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2017 RPF Scholarship Program

March 17, 2017 in Exciting, RPF News

graduation for sidebar The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation (RPF) is pleased to announce its third annual Scholarship Program supporting students whose lives have been affected by rheumatoid disease (RD). Offering support to people with rheumatoid disease is one of RPF's core goals, and we seek to do that through this scholarship program by providing financial assistance to people with RD.

This year, we are doubling the opportunity and will be awarding four scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each. The scholarship is open to U.S. students of any age who have a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis -- or who have a parent with such a diagnosis. The scholarship funds may be used toward any higher education or vocational institution. This means that the scholarship is not only available to high school seniors and current college students, but also to those looking to change careers or advance their education.

Applicants are required to submit a written response to an essay prompt, along with a completed application form. All submissions must be received by May 31, 2017. Winners will be announced this summer. More details about the scholarship program and a downloadable application form can be found on our Scholarship Program Page.

View Scholarship Details & Download Application

Click here to read about last year's scholarship winners!


This year's scholarship program is made possible through a corporate sponsorship from Crescendo Bioscience.
Crescendo Bioscience focuses on enabling more effective management of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases by providing quantitative, objective molecular tests (such as Vectra® DA) and disease information services to rheumatologists and patients. Vectra® DA is the only multi-biomarker blood test for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease activity.

Rheumatoid Awareness Day 2017: Proclaiming Awareness

February 1, 2017 in Advocacy, Events, Exciting, Important

Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day February 2nd

Today marks the 5th annual Rheumatoid Awareness Day as established by the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation in 2013, giving people with the chronic illness known as rheumatoid arthritis, or rheumatoid disease, a day of recognition. Because the disease is commonly presumed to be a type of arthritis, awareness is lacking, causing problems with disability accommodations, clinical care, healthcare reimbursement and research funding.

RPF has put together a list of ways that you can get involved, in addition to a myriad of awareness images you can find on our website or on Facebook, that are perfect for sharing and educating others through social media. This year, however, we have a big way that we can all work together to make a difference and help bring rheumatoid disease out of the shadows.

Proclaiming Awareness: Petition for a National Proclamation for Rheumatoid Awareness Day

The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation has started a petition to get a national proclamation for Rheumatoid Awareness Day. Several of our volunteers have already gotten proclamations made from their cities and localities. This year, we are petitioning to have February 2nd proclaimed as Rheumatoid Awareness Day at the federal level. Add your voice! Click below to read and sign the petition.

Add Your Voice - Sign the Petition

In addition to signing the petition, we are also asking people to write a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, encouraging him to get the President's attention on this matter. Vice President Pence has a relative with rheumatoid disease, and has himself participated in a fundraising event for the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation back in 2013. Due to this personal connection, we will be asking Vice President Pence to help push through our petition for a national proclamation. If you'd like to send him a letter yourself, we've created a sample letter that you can work from. Click here to view the sample and click below to send Vice President Pence a letter asking him to support the national proclamation for Rheumatoid Awareness Day.

E-mail Vice President Pence

Bring Rheumatoid Disease Out of the Shadows

Help us bring rheumatoid disease out of the shadows. Here are some other ways that you can help get the attention of the White House and encourage others to get involved:

    • Write a physical letter to the President and/or Vice President
    • Call the President: You can leave comments at 202-456-1111 or reach the White House switchboard at 202-456-1414.
    • Tweet a note to Mike Pence (@VP) or Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump or @POTUS) - encouraging them to support the petition and proclamation for Rheumatoid Awareness Day
    • Share the petition with those you know via email or social media


Together, we can work to bring rheumatoid disease out of the shadows and into the spotlight for greater awareness and understanding. Together, we can do more.

