Advocacy & Awareness for Immune Disorders Association (AAIDA)


Liquid Gold: An Open Forum On IVIG (Part I of II)

April 28th, 2021

AAIDA hosted speciality pharmacist, Michael Rigas, PharmD, for our 5th educational webinar and first “forum” event of 2021.

Dr. Rigas will discuss the following during his presentation:

  • What is IVIG and how is it made
  • What diseases can IVIG be used to treat and what responses and side effects are expected
  • What IVIG products are currently available and what are their characteristics

Dr. Rigas is the Chief Clinical Officer, co-founder and principal at KabaFusion, an infusion therapy company dedicated to managing IVIG and other chronic and acute therapies nationwide. Prior to joining KabaFusion, Dr. Rigas was Associate Chief Innovation Officer for Pharmaceutical Care for Geisinger Health System and Chief Clinical Officer for VITALine CareSite Pharmacy Services.

Dr. Rigas graduated from USC School of Pharmacy with his Pharm.D. degree and completed his residency at UC San Francisco Hospitals and Clinics in 1982. His areas of expertise include antimicrobial therapy, immunoglobulin therapies (IVIG), nutritional support, inotropic therapies and many others.

Dr. Rigas has worked on standardized coding for infusion billing, universal access via patient assistance plans and managing Medicare Part D issues in front of the California board of pharmacy and CMS regional managers. Dr. Rigas is a member of the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists, the National Home Infusion association, the American Academy of Neurology and the Clinical Immunology Society. Over the last 20 years, Dr. Rigas has managed or overseen the care of over 15,000 patients who have received over 20,000,000 grams of IVIG.

Multiple Sclerosis & Specialty Pharmacies: An Overview Of Care & Treatment

April 6th, 2021

AAIDA hosted Class of 2022 PharmD Candidates, Alexis El-Khouri B.S., Flavia Pasca B.S., and Larissa Melnyk, B.S of Northeast Ohio Medical University for our 4th educational webinar of 2021.

Alexis, Flavia and Larissa will discuss the following during their presentation:

  • What is MS?
  • Current MS treatment
  • The future of MS therapy
  • Prescription coverage

Alexis El-Khouri is currently a 3rd year pharmacy student at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) and is schedule to receive a PharmD in Spring of 2022. She earned her undergraduate degree, Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry, at Youngstown State University. Alexis is Co-founder and President of NEOMED’s Student Association of Specialty Pharmacy. In the future she plans to specialize in neurological conditions and autoimmune disorders.

Flavia Pasca is a 3rd year pharmacy student studying at Northeast Ohio Medical University, and is on track to receive her PharmD in the Spring semester of 2022. She earned her Bachelors of Science at Cleveland State University. Flavia is Co-founder and Vice President of NEOMED’s Student Association of Specialty Pharmacy. She is interested in becoming a clinical pharmacist and specializing in Neurology.

Larissa Melnyk is a 3rd year pharmacy student of Northeast Ohio Medical University with a background in engineering technology and entrepreneurship. Her goal after graduation is to use those skills toward improving specialty pharmacy opportunities.

Understanding The Immune System & Autoimmune Diseases

March 2nd, 2021

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

Firas Kassab, MD, FACR, 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 Wellnessin 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