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The Autoimmune Association Announces the Inaugural Young Adult Advisory Council


As part of our commitment to actively engaging with young people living with autoimmune disease and addressing their unique needs, the Autoimmune Association has established the Young Adult Advisory Council (YAAC).  This group of 16 exemplary individuals will work to empower and advocate for young adults aged 15 to 25 living with autoimmune disease.

“We understand that young individuals with autoimmune diseases encounter distinct challenges, especially while managing school, balancing their social lives, and beginning their careers. With the valuable insights and perspectives offered by the council members, we can customize our programs and services to align with their needs,” said Molly Murray, president and CEO of the Autoimmune Association. “Additionally, the council will develop strategies to raise awareness and educate their peers about autoimmune disease, fostering a more informed and supportive environment.”

The Young Adult Advisory Council members are:

  • 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

YAAC members will have the opportunity to connect with peers facing similar challenges, forge meaningful relationships, and advocate for the autoimmune community. Furthermore, council members will develop essential leadership skills, preparing them to become future leaders driving positive change within the association and beyond.

“With the Young Adult Advisory Council, we are creating a future where no young person feels isolated because of their diagnosis,” Murray said.

Congratulations to all appointed members and thank you for your commitment!

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