RPF Scholarship Award Recipients

June 2, 2016 in Exciting, RPF News

The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation has completed its second year offering the RPF Scholarship Program. This program offers students who have rheumatoid disease or who have a parent with rheumatoid disease the opportunity to get some financial assistance as they pursue higher education. This year's program offered up two $1,000 scholarship awards. We had an overwhelming response with more than double the number of applicants this year as last -- which underscores the need for this sort of program. The scholarship program required applicants to submit a written response to several essay prompts. We had many excellent submissions and would like to say thank you to all who took the time to apply for this scholarship program. We wish you all the very best in your higher education and vocational pursuits.

Our judging panel has selected this year's winners and we are pleased to announce and introduce to you this year's RPF Scholarship Award Recipients:

Kristine Malixi

Kristine was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2008. Since then, she has earned a Master’s degree in occupational therapy and is now pursuing a PhD with a focus on the quality of life of young adults diagnosed with rheumatoid disease.

"I am so humbled by the work of organizations like Rheumatoid Patient Foundation that are so dedicated to advocating for people like me. Together, we can take down the barriers of disease to build the brightest of futures for our community!"







Ariella Phillipo

rheumatoid patient foundation scholarship winner

Ariella Phillipo grew up in Upstate New York. She was diagnosed with Polyarticular Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) at seventeen months of age, and later developed Anterior Uveitis at the age of two. She has battled with her rheumatoid arthritis her entire life, but refuses to let it hold her back from a successful education and career.

She is currently studying advertising and public relations with a 4.0 GPA at Columbia College Chicago in Chicago, IL. She hopes to peruse a career in pharmaceutical advertising and strives to create transparent messages that inform and engage audiences within the medical community.




Congratulations to you both!  For more information on the RPF Scholarship Program and for information any any future award opportunities, please click here.

Click here to view our 2015 Scholarship Winners.

RPF Scholarship Winners

May 22, 2015 in Exciting, RPF News

RPF is excited to announce the two winners of our very first scholarship program: Amanda Jones of Montgomery, Alabama and Melissa Eller of Hickory, North Carolina. Congratulations! We had many excellent entries and we want to thank everyone who took the time to submit an application and essay. We wish you all the best in your educational and vocational pursuits. If you are a higher education student (or will be next year), we encourage you to keep an eye out for this year's Scholarship Program to be announced later in 2015.

Here's are a few highlights about our winners.

Amanda (Mandy) Jones

Rheumatoid Patient Foundation scholarship winner Amanda Jones

Mandy was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Disease in 2012. She is currently a senior in high school and is in the process of selecting the university that she will be attending in the fall.

"I am pursuing my dreams to become a biomedical engineer. I have been accepted to Saint Louis University, University of Alabama-Birmingham, and The University of Tennessee, with scholarship to all three. Take that, RA!"

Melissa Eller

Rheumatoid Patient Foundation Scholarship winner

Melissa was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Disease when she was in her thirties and has been living with RD for over six years. She currently works as an Activities Coordinator at an assisted living facility and is pursuing continuing education at her local community college.

"I wanted to express my gratitude to you all for this opportunity. I had given up hope on ever being able to become an event planner but now thanks to this scholarship I can say that my dream job is with in reach now!"

Congratulations once again to our winners! RPF recognizes the financial and career challenges often posed by Rheumatoid Disease. We are happy to be able to offer this scholarship opportunity to help support students affected by RD. Details about the next scholarship opportunity will be posted at the following link, when available:

by KatieB

New Scholarship Program for Families Affected by Rheumatoid Disease

October 20, 2014 in Exciting, RPF News

graduation for sidebarRPF is excited to announce a new scholarship program for individuals and families who are affected by Rheumatoid Disease. In our first year, we will be offering two $1,000 scholarships toward higher education expenses, to be awarded to individuals living with RD or who have a parent with RD.  We recognize the financial strain that rheumatoid arthritis can place on a family and the career challenges many people with rheumatoid disease face.  In light of that, we are happy to be able to offer some support to those looking to advance their education and/or change careers.

Scholarship applicants will be required to submit a short essay answering questions about their experience with rheumatoid disease and how it has affected their lives. All essay submissions will be judged based on content and quality, and two winners will be selected.  The scholarship deadline for this year is December 31st, 2014.  Winners will be selected and scholarships will be awarded in 2015.

