Becoming united: raising awareness globally on World Psoriasis Day

October 28, 2021     

As the world continues to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever for those impacted by a psoriatic disease to unite as a community and share information on the disease, along with treatment options. By uniting forces, people can have the right tools to support those with psoriatic diseases. 

To honor World Psoriasis Day on October 29, leaders from IFPA (previously known as International Federation of Psoriasis Associations), Frida Dunger Johnsson, executive director, and Janina Kostiukaite, project developer, sat down with Bristol Myers Squibb to discuss this call to action – and the continuous need to unite the psoriatic disease community.

What are IFPA’s priorities for World Psoriasis Day and how does this year’s theme of “United” drive action in the psoriasis community?

Janina Kostiukaite, project developer: World Psoriasis Day has become the leading platform for increasing awareness around psoriatic disease and driving political action. This year, we developed a petition to collect signatures from people with psoriatic disease and allies of those living with disease. The goal of the petition is to show the magnitude of unity and tell members of the community that they are not alone. We are stronger when we are united together.

Frida Dunger Johnsson, executive director: Throughout this three-year campaign, our final program on “Unity” ties the program together and strengthens our forces. Our goal with the petition is to spread the message as wide as we can and obtain 200,000 signatures by the end of 2021. For the United Nations High Level Meeting in September 2025 we aim to bring 500,000 signatures to advocate for a more inclusive noncommunicable disease agenda that takes into account the priorities of the psoriatic disease community. 

Frida Dunger Johnsson, Executive Director, IFPA

"The goals of World Psoriasis Day this year are to continue raising awareness and sharing knowledge of psoriatic disease. It’s important to learn about the disease and how it impacts people’s lives.” – Frida Dunger Johnsson, Executive Director, IFPA 

Janina Kostiukaite, Project Developer, IFPA

"Every voice matters, whether you are part of the psoriatic disease community or not, in sharing the importance of learning about the disease and the treatment options available to patients.” – Janina Kostiukaite, Project Developer, IFPA   

Looking to the future, what is needed to continue to unify and support the psoriatic disease community?

Frida: We are concluding our three-year campaign “Connected, Informed, United” to unite individuals, organizations and IFPA partners to speak out for psoriatic disease, so that the promises made by countries in the Resolution on Psoriasis in 2014 are converted into action.  By coming together, we can ensure that people living with psoriatic disease are supported.

As IFPA celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, we wanted to look deeper and share a new vision and mission for the federation by rebranding and creating a long-term strategy of uniting, strengthening and leading the psoriatic disease community. Clear communication approaches will help us achieve these goals.

To that extent, on October 25th we launched a new member portal with a library of resources for the community. Our goal for this important new portal is to close the gap between knowledge and action and unleash findings to trigger breakthroughs for people living with psoriatic disease.  The portal uses inclusive language on psoriatic disease that aims to foster a sense of community and facilitate better discussions.

Janina: Our priority is to encourage governments to step up their efforts to provide access to appropriate and affordable treatment. It is also important to build a strong community that can come together to dispel myths, because there is still so much uncertainty and confusion outside of the community. Everyone who can sign the petition and participate in our campaign will help the psoriatic disease community receive support.

What message do you have for people living with psoriatic disease?

Frida: Join our campaign. You are not alone: being part of a community fosters a sense of belonging that ultimately enhances and safeguards individuals’ mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Janina: The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone and IFPA is here to support you. We are all united and we need every single person to join our fight. This is the year when we unite, and we can achieve so much more when we are together.

To do your part and show your support for the psoriatic disease community, review and sign the petition here.

Bristol Myers Squibb is proud to partner with IFPA to help patients in need. Learn more about IFPA here.

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