The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) is proud and honored to announce its collaborative partnership with Allegheny Health Network (AHN) and its new Autoimmunity Institute.
AARDA is the only national nonprofit to address autoimmune disease as a category of disease. There are well over 100 autoimmune diseases including psoriasis, Graves' disease, Sjögren's syndrome, type 1 diabetes, relapsing polychondritis, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and lupus.
The AHN Autoimmunity Institute, with its hub at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is an unprecedented venture focused on integrated multispecialty care and multidisciplinary research for patients with all autoimmune diseases. More than a dozen specialties care for patients in a single 16,000 square foot suite. The patient care team is tightly integrated with clinical and translational research, education, training, and outreach for patients with any autoimmune diseases.
AARDA is providing seed money to initiate a much-needed major study on the costs of autoimmune disease and the obtaining of a diagnosis.
Speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the opening of the Autoimmunity Institute was Virginia Ladd, Executive Director of AARDA, who will serve on the steering committee for the Institute. Mrs. Ladd said:
"A multispecialty approach to diagnosis, patient care, and research has been a long-standing need in this country. Our health system is set up in compartments and does not work well for patients with autoimmune disease as these patients often need to see several specialists and are left to coordinate their own care.
It has been a long-term goal of our organization that such an institute be established to serve the autoimmune patient population. We are especially excited that the institute will provide diagnostic triage as our study found that on average patients see an average of four physicians over three years before receiving an accurate diagnosis, and over 62 percent were told that they are too concerned with their health or that their symptoms are in their head."
Also at the ceremony was Susan Manzi, M.D., MPH, Chair of the AHN Medicine Institute and Director of the Network's Lupus Center of Excellence, and Joseph M. Ahearn, M.D., Chair of the AHN Autoimmunity Institute. Dr. Ahearn said:
"Our vision has now become a reality. There is no doubt that collaborative partnerships within Allegheny Health Network and beyond will accelerate improved diagnosis, treatment and ultimately cures for autoimmune diseases. Once we solve the mystery of one it will catalyze solutions to the others. We are delighted to be collaborating with AARDA, which shares our vision and has stepped to the plate to accelerate our mission. We hope other Foundations, Industry, and academic partners will join us in this unprecedented effort."
Putting patients first, AARDA hopes that this Institute is just the beginning. We at AARDA have seen the great need and demand for diagnostic and treatment centers. We hope this Institute serves as a model for facilities across the country as we continue to work towards improving the lives of all autoimmune disease patients.