The National Psoriasis Foundation was created in 1967 by volunteers. For more than 50 years, patients, families, friends, scientists and health care providers have pitched in to help our cause. Volunteering takes many forms, from following us on Facebook to running with Team NPF to sharing your story with the people who represent you at the state and federal levels.
In this series, you’ll meet a crew who, in their own quiet, steady way, have been working hard to help everyone with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Today: Michelle Strangis.
Michelle Strangis is one of those lawyers who decided early on not to practice law. She has instead used her training to reinforce her real calling: diplomacy. Strangis worked for 26 years for the Minnesota Department of Health on state health policies. She spent five of those years writing the first licensure system for occupational therapists.
Around the time she retired in 2018, she received an email from NPF asking if any Minnesota residents had been denied insurance coverage for a physician-prescribed drug. “That’s exactly what happened to me!” says Strangis, who has been coping with psoriasis since she was 35. “I had had a bad experience with step therapy. In that case, I used my skills as a lawyer, calling out the improprieties of the process, to help win my appeal.”
Strangis answered the email and instantly became a volunteer. “It’s always better to change policy as opposed to going to war with insurers, patient by patient,” she says. “I know how effective policy is at addressing large-scale issues. A policy is like a blanket. It’s for everybody.”
She hit the ground running. Her first patient advocacy event was Capitol Hill Day in March 2018. Today, Michelle is a member of NPF's Advocacy Committee and continues to advocate for step therapy reform at the federal level.
Strangis’ two priorities going into retirement were preparing to downsize and traveling, but now she’s added volunteering with NPF as she advocates for her own cause.
Photo: Diana Yepez