About the Author

Charis Hill, AS Advocate
Charis Hill is an advocate for the spondyloarthritis community. Charis has been instrumental in helping to translate the spondyloarthritis treatment guidelines for patients; designing and conducting patient-centered rheumatological research; forming international criteria for disease treatment outcomes; and is consistently involved in nationwide/worldwide advocacy, awareness, and legislative campaigns to improve spondylitis education, funding, and access to treatment.

My Time at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting as a Spondyloarthritis (SpA) Patient

In 2014, I attended my first American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Meeting. two years after being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). I didn’t know what to expect, just like you don’t know what to expect while living with AS, but I also didn’t expect what I felt as soon as I arrived. Here I was, a patient, dropped in the middle of a huge medical conference.

The Power of Our Own Stories

As someone who has lived with AS for over half my life, diagnosed over a decade after my symptoms began; advocating for legislation to shorten diagnostic delays, improve access to treatment, and increase funding for research and drug development is close to my heart. When opportunities to advocate on behalf of the spondyloarthritis community come up, I am honored to speak out about the issues that affect the community.

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