NEA advocates for people and caregivers affected by eczema on both the state and federal legislative level.
Published On: Aug 1, 2022
Last Updated On: Aug 1, 2022
The NEA Ambassadors program is now 2 years old and still growing, with new members joining every month. The program includes 259 total members across the United States and continues to connect people living with eczema with opportunities to engage in community outreach, participate in eczema research and advocate for NEA’s legislative policy initiatives.
Susy Valle, NEA’s senior manager of programs, spearheads the NEA Ambassador program and shared some of her observations about the past year.
“Here at NEA, we all feel inspired when we see Ambassadors connect with each other,” Susy said. “We love hearing how new and old Ambassadors run with those connections to build meaningful relationships back in their communities, especially as those relationships often center around people with eczema helping each other.”
Susy mentioned an event this past winter when NEA Ambassadors Christy Cox and Claire Rozanski teamed up with NEA Ambassador and Board Member Lynell Doyle to meet and organize a fundraiser in their respective Michigan communities.
“It’s been so inspiring to see the transition that happens when a community member joins NEA Ambassadors and finds that they can – and are determined – to make a difference in the community,” she said. “I also loved the Ambassador pride I saw at Expo this year in Seattle. Our Ambassadors really feel like a part of the NEA family – and they are! So much of what I hear is, ‘I became an ambassador because I wanted to be help someone who’s going through what I went through.’ That spirit of altruism is really powerful and it catches on with everyone around you.”
Susy touted several new opportunities coming up for Eczema Awareness Month in October. “We’re also about to announce several new ‘meet-ups’ and awareness events,” she said. “So keep an eye out for more info about when and where that’s happening.”
In celebration of the program’s two-year milestone, we asked NEA Ambassadors to share a few quotes about their experience in the program so far.
“The best thing about being a NEA Ambassador is knowing that in some way, big or small, I’m part of the team that is helping to find and fund new research. The NEA Ambassadors program uses every opportunity to educate others and supports our amazing community.” –Patricia Cervini is a NEA Ambassador who lives in Washington, D.C.
“The best thing about becoming a NEA Ambassador is being part of the voice for people with eczema. Once I started speaking up about having eczema and its impact, more people I knew started reaching out. They would tell me they have eczema, too. They would say: ‘don’t feel alone.’ It’s also been amazing talking to eczema warriors and working with others to provide support and help meet the needs of our peers. Each of our experiences can go a long way in the medical community and our day-to-day lives in general. It feels nice to be that rock for others who are struggling, to understand what they’re going through, and vice versa.” –Victoria Li is a NEA Ambassador who lives Athens, Georgia
“The two best things about being a NEA Ambassador are the connections we make and our synergistic approach to making positive changes for people with eczema. I’ve made so many new friends since becoming a NEA Ambassador, and I’m always amazed at the diversity and strength of skills and gifts that everyone brings to their role as an Ambassador. Each of us comes from a different place and perspective, but we all have a common goal of helping fellow patients with eczema; and it’s so rewarding and fun to see everyone working together on a zoom call or update meeting or focus group. Each of the Ambassadors has such a passion and desire to help and contribute to positive change! I love being involved in such a supportive, welcoming and gifted community.” –Jim Hewlett is a NEA Ambassdor who lives in Davis, California
“The best thing about being a NEA Ambassador is the ability to live out my purpose every day authentically and confidently in my own skin. I have found my people and community and I’m not apologizing for it. This is a community designed just for me that understands me and supports me just as I am.”
–Turquoise Peart is a NEA Ambassador who lives in Chicago, Illinois
“The best thing about being a NEA Ambassador is being able to connect with other ambassadors (both in person at Eczema Expo and online), hearing their eczema journeys and being a part of a group that is bigger than just one person: it’s a whole group working to advocate and research for eczema.” –Jeremy Paredes is a NEA Ambassador who lives in Atlanta, Georgia
“I’m so grateful for all the amazing opportunities being a NEA ambassador offers. I’ve loved sharing my experience as an eczema patient for surveys and focus groups, as well as advocating for critical federal legislation and targeted eczema research appropriations.” –Christy Cushing is a NEA Ambassador who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah
“I love being a NEA Ambassador to connect with so many other Ambassadors who have become my friends. It’s very empowering to be part of the Advocacy Ambassadors because I advocate for eczema patients and help get new legislative acts passed. I get to see a real difference and results from my hard work. I also love being part of the Research Journal Club, where I get to discuss fun research with my friends monthly.” –Amberly Sanden is a NEA Ambassador who lives in Los Angeles, California
Read more about the NEA Ambassadors Program and learn how to sign up today.