The Scleroderma Foundation announced that their national Board of Directors is merging the Southern California Chapter with the Greater San Diego Chapter, in order to increase the efficiency of their support and education programs. The merger was proposed by the chapters themselves and approved by the board, and the new merged section will be called Scleroderma Foundation of Southern California, starting on Wednesday, October 1.
With the aim of supporting education and research for scleroderma, a chronic, progressive and autoimmune disease, the Scleroderma Foundation of Southern California will serve 13 counties in Southern California, including San Luis Obispo, Kern, and San Bernardino in the north to San Diego and Imperial counties in the south. The delegation of the national foundation currently provides educational programs and critical peer support, as well as seminars, newsletters, and in-service days at medical centers in the region.
“The scleroderma community faces many challenges in raising awareness of this disabling autoimmune disease, which affects more than 300,000 people in the United States, and in providing education and support to patients, caregivers, and the healthcare community,” said the national organization’s board chair, Joseph P. Camerino, Ph.D., who is now going to coordinate the chapter’s activity. “The merger of these two successful chapters will only advance the mission of the Foundation further and fulfill our vision of a cure for scleroderma.”
The Scleroderma Foundation of Southern California will now be managed by the Board of Directors, including the directors of the two chapters. The Southern California Board president, Christopher Pettit, who will be leading the renewed organization, believes that the Southern California chapter, “will raise more funds and operate more effectively as one entity than as two separate chapters.” “Our goal is to find a cure and reach everyone impacted by this disease to offer the services and support that they need,” he added.
The Greater San Diego Chapter president, Bill Martin, will continue with his leadership position on the Board, while the current executive director of the Greater San Diego Chapter, Kelly Davidson, will now be serving as the new Southern California Chapter executive director. The current interim executive director of the Southern California Chapter, Jerold Kappel, is in charge of ensuring a smooth transition for the new structure.