Click here for more information on the 2014 Scholarship Program or to submit your application.

by KatieB

ContextMedia, Inc and RPF Bring Patient Voice to Rheumatology Offices

August 22, 2014 in Exciting, RPF News

Patient Videos in Rheumatology Offices

Rheumatoid Patient Foundation Video - The Faces of Rheumatoid DiseaseRheumatoid Patient Foundation is excited to announce a collaboration with ContextMedia, Inc. The ContextMedia:Health Network offers a patient education TV network to doctors' offices across the country, including about 600 rheumatology offices. RPF's very own Faces of Rheumatoid Disease video will be running across the ContextMedia:Health rheumatology network. Additionally, RPF has collaborated with ContextMedia, Inc. to produce a series of videos focused on the individual stories of people with Rheumatoid Disease. The first of these videos will run this month.

Rheumatoid Patient Foundation Resources Available to Patients and Doctors

RPF will also provide educational materials to rheumatology offices in the ContextMedia:Health Network. We will be distributing several of our brochures to participating offices. Individuals and health professionals can also request copies of our educational materials directly from our website.

Patients Supporting Patients in Their Doctors' Offices

Our hope is to provide educational resources that are easy to understand and to provide encouragement and support to others with rheumatoid disease during their time spent in doctors' waiting rooms. Rheumatoid disease can be confusing and isolating; and sometimes just hearing from another voice who understands can provide hope.

Share Your Story

Want to share your story? We'd love to feature you on our blog! Click here to email us and we'll provide some parameters to help put your story together and share your experience with Rheumatoid Disease.

Share Your Story


January 28, 2014 in Events, Exciting, Press Release

rad-ribbon 14

Patients Around the Globe Band Together to Increase Awareness for Rheumatoid Arthritis

January 27, 2014 – Thousands of patients are joining an international movement to increase awareness for the chronic illness known as rheumatoid arthritis, or rheumatoid disease, in anticipation of the second annual Rheumatoid Awareness Day on February 2.

Rheumatoid Awareness Day was established in 2013 by the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation (RPF) to address the lack of awareness for rheumatoid arthritis — often presumed to be a type of arthritis — and resulting inadequacies in disability accommodations, clinical care, healthcare costs and research funding.

This year’s awareness day is expected to have an even larger reach and greater impact. Patients in the U.S. and Canada have already worked within their localities to establish several official proclamations for the observance of Rheumatoid Awareness Day, and local support is being seen across Europe and in New Zealand. “It’s exciting to be contacted by patients, organizations, and even clinicians from around the world asking how they can participate,” says RPF President Kelly Young. Another positive indication that the day is gaining momentum is medical media reaching out. “We know that this is the beginning of something important – something permanent,” says Young; “to bring this invisible disease out of the shadows, driving much needed assistance and research.”

RPF is encouraging individuals and organizations to get involved in the 2014 Rheumatoid Awareness Day by joining the Facebook event created for the day; participating in an online chat on February 2, with Mayo Clinic rheumatologist Dr. John Davis; sharing awareness images and education resources; and creating their own awareness events. RPF is asking participants to share what rheumatoid awareness means to them and to show how they are celebrating awareness by posting photos and personal blogs.

Additionally, Crescendo Bioscience is providing a matching grant for donations to RPF, up to $15,000. Crescendo Bioscience provides quantitative molecular tests and disease information services in the field of rheumatology; it’s initial product is Vectra® DA, the multi-biomarker blood test for rheumatoid arthritis. More information about Rheumatoid Awareness Day and how to be involved can be found at

About Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive inflammatory disease causing damage to joint and organ tissues, resulting in severe pain, frequent disability, and increased mortality. For most patients, current treatments neither relieve all symptoms nor assure a healthy future. Remission is rare[1]. Rheumatoid disease affects about one percent of the world’s population, and Mayo Clinic says lifetime risk of the disease is 3.6 percent for women and 1.7 percent for men[2].

