Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is a non-profit health agency with a special focus on the research and development of a cure for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, as well as the better treatment of patients who are currently suffering from these two serious autoimmune diseases. It was founded in 1966 by Beverly Foster, a Portland resident suffering from psoriatic arthritis, and obtained its Charter and current name in October 1968. In the words of the former, the NPF’s mission is to “find a cure for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and to eliminate their devastating effects through research, advocacy and education.”
The National Psoriasis Foundation is now the most important patient advocacy group in the United States, and its influence is easy to visualize if you consider the huge number of Americans currently battling psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. As a matter of fact, recent studies have revealed that as many as 7.5 million US citizens, which is roughly 2.5% of the total population of the US as measured by the 2010 census, are suffering from one of these two serious autoimmune disorders.
The NPF has an entirely voluntary member base and, guided by a five-year strategic plan, aims to accomplish its mission with an integrated approach based on four main pillars, namely research, advocacy, education and connection.
On the research field, the National Psoriasis Foundation seeks to provide direct material support to highly aspiring research projects, while hosting and managing the largest database of DNA samples from people who suffer from psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
At the same time, the NPF is promoting a public policy agenda in an effort to convince the Federal Government to provide more funding for the relevant scientific research, as well as to improve patients’ access to specialized health care.
Patient and health professional education is another critical area of NPF’s activities. The old adage ‘knowledge is power’ holds exactly true in this occasion as well. Every year, more and more research is conducted on the causes, effects and possible treatments of these diseases; it is therefore of paramount importance that patients and doctors alike are always fully up-to-date with recent developments, and the NPF makes sure that this happens to the best of its abilities.
Lastly, the National Psoriasis Foundation also aims to raise nationwide awareness of the issues surrounding these autoimmune disorders. It is therefore making a serious effort to build and maintain online communities and support networks, and to establish and run mentorship programs, in the hopes of increasing the quality of life of psoriatic patients.