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Identifying Knowledge Gaps and Unmet Needs in Autoimmune Skin Conditions

June 23, 2021 @ 11:30 am - June 24, 2021 @ 3:30 pm EDT

Autoimmune diseases cause a person’s immune system to attack the body’s own tissues and organs, including the skin. In the U.S., an estimated 6.8 million people have been diagnosed with alopecia, 18 million with atopic dermatitis, and 8 million with psoriasis. SWHR convened a diverse and interdisciplinary working group of basic and clinical researchers, health care providers, patients/patient advocates, and policy leaders for a closed, two-day roundtable meeting to discuss the health, social, and economic impacts of alopecia, atopic dermatitis, and psoriatic arthritis on women.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune skin disease that results in hair loss on the scalp, face, and other areas of the body. Often appearing in childhood, alopecia occurs in people of all ages, sexes, and ethnic groups, with a lifetime risk of 2.1% incidence. Alopecia is slightly more common in women than men, and there is a significant social stigma associated with female hair loss that can also lead to depression, low self-esteem, and poor patient outcomes.

Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema and can come and go for years throughout an individual’s life. Atopic dermatitis affects a similar number of girls and boys; however, studies have shown it is more common in adult women than men. Because common triggers include stress and hormonal changes, atopic dermatitis affects women differently than men over the lifespan. It can also present complications during conception and pregnancy.

Psoriatic arthritis is a condition involving joint inflammation (arthritis) that most often occurs with psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease that is characterized by patches of discolored and irritated skin often covered by flaky scales. An estimated 10-30% of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis. Women and men are affected equally with psoriatic arthritis, but studies have indicated that women have worse patient-reported outcomes for pain, swollen joint count, responses to treatment, and remission.


June 23, 2021 @ 11:30 am EDT
June 24, 2021 @ 3:30 pm EDT
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The goals of the SWHR Autoimmune Skin Roundtable are to:

  • Review the current state of the science regarding alopecia, atopic dermatitis, and psoriatic arthritis and the burden of disease on women as patients and caregivers
  • Identify knowledge gaps, unmet patient needs, and relevant policies that present barriers to quality care for women affected by autoimmune skin diseases
  • Develop recommendations on how to further research, diagnosis and treatment strategies, and patient and clinician education
  • Pinpoint opportunities to leverage innovation, increase access to care, and improve health equity and outcomes for women patients and caregivers

Roundtable Members

Kelly Barta, State Advocacy Project Manager, Allergy & Asthma Network

Stacie Bell, PhD, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer, National Psoriasis Foundation

Thea Chassin, Founder, Bald Girls Do Lunch

Eunyoung Cho, ScD, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Brown University

Shawn G. Kwatra, MD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Brett McReynolds, Vice President, Public Policy, American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association

Arash Mostaghimi, MD, MPA, MPH, Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Purvi Parikh, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, NYU School of Medicine

Rita O. Pichardo, MD, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Wake Forest School of Medicine

Leslie Stein Lloyd, JD, CAE, IOM, Director, Public Policy & Healthcare Economics, American Academy of Dermatology