On October 6, 2015, NIAMS Director Stephen Katz, M.D., Ph.D., participated in a Congressional briefing sponsored by the Scleroderma Foundation. Scleroderma is an umbrella term for a group of autoimmune rheumatic and connective tissue diseases characterized by a buildup of collagen within the skin or internal organs, potentially interfering with their functioning.
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) attended the briefing and spoke about the importance of continued support for NIH. Robert Riggs, CEO of the Scleroderma Foundation, presented the Senator with a public service award from the Foundation. Senators Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) were also honored with awards. Dr. Katz provided the group of approximately 80 advocates and Congressional staffers with an update on recent progress and opportunities in scleroderma research. In addition, Rosemary Markoff, Treasurer of the Tri-State chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation (serving New York, northern New Jersey, and Connecticut) and a person living with scleroderma, told the story of her diagnosis, treatment, and activism.