Teenagers face many challenges, and growing up with a chronic skin disease called atopic dermatitis (AD) can impact the ups and downs and transitions to young adulthood. Sanofi and Regeneron, in partnership with the National Eczema Association (NEA), today launched the next phase of Understand AD, a disease awareness initiative focused on educating people about moderate-to-severe AD.
The new phase of Understand AD deploys a team of experts – a dermatologist, psychotherapist and peer living with severe AD, together known as The Understand AD Squad – into the home of Isaiah Dixon, a 17-year-old who has been living with severe AD since he was two-years-old. This experience with Isaiah and his family is shared through a video series and downloadable resources on www.UnderstandAD.com that aim to provide guidance to teens and their families on how to navigate life with AD.
Like the 400,000 adolescents in the U.S. with uncontrolled moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis,(1) Isaiah has lived with debilitating, burdensome disease symptoms including intense, persistent itching, skin lesions and skin dryness, cracking, redness, crusting and oozing.(2) AD flares are reported to to impact school life in 46 percent of 14-17 year-olds with the disease. Due to flares, teens reported missing an average of 26 days of school per year.(3)
The Dixon family has been impacted by severe AD physically and mentally. Throughout his life, Isaiah’s symptoms have caused frequent hospitalizations, school absences and emotional stress for him and his loved ones.
A new resource for teens and their families struggling with AD
“Living with severe atopic dermatitis requires constant care. My family has always helped me manage my disease,” said Isaiah. “Like many teens with atopic dermatitis, I know that I will need to start taking care of my disease more independently as I get older. The Understand AD Squad expanded my support system and helped me become more independent in managing my atopic dermatitis.”
The Understand AD Squad features eczema specialist Dr. Mercedes E. Gonzalez, psychotherapist Christine Triano, MSW, LCSW and AD patient-peer Tyler Berryman, who came together to each lend their unique perspectives of AD to support teens and their families on their journey.
“The Understand AD program aligns with NEA’s commitment to educating the public and supporting patients impacted by atopic dermatitis, not only physically, but also emotionally,” said Julie Block, President and CEO, National Eczema Association. “NEA wants teens living with this disease and their families to know that they are not alone and that NEA is committed to advocating for better care and treatments, providing support and raising the level of awareness about this serious, and often overlooked, disease.”
Visit www.UnderstandAD.com to learn more about moderate-to-severe AD, watch The Understand AD Squad films, and download helpful resources for teens with AD, and their caregivers.
About The Understand AD Squad
Dr. Mercedes E. Gonzalez is a pediatric dermatologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, where she serves as faculty advisor for the dermatology interest group. As an Understand AD Squad member, Dr. Gonzalez discusses the science behind AD and how teens can address this with their doctor.
Christine Triano, MSW, LCSW is a psychotherapist and Director of Mental Health at The Center for Connection in Pasadena, California. As an Understand AD Squad member, Christine highlights the emotional burden of moderate-to-severe AD and the importance of communication among families who are battling the disease.
Tyler Berryman is a young adult who has lived with severe AD since childhood. As an Understand AD Squad member, Tyler shares the lessons he’s learned from managing AD most of his life, and why he’s passionate about helping other teens with the disease.
About Understand AD
Understand AD launched in 2016 to empower and give a voice to people living with this devastating disease. Previous programs include A Day in the Life, which provided resources and a short film, written and narrated by Peter Moffat, award-winning screen writer and the Executive Producer of the HBO series “The Night Of”, that demonstrated the helplessness and desperation those suffering with AD feel every day.
The Understand AD Squad video series is the next phase of this initiative, targeted to adolescents with AD and their caregivers. Through insights from The Understand AD Squad experts, Isaiah and his family, and NEA’s Teen Steering Committee, the program shines a light on the everyday burdens that teens with AD and their caregivers face managing the disease, and ways to navigate these struggles.
About The National Eczema Association
Founded in 1988, the National Eczema Association (NEA) is the sole patient advocacy organization serving people with eczema in the United States. NEA works to improve the health and quality of life for individuals with eczema through research, support, and education. In 2015, NEA created the Roadmap to Advocacy, a refreshed organizational vision that would unify and stand up for patients, to pull back the curtain on eczema, a long silent and under-served disease, by revealing that the disease not only damages the skin, but also breaks apart lives and still further, poses serious public health risks. The strategic priorities of the NEA Roadmap rest on five transformation keys; break through negative stereotypes to promote understanding of eczema and reduce burden of disease; equip medical practices for a new era in eczema care; promote new models of care to better leverage resources; support a research agenda of high-value/high-yield projects; and, advocate for accessible and affordable treatments for all eczema patients.
About Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Regeneron (NASDAQ: REGN) is a leading biotechnology company that invents life-transforming medicines for people with serious diseases. Founded and led for 30 years by physician-scientists, our unique ability to repeatedly and consistently translate science into medicine has led to seven FDA-approved treatments and numerous product candidates in development, all of which were homegrown in our laboratories. Our medicines and pipeline are designed to help patients with eye diseases, allergic and inflammatory diseases, cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, infectious diseases, pain and rare diseases.
Regeneron is accelerating and improving the traditional drug development process through our proprietary VelociSuite® technologies, such as VelocImmune® which produces optimized fully-human antibodies, and ambitious research initiatives such as the Regeneron Genetics Center, which is conducting one of the largest genetics sequencing efforts in the world.
Sanofi is dedicated to supporting people through their health challenges. We are a global biopharmaceutical company focused on human health. We prevent illness with vaccines, provide innovative treatments to fight pain and ease suffering. We stand by the few who suffer from rare diseases and the millions with long-term chronic conditions.
With more than 100,000 people in 100 countries, Sanofi is transforming scientific innovation into healthcare solutions around the globe.
Sanofi, Empowering Life