The Autoimmune Association Announces the Inaugural Young Adult Advisory Council

BYLINE: Colleen Kmiecik

Newswise — The Autoimmune Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to autoimmune advocacy, awareness, education, and research, announces the 16 individuals appointed to the newly established Young Adult Advisory Council (YAAC), dedicated to empowering and advocating for young individuals aged 15 to 25 living with autoimmune disease. This initiative reflects the organization’s commitment to actively engaging with young people living with autoimmune disease and addressing their unique needs.

“We understand that young individuals with autoimmune diseases encounter distinct challenges, especially while managing school, balancing their social lives, and beginning their careers. With the valuable insights and perspectives offered by the council members, we can customize our programs and services to align with their needs,” said Molly Murray, president and CEO of the Autoimmune Association. “Additionally, the council will develop strategies to raise awareness and educate their peers about autoimmune disease, fostering a more informed and supportive environment.”

The Young Adult Advisory Council members are: 

  • Abby Mann, 22, Chicago, IL
  • Allie Place, 19, Columbia, SC, University of South Carolina
  • Ally Woodard, 23, Santa Rosa Beach, FL, Columbia University in the City of New York
  • Alonna Kolobakken, 18, Minot, ND, Florida International University
  • Athitiya Singhapan, 18, Houston, TX, DeBakey High School
  • Ela Chintagunta, 21, Chicago, IL, Grinnell College
  • Gauri Lahoti, 20, Morganville, NJ, University of Pennsylvania
  • Gracie Bagdon, 23, Akron, OH, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
  • Jacelynn Rose, 17, Duchesne, UT, Duchesne High School
  • Jackson Tucker, 15, Cheraw, SC, Chesterfield High School
  • Julia Ellis, 22, Chicago, IL, Northwestern University (graduated)
  • Kabir Budlender, 17, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa, St John’s College
  • Kaye Anderson, 23, River Falls, WI, University of Wisconsin-River Falls (graduated)
  • Makenzie Kaput, 22, Plainfield, IL, University of Wisconsin-Parkside
  • Megan Tompkins, 23, Ann Arbor, MI, University of Michigan Medical School
  • Riley Romero, 17, Los Alamitos, CA, Los Alamitos High School

YAAC members will have the opportunity to connect with peers facing similar challenges, forge meaningful relationships, and advocate for the autoimmune community. Furthermore, council members will develop essential leadership skills, preparing them to become future leaders driving positive change within the association and beyond.

“With the Young Adult Advisory Council, we are creating a future where no young person feels isolated because of their diagnosis,” Murray said.


About The Autoimmune Association

The Autoimmune Association, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, leads the fight against autoimmune disease by collaborating to improve healthcare, advance research, and support the community through every step of the journey. For more information about the Autoimmune Association, please visit and connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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