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Scleroderma Foundation 2017 Patient Education Conference
Program and Schedule

2017 National Conference Program
Download a PDF of the Program Book
from the 2017 Conference

Friday, July 21 - Sunday, July 23, 2017
Chandler, Arizona

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Keynote Speakers

Andrew BotieriOpening Keynote - Andrew Botieri

Andrew Botieri is founder of Total Peak Performance, and a motivational and thought leader expert. He is a sought after speaker for organizations around the country for his business acumen and sense of humor. Andrew’s fast-paced career came to a skid in 1999 when he was diagnosed with systemic scleroderma and awoke from coma after renal failure and hypertensive crisis in 2000. As someone who realizes we all have a purpose, he had to get his message out so he wrote the book “A Celebration of Life - A Story of Hope, A Miracle and The Power of Attitude” about his struggles and challenges of living with scleroderma using perseverance and a positive attitude. Check out Andrew's website

Behind Every Dark Cloud is HOPE!

When we are first diagnosed with scleroderma, our thoughts range from anger, frustration to “why me”? The most fearful is the unknown. With all the complications that arise from the many challenges people living with scleroderma face, some days are better than others. But where do you find the strength and spirit to persevere on your bad days? The answer-HOPE! Join Andrew Botieri recount his sudden life-altering ordeal with scleroderma which almost took his life. Andrew will share what the acronym of HOPE stands for and how we must first embrace our disease before we can manage it. Join us Friday night for an inspiring and uplifting keynote.  

Karen VasquezClosing Keynote - Karen Vasquez

Karen Vasquez was diagnosed with scleroderma in 1994. At 23, she attended her first support group where the average age of attendees was 55. After watching scleroderma patient Sharon Monskey's interview on Oprah, Karen was inspired. Inspired to do what? Well, she wasn't sure, but she figured that just being motivated to believe she could live past the age of 30 was a start.  She spent her twenties and thirties in the civilian and VA Health Care System. Because of the rareness of her gender in the veteran population, in addition to the rarity of her diagnoses, Karen learned to advocate for her treatment. That advocacy saved her life more than once. It also kept her strong enough to survive the worst, and beat her illnesses into remission.

"Laugh at What Scares You"
Finding sunshine under a rock in the middle of a rain forest and other skills I learned while life messed with my plans

We never end up where we plan to be. Sometimes we'll give up, but we can remember to start trying again. It's scary and there's comedy in the fear that heals our spririt and keeps us going. We may not survive, but believing we can will help.


Grand Lecture

Aryeh Fischer“Evaluation and Management of Scleroderma Lung Disease” - Dr. Aryeh Fischer

This presentation will provide updates of the two forms of lung disease most frequently encountered in patients with systemic sclerosis (scleroderma):  interstitial lung disease (ILD) and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).  Given the significant impact that lung disease has in patients with scleroderma, it is important to highlight the recent developments in the arena of diagnostic assessment and advances in therapeutic strategies.  The objectives of the lecture are to provide attendees with a better understanding of the intersection of ILD and PAH in scleroderma, provide insights into the diagnostic evaluation of these disorders, and review the current management principles targeting ILD and PAH.   

Dr. Aryeh Fischer is Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine with a primary appointment within the Division of Rheumatology and a secondary appointment in the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine within the Department of Medicine.   

His specific area of clinical and research expertise is within systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) and autoimmune associated lung diseases, and autoimmune interstitial lung disease in particular. He has developed clinical expertise with patients referred nationally for evaluation of autoimmune lung disease. Dr. Fischer has served as an invited lecturