Published On: Sep 19, 2016
Last Updated On: Nov 1, 2022
Meet Elizabeth Falkner, celebrity chef, restaurateur, and media personality. Elizabeth has suffered from atopic dermatitis for more than 20 years, which has affected both her personal life and her career. Through the Understand AD campaign, a national awareness effort focused on educating people about moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (AD), a potentially serious, chronic inflammatory skin disease,[i] Elizabeth is sharing her story for the first time.
Just as her career as a chef was starting to take off in her thirties, Elizabeth developed red, flaky, and intensely-itchy lesions on her lower legs. These lesions eventually also began to appear on her hands. The stress of running a restaurant, which as a chef requires constant handwashing, combined with the dry air and intense heat from the oven, created a work environment that was a recipe for disaster for Elizabeth’s skin.
Like others living with atopic dermatitis, Elizabeth’s experience is not only physically painful and uncomfortable for her, but can be isolating as well. Her hope is that by talking about her personal experience with atopic dermatitis, she can bring more attention to this serious disease. “I joined Understand AD,” said Elizabeth in a recent interview, “to empower people to have more open conversations with their doctors and loved ones about the impact this disease has on their lives.”
The National Eczema Association (NEA) is supporting the Understanding AD campaign to raise awareness and understanding of atopic dermatitis in collaboration with Elizabeth Falkner, the Dermatology Nurses’ Association, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Sanofi Genzyme.
“Understand AD aligns with our mission to educate the public and support patients impacted by atopic dermatitis,” says Julie Block, NEA President and CEO. “Unfortunately, there’s a misperception that atopic dermatitis is just a ‘skin condition’ that people can deal with on their own. In reality, it’s an immunological disease that has a huge impact on patients across all areas of their lives. We want people living with this disease to know that they’re not alone, that we’re committed to advocating for better care and treatments, providing support, and raising the level of awareness about this serious, and often overlooked, disease.”
To learn more about Understand AD, Elizabeth’s experience, and moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis visit Understand AD.
[i] World Allergy Association 2004: http://www.worldallergy.org/professional/allergic_diseases_center/atopiceczema/. Accessed: August 8, 2016.