Advocacy & Awareness for Immune Disorders Association (AAIDA)

AAIDA’s next educational webinar: March 2nd, 6:30-7:30pm EST: “Understanding the Immune System & Autoimmune Diseases”

Register Here


Understanding The Immune System & Autoimmune Diseases

March 2nd, 2021 6:30-7:30pm EST

AAIDA and the American Behcets Disease Association (ABDA) have partnered to host board-certified rheumatologist, Firas Kassab, MD, FACR, of Charlotte N.C for our 3rd webinar in 2021 during Autoimmune Awareness Month!

Dr. Kassab will discuss the following during his presentation:

  • The Immune System: History and Function
  • Autoimmune Diseases: How and Why they happen, Facts about some autoimmune diseases

Dr. Kassab has been practicing rheumatology in the Charlotte area since 2010 and in October 2020, opened Articularis Healthcare-South Charlotte Rheumatology, an independent rheumatology clinic. Dr. Kassab earned his medical degree from The University of Damascus College of Medicine and completed his Internal Medicine & Rheumatology training at the University of Texas at Houston Health Science Center in Texas. Dr. Kassab serves as a board member and Past President on the North Carolina Rheumatology Association board and is also a Fellow member of the American College of Rheumatology, and a member of the American Medical Association and the Independent Physicians of the Carolinas.

Supporting Immunity & Heart Health: A Holistic Approach

February 16th, 2021

AAIDA will host Emily Hatcher, ND, of Charlotte, N.C on February 16th during Heart Awareness Month. 

Dr. Hatcher will discuss the following during her presentation: 

  • How the immune system regulates inflammation specific to the cardiovascular system
  • How chronic inflammation affects the heart and blood vessels
  • The impact that nutrition and lifestyle have on heart health
  • Simple and effective nutritional and lifestyle tips that can support cardiovascular health 

Dr. Hatcher is a board certified Naturopathic Doctor and owner of Bloom Naturopathic Wellness in Charlotte, NC where she helps her clients find and address the root cause to their immune, women’s health and gastrointestinal concerns. Dr. Hatcher is passionate about educating and empowering her clients so that they have the tools to create a healthier, happier life for themselves and their families. Dr. Hatcher received her undergraduate degree from Benedictine University and her doctorate from National University of Health Sciences, both located just outside of Chicago, and consults with clients all over the U.S.

Clinical Trials, Prior Authorization and YOUR Concerns

January 21st, 2021

Learn about the pros and cons of Clinical Trials and better ways to maneuver around Prior Authorizations with health insurance. Both speakers will conduct 45 minute presentations which will be followed by a 30 minute Q&A discussion panel

Guest speaker, Meagan Spychala, DrPH, RAC, will present:
“Clinical Trials 101: What to Know as You Consider Participation”

AAIDA’s Executive Director, Lauren Dunlap, PACS, will present:
“Tricks & Hacks to Navigate the Prior Authorization Process”

Patient Advocate and CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network, Tonya Winders, will conduct and lead a 30 minute Q&A session with participants

PANDAS & AE: A Community Discussion

October 20th, 2020

PANDAS is an acronym for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infection. It is an autoimmune condition initially triggered by strep infections, which disrupts a child’s normal neurologic activity. AAIDA has partnered with PANDAS Network to bring you this educational webinar.

AAIDA hosted, Amy Joy Smith, NP, of Orange, CA for our 3rd educational webinar of 2020 during PANDAS Awareness Month

Amy will discuss the following during her presentation:
* Introduction to the basics of PANDAS/AE
* Brief overview of the types of issues seen with some of the autoimmune and /or secondary underlying issues
* Present cases of children/young adults with PANDAS/AE
* Course of treatment for PANDAS/AE

Amy is a Nurse Practitioner specializing in Functional Medicine at Integrative Medical Institute of Orange California and has been treating PANDAS for over 10 years. She is a renowned pioneer in the PANDAS front who limits her work exclusively to PANS/PANDAS/Lyme cases, and takes a holistic approach to medicine with experience as a clinical nutritionist. She is also the mother of an amazing child with PANDAS and a dedicated PANDAS awareness advocate.

Following her presentation,Amy will conduct a 15 minute Q&A session with attendees.


*Special thanks to Diana Pohlman of PANDAS Network for her support with this webinar.

Exploring the Clinical Understanding of Behcet’s Disease

May 28th, 2020

AAIDA was excited to host rheumatologist, Delfin Santos, MD, FACR, of Rochester Hills, MI for our 2nd educational webinar during 2020.

Dr. Santos will discuss the following during his 45 minute presentation:
* Provide core information of Behcet’s Disease
* Describe major clinical features of Behcet’s Disease
* Review the diagnostic criteria
* Management of Behcet’s Disease
* Optimize patient care, well-being and quality of life

Dr. Del Santos, has been in private practice for 28 years and currently serves as Director of AARA Rochester Rheumatology Center in Rochester Hills, MI. Dr. Santos earned his medical degree from UCMM in Santiago, Dominican Republic and completed his Internal Medicine Residency Program at West Suburban Hospital Medical Center in Oak Park, IL. Dr. Santos completed his Fellowship in Rheumatology at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago, IL and served as Chief of the Department of Medicine and as Vice Chief of Staff at Ascension Hospital Medical Center in Rochester Hills MI.  Dr. Santos has also been on the Advisory Board for the American Behcet’s Disease Association for the last 20 years and is repeatedly named TOP DOC in rheumatology in HOUR Magazine Detroit.

AAIDA would also like to thank the American Behcets Disease Association (ABDA) for their partnership for this patient educational webinar during Behcets Awareness Month.