WOW! It was a whirlwind trip to San Francisco for the National Psoriasis Foundation's bi-annual Volunteer Conference, but so worth it! I flew in on Friday and landed at 10 p.m. last night. This City Girl is quite tired, but could not wait a moment longer to share all about the #NVC15 with you!
One of the best things about this conference was that it was in conjunction with the NPF's annual Research Symposium. Therefore, we patients had a chance to interact with physicians, scientists and researchers who are all working toward a cure for psoriatic disease. We had the opportunity to sit with some of the scientists at lunch and hear all about their work and share with them what it is like to live with our diseases. I learned that the NPF is one of the only foundations willing to grant funds to young scientists who may have new ideas on ways to study psoriatic disease. I was so proud to be a member of a Foundation so committed to a cure!
I had the opportunity to attend a session just for Division Volunteers, those who work to put on their local Team NPF Walk and Bike. It was good to brainstorm how to increase attendance at the NPF's free programs, Be Joint Smart and More Than Skin Deep, how to increase attendance at Team NPF Walk and how to increase membership and donations.
I also attended a session on Living Well with Psoriatic Arthritis, presented by Dr. Scher. This session was full of practical advice on alternative treatments, including diet, exercise, dietary supplements, sleep hygiene and stress management.
Julie Cerrone and I clowning around at the Janssen exhibit.
My last session was Comorbidities of Psoriatic Arthritis. I admit, not the most cheerful of subjects, but a good reminder of what to look out for, how to best communicate with my healthcare providers and how best to stave off uveitis, heart disease, diabetes and Crohn's disease.
The educational highlight of my conference was sneaking into the Research Symposium to learn all about the microbiome's role in psoriatic disease. Hint: it's BIG! I have been reading on this subject and working with my holistic health coach to heal my gut and get my gut microbiome in order, so it was huge for me to hear physicians, scientists and researchers present their findings on this subject.
The social highight on my conference was being there when my friend, fellow blogger and psoriasis psister, Alisha Bridges, won the 2015 Volunteer of the Year award. I am so proud of Alisha and her advocacy for psoriasis research! Well done! Julie Cerrone filmed Alisha's acceptance speech. She really brought down the house. You can view it on Julie's Twitter: @JustaGoodLife.
Although I am not ready for a quick weekend across the country anytime soon, I can hardly wait for the 2017 Volunteer Conference. I am really hoping the Research Symposium will be in conjunction with it, again.