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2023 Commit to Cure Gala: Many Voices, One Mission. Honoree Abby S. Van Voorhees, M.D.
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Many Voices, One Mission: Dr. Abby Van Voorhees

A deep dive into the many contributions of this Commit to Cure Gala honoree.

On April 29, 2023, hundreds of members of the community impacted by psoriatic disease will gather at the Commit to Cure Gala: Many Voices, One Mission in Washington D.C.

They will honor the leadership and contributions of Nehal N. Mehta, M.D., MSCE, FAHA, Abby S. Van Voorhees, M.D., and Sam Lichten, a National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) youth ambassador.

In preparation for this annual fundraising event, let’s look back on some of the stories each of the honorees have shared with NPF in the past. Today, we’ll revisit the stories, articles, and podcasts with which Dr. Van Voorhees has been kind enough to assist NPF over the years.

The Truth About the Celery Juice Fad

March 2019 I By Chris Paoli I Read the article

When ultra-famous reality star Kim Kardashian made public claims about the impact of celery juice on the appearance of her psoriasis, the world was listening. Millions of people searched for celery juice remedies originally popularized by Anthony William, who calls himself the Medical Medium.

Luckily, the people of this community have a voice of reason to clarify the science behind claims made by Kardashian and Williams.

“There’s not a whole lot of medical evidence for what is being said about celery juice,” said Dr. Van Voorhees, then serving as the NPF Medical Board Chair.

“It won’t hurt anybody to drink celery juice. I just don’t know if it’s going to make anything better,” said Dr. Van Voorhees. “People have wondered for years about what really triggers psoriasis. There are cases where infections do trigger psoriasis. But from a medical perspective, celery does not improve the infections in the body that could be the triggers for these flares.”

Flaring Up Down Below with Psoriasis

May 2019 I by Chris Paoli I Read the article

No one wants to talk to their health care provider about genital psoriasis. It can feel embarrassing. Even the thought of exposing those areas to the gaze of a dermatologist can be traumatic. Yet genital psoriasis will impact about 1 in 4 of all those with psoriasis, and the impacts can be very outsized. These are areas where the skin is highly sensitive, and friction in skin folds or from fabrics can create incredible pain.

Dr. Van Voorhees makes sure to ask her patients the tough questions, and she encourages other health care providers to do the same because she knows it is for the betterment of a person’s health. “I’ll ask patients if they have any psoriasis on the genitalia or on the rectum and then they will look at me a little sheepishly and say, ‘Actually, I do.’ I then say, ‘May I see it?’ They then usually hesitate and ask, ‘Well, do I really have to? I’m embarrassed.’” said Dr. Van Voorhees. She often must convince people that she does indeed need to see their genital psoriasis so that she can properly diagnose it and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

In 2017, a study was published that reported 45.8% of people with psoriasis do not discuss their genital psoriasis with a health care provider. They cited embarrassment as their top reason. If you have questions about genital psoriasis, contact the NPF Patient Navigation Center or your health care provider. Don’t let embarrassment lead to pain and complications.

The Facts and Fiction Behind Winter Flares

December 2018 | Read the article

Seasonal psoriasis flares are familiar to far too many people. In a 2018 survey, about 40% of the 3,202 participants surveyed said that winter was the season that most aggravates their disease. As Dr. Van Voorhees explained, we don’t yet have a scientific understanding of why winter might induce flares, but we know that it happens.

“If you ask most [dermatologists], they’ll tell you that a great many of their patients flare in the winter,” Dr. Van Voorhees shared. “Our theory is that a diminished amount of ultraviolet light is behind the flares. This is why artificial UV light is hugely helpful. But we still don’t have a true understanding of how this works.”

“In the old days we often suggested moving to sunnier climes to our psoriasis patients, but that’s not necessary now given the prevalence of UV treatment – in a doctor’s office or in your own home – and all of the other treatments available today,” she added.

So what should you do now if you are challenged by winter flares? According to Dr. Van Voorhees, getting on the right treatment and working with your health care provider to help them understand your unique experience of psoriasis is essential. “If I’m building a dam across a calm river, a dam 10 feet tall might be perfect,” she said. “But if I’m building a dam across the Mississippi, which is filled with raging waters after a storm, that 10-foot dam might not be adequate. It depends on each patient.”

Read, Watch, or Listen

This was only a small sampling of the articles and educational materials where Dr. Van Voorhees lent her expertise to this community. She has also been an instructor, educator, mentor, Medical Board Chair, Psound Bytes™ podcast guest, and so much more in her decades of partnering with NPF.

As detailed as the list below is, we couldn’t capture the true impact Dr. Van Voorhees has on this community and on NPF as an organization.

Read, watch, or listen to more from Dr. Van Voorhees, and remember, you can make a gift in honor of her and all the leaders who raise their voices for this community.

Listen: Psound Bytes™ Podcast



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Inspired? You can give today in honor of all Dr. Van Voorhees has done for this community.

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