Volunteers and Public Input.  Patients are at the core of all brainstorming, program development, and project implementation.  In addition to continuous engagement and assessment of the patient population, we have three levels of volunteers who all contribute our success. 

Volunteers

Click on Co-Founder photos for links to current CVs

locations

IFAA became an official nonprofit in 2011, but it originated as an awareness movement stemming from a charity bracelet designed with the same beading pattern.  This pattern symbolized all people (3 silver, 3 black) working together to create strength (large red) and uniting as a community for change (single, darker silver).  We adopted this for our foundation logo and changed it to a molecular structure, honoring how it all began.

Headquarters.  IFAA's CEO works through 'virtual officing', which includes membership to various            co-working spaces and use of donated workspaces through local companies.


Virtual Officing.  When IFAA's founders developed the working structure, they took into account that the patients working for & volunteering services for IFAA would require extreme flexibility to accommodate disease activity & flares - including the opportunity to 'work' when they feel best.  Therefore, IFAA is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so those involved can participate when they feel best, and in turn, promotes heightened productivity.   We have helpers located all over the world who collaborate using online technologies.


"Grouping these diseases together will impact awareness, education, and research, as well as help expedite early detection, referrals, diagnosis, and access to treatments.  As a result, we can build a global understanding of these diseases, which will lead to better outcomes for those affected by these diseases," explains CEO, Tiffany Westrich-Robertson.  "I understand the need.  I experienced onset in 2007, but was delayed in detection, referral, diagnosis, and appropriate treatment.  As a result, I have permanent, irreversible, and unnecessary damage in my left wrist.  We can change this so future patients do not have to experience these delays, and we will."

Fun Fact: About the Logo

What makes IFAA different than other nonprofits?  ​

  • Disease Focus.  There are over 100 types of arthritis, and a similar number of autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases; however, only a fraction of those diseases have inflammatory arthritis as a major component ("autoimmune arthritis" or "autoinflammatory arthritis").  Furthermore, there are some "core diseases" whose symptoms are so similar that patients are often diagnosed with more than one of them, misdiagnosed, or rediagnosed over time.  IFAA focuses primarily on these diseases.​​
  • Problem Solvers.We use our role as patients to communicate with others in our community to identify the most pressing community problems, then we use our professional background in business development, project management, education, and research to develop and implement solutions. 
  • Global Network. In each project we implement a “Global Network” strategy, recruiting other community leaders, nonprofits, advisors, subcontractors, and our own patient volunteers to establish the best TEAM for implementation, per project.  
  • Organizational Model.  Since our leaders live with these diseases, flexibility was key to our functionality.  In addition to 'virtual officing', we are open 365 days a year, 7 days a week, so our leaders and volunteers can contribute when they feel most productive. Matter-in-fact, over 85% of our project work is "Sofa Approved" (can be done while relaxing, via computer). 


From the way we have created our unique organizational model that puts the patient at the heart of all we do to implementing projects that are changing the landscape of healthcare, we are leading the way for 'next generation nonprofits'.Learn more about our unique organizational model.

IFAA CO-FOUNDERS

IFAA Representatives with Dr. Richard Seigel & Dr. John O'Shea, Directors at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) team. 


The International Foundation for Autoimmune & Autoinflammatory Arthritis (IFAA) helps those living with autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases with arthritis as a major component by utilizing their voices to influence education, advocacy, and research.


IFAA does not represent the patient voice.  We are the patient voice. By joining forces with others affected by these diseases, in conjunction with a global network of collaborators, we aim to:


  1. Eliminate misconceptions about these diseases, and the type of arthritis associated with them (“autoimmune arthritis”, “autoinflammatory arthritis”)
  2. Improve early detection, referrals, and diagnosis, so timely and optimal disease management can improve quality of life, increase remission, and prevent disability.
  3. Lead efforts to expand patient collaboration and influence in research to improve outcomes and advance innovation in disease management.​​


mission