A Capitol Time in DC!
2012 NAAF Conference an Unqualified Success
Held over the course of four event-packed days at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, this year’s National Alopecia Areata Foundation Conference attracted over 850 registered attendees from 42 states and six foreign nations. Of those attendees, 360 were VIP’s, i.e. those attending their first conference.
Take a look at a handful of photos from this year's conference>>> We have even more than this so check again for updates to this photoalbum.
Advocacy Day Accomplished Its Goals
Befitting the setting, the Conference centerpiece was Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. Some 600 attendees, including many children, marched to the hill on a refreshingly (and surprisingly) cool Friday morning to have their photo taken on the East Capitol Steps and make their voices heard over the course of 200 appointments with their Senators and Congressional Representatives. Issues most important to the NAAF community are $32 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), guidance on alopecia areata treatment development from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which would lead to significant industry investment in alopecia areata research, and support of the MODDERN Cures Act (H.R. 3497), bipartisan legislation that encourages the development of innovative treatment options and diagnostic tests for conditions that currently lack in these areas. Esteemed Congresswoman Jackie Speier, representing California’s 12th congressional district, inspired the NAAF advocates with a stirring address. She is also the Democratic lead on NAAF’s letter to the FDA, her Republican counterpart being Congressman Bob Dold of Illinois.
Pennsylvania Team meeting with Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick
Tortoise & Hair™ Walk
There was plenty of fun and learning to be had for all ages, including NAAF’s famous Tortoise & Hair™ walk which raised money for alopecia areata research while encouraging attendees to tour their nation’s capital and its inspiring sights.
Exhibitors, Alopecia Areata Marketplace and Cosmetics Presentations
Shoppers could sample and purchase the latest alopecia areata-related products from the myriad exhibitor displays and marketplace vendors.
Medical and Research Sessions
Practical workshops included a cosmetic demonstration with live models, and an awareness seminar featuring event coordinators from around the country offering their expertise. Dr. Julian Mackay-Wiggin, Director of the Dermatology Clinical Research Unit in New York, provided a fascinating lecture on the clinical aspects of alopecia areata and the state of present and future therapies, while Dr, Maria Hordinsky, Chair of the NAAF Scientific Advisory Council, gave an informative update on the Alopecia Areata Treatment Development Program. The doctors also participated in Ask the Experts, a one-of-a-kind Q&A session where attendees could present their questions to a panel of the nation’s premiere alopecia areata researchers. These will be posted on our website in the fall.
Children’s, Tweens & Teens Camp
Perhaps the most memorable aspect of any Conference is the multitude of kids, both those with alopecia areata and their supportive siblings. This year was no different as children ages 5-17 had a boisterous good time while making new friends and memories at the Conference Camp. These kids come back year after year, and we have the special privilege of seeing them grow into young adulthood.
At the 2012 Conference, attendees thrilled to presentations from Nashville recording artist Becky Hibbs and young filmmaker Kelci Parker, both who have alopecia areata and grew up with NAAF.
Silent Auction & Dance Party
A silent auction raised funds with an array of highly coveted prizes, and a dessert dance party combined music, ice cream and partying down into one memorable blowout of a Saturday night.
Sunday climaxed with a closing session featuring prizes for most Tortoise & Hair™ pledges, most steps taken (pedometers were issued at opening registration), and best dancing, followed by a surprise tribute and slideshow for NAAF President and CEO Vicki Kalabokes celebrating her 25 years heading the organization.
Can’t Wait Until Next Year
As Conference attendees hugged, cried, and bade each other goodbye, the prevailing question on everyone’s lips was, When are we doing this again? The answer: June 27 - June 30, 2013, in St. Louis, Missouri at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch.
Registration will be available January 2013.