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Advocating for young adults affected by autoimmune disease

Young Adult Advisory Council

The Autoimmune Association’s Young Adult Advisory Council (YAAC) comprises enthusiastic and dedicated young individuals between the ages of 15 and 25. The YAAC is vital to our organization, providing valuable insights, recommendations, and advocacy for young adults with autoimmune diseases. Council members play a crucial role in helping us understand the unique needs of autoimmune patients in their age group and devising strategies to support them in navigating life.

Council Members

Abby Mann, 22, Chicago, IL
Allie Place, 19, Columbia, SC, University of South Carolina
Ally Woodard, 23, Santa Rosa Beach, FL, Columbia University in the City of New York
Alonna Kolobakken, 18, Minot, ND, Florida International University
Athitiya Singhapan, 18, Houston, TX, DeBakey High School
Ela Chintagunta, 21, Chicago, IL, Grinnell College
Gauri Lahoti, 20, Morganville, NJ, University of Pennsylvania
Gracie Bagdon, 23, Akron, OH, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Jacelynn Rose, 17,  Duchesne, UT, Duchesne High School
Jackson Tucker, 15, Cheraw, SC, Chesterfield High School
Julia Ellis, 22, Chicago, IL, Northwestern University (graduated)
Kabir Budlender, 17, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa, St John’s College
Kaye Anderson, 23, River Falls, WI, University of Wisconsin-River Falls (graduated)
Makenzie Kaput, 22, Plainfield, IL, University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Megan Tompkins, 23, Ann Arbor, MI, University of Michigan Medical School
Riley Romero, 17,  Los Alamitos, CA, Los Alamitos High School


The application period to join the YAAC opens in January, with one-year terms beginning in April. To be considered, you must submit an application and participate in an interview. If you would like to be notified when the application period opens in January 2025, please complete this form.

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Young adults face unique experiences during this time in their lives. From interacting with teachers, managing a heavy course load, balancing their social lives, applying to college, and beginning their careers to navigating health insurance and medical appointments, it can be confusing and overwhelming. For those living with an autoimmune condition, tailored resources and support are essential to successfully navigate these experiences.

The Autoimmune Association is committed to bridging this gap by addressing the challenges faced by young people with autoimmune diseases.

Additionally, research shows that autoimmune disease is on the rise, with a significant increase among teenagers. The Young Adult Advisory Council is deeply engaged in raising awareness for autoimmune disease among this age group.