About the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation
RPF is a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with rheumatoid diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile arthritis. RPF was founded in 2011 to address a significant lack of disease education, comparatively low levels of research funding, and difficulty obtaining adequate treatment. RPF is committed to creating pathways to better clinical care and disease outcomes through education, awareness, and participation in patient-centered research. For more information, visit or follow RPF on Facebook or Twitter.



Kelly Young
PO Box 236251
Cocoa, FL 32923

[1] Prince, F et al. Arthritis Research and Therapy. Sustained rheumatoid arthritis remission is uncommon in clinical practice.
[2] Mayo Clinic. 2011. Mayo Clinic Determines Lifetime Risk of Adult Rheumatoid Arthritis.

by KatieB

2013 American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting

November 30, 2013 in Events, Exciting

by Dana Symons

Last month was the third year that the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation attended the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Meeting. According to ACR, this was the third largest meeting in their history, attracting nearly 15,000 doctors, health professionals and others interested in rheumatology. You’ll be hearing reports from several of our volunteers over the coming weeks, but I wanted to share an overview of RPF’s experience and presence at ACR this year.

RPF Exhibit Booth

The Exhibit Booth

This was our third year exhibiting at ACR. As in the past, we had a booth space in the Exhibit Hall staffed by a wonderful group of volunteers. The Exhibit Booth was a great opportunity for us to create awareness of our organization, share the mission and goals of RPF, and provide information about the resources we have available for health professionals. We had samples of all six of our educational brochures, including our two new ones about Methotrexate and Treat to Target. Our volunteers also had the opportunity to engage in conversation with clinicians and other health professionals, sharing information from the patient’s perspective. We received a lot of encouraging feedback – from those who were already familiar with RPF and our work, but also from those who learned about our organization for the first time.

Scientific Sessions

Each day of the Annual Meeting, there are educational sessions that run from early morning into the evening, covering a wide range of topics in rheumatology. Our volunteers were able to attend several of these sessions, and they’ll be sharing what they learned and experienced through that.

Kelly Young speaking on Patient Engagement

RPF Session on Patient Engagement

This year, RPF broke new ground by having our own speaking session at the Annual Meeting. RPF Founder and President, Kelly Young, had a vision of presenting on the topic of Patient Engagement at ACR, but there was a lot of work and steps to take to make that happen. At the end of last year, RPF created a session proposal outlining the topics and learning objectives we wanted to cover and submitted it to ACR. After review from the session committee, our proposal was accepted as a session with the American Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP). Kelly had strategically identified three key speakers to participate: Dr. Jeffrey Curtis (rheumatologist and RPF advisory board member), Elizabeth Riggs, PhD (registered nurse, RA patient, and RPF member), and Kelly Young herself (as the founder of, RPF and as an “experienced” RA patient). These three individuals combined to make a very powerful panel of speakers, each with their own unique credentials.

The ARHP Session was held on Tuesday afternoon. Despite being later in the day and later in the Meeting, the session room was filled! Dr. Curtis spoke first on using Patient Reported Outcomes in clinical practice and the importance of doctors partnering with patients to create what he called a “therapeutic alliance.” His expert knowledge, experience, and wit came together to create a very engaging talk. Elizabeth Riggs spoke next on Overcoming Obstacles to Shared Decision Making and she proclaimed a rheumatology appointment as truly a meeting between two experts: the doctor and the patient. Elizabeth used her experience as a health professional, her experience as a patient, her humor and her unabashed conviction to open the eyes of the attendees to the truth of this “vile disease”. Finally, Kelly Young spoke about Engaging Patients as Partners, dispelling myths about rheumatoid disease and exposing the truth about what patients experience. Her passion and her dedication shone through as she gave example after example of unrecognized truths about rheumatoid disease. Her talk served as a powerful anchor for the session, opening the eyes of the audience and landing on the crucial importance of involving patients in their own care.

There was a full crowd in the session room, and I am sure that not a single person left there unaffected by what they heard. The impact these talks made was evident from the feedback and interest of the attendees – and it gave many of them pause to consider how they can better partner with their own patients. Look for more details and video from this session coming soon.

RPF Research Posters at ACR

Poster Hall & RPF Research Posters

Another ground-breaking thing happened at ACR this year: RPF submitted two research abstracts that were accepted by ACR for poster presentations and publication in a supplement of the October issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (online only), an official journal of the American College of Rheumatology. Each day of the ACR Annual Meeting there is a GIANT room filled with hundreds of research abstracts printed on oversized posters. RPF presented two posters on Tuesday, based on survey data collected from our own patient community. Click below to download a copy of each of the posters.

Patient Survey Regarding Utility Of The Health Assessment Questionnaire Reveals An Unrecognized Aspect Of Disease Activity In Rheumatoid Arthritis: Consequences Of Physical Activity

Patient Survey Challenges Conventional Notions Regarding Symptoms and Experiences Of People Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis

We received a lot of positive feedback during our poster presentations, with many doctors recognizing the importance of our work.

Looking Forward

We left the ACR Annual Meeting (literally the last ones out of the building!) on a very high note, not with a sense of completion, but with a sense of momentum – looking forward to the next steps for continued research and education aimed at improving quality of care for people with rheumatoid disease.

Running for Rheumatoid Disease

October 15, 2013 in Events, Exciting, Fundraiser


RPF Members and Fundraiser Organizers, Kelsey Pence Russo and Kim Pence.

RPF members have done a great job of organizing and executing fundraiser events. We'd like to thank the Pence family for organizing this fantastic fundraiser.


September 28, 2013 marked the date of the annual Mill Race Marathon / Half Marathon / 5k in Columbus, Indiana. RPF member, Kim Pence, organized a fundraiser based off of this race, benefiting the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation, and in honor of her daughter, Kelsey Pence Russo, who has rheumatoid disease. Through this event, Kelsey was able to accomplish a personal goal of completing a half marathon.  The fundraiser also brought in over $4,000 to support the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation in its mission to improve the lives of people with rheumatoid disease!

Mike Pence rheumatoid patient foundation fundraiser

Mrs. Karen Pence, Governor Mike Pence and Mayor Kristen Brown (of Columbus, IN) at the race.





If you are interested in creating your own fundraiser event, please contact us to discuss how we can help and support your efforts!

by KatieB

Speaking on Patient Engagement at the ACR / ARHP Annual Meeting

August 19, 2013 in Events, Exciting

Each year, the American College of Rheumatology holds an Annual Scientific Meeting, bringing together thousands of rheumatologists and health professionals from around the world. The meeting lasts for several days and involves numerous sessions to present the latest rheumatology research, to enhance learning, and to offer professional development. For the past two years, the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation has had a presence at the ACR Annual Meeting in the Exhibit Hall, where we have been able to share information about our organization and share the patient perspective with conference attendees.

This year in addition to our exhibit booth, RPF Founder Kelly Young, RPF Advisory Board Member Dr. Jeffrey Curtis, and RPF Member and Registered Nurse Elizabeth Riggs, PhD will be speaking together at one of the sessions. They will present along with Theresa Brady of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, for a combined session titled: Enhancing Clinical Practice With Patient Engagement and Self-management Support Strategies.

You can view an outline of the session from the ACR Annual Meeting registration brochure:

ACR / ARHP session


This session will provide an opportunity for rheumatology health professionals to learn how to more effectively engage patients in order to improve outcomes. Patient engagement involves utilizing patient-reported outcomes in disease and treatment evaluation, using shared decision making tactics when determining a treatment course, and building partnerships between patients and health care providers to more effectively strive toward disease management goals.

We believe that doctor-patient communication is a key component to rheumatology care and we look forward to the opportunity to present on this topic at the ACR Annual Meeting in October.