateful for in your psoriasis experience? (Select all that apply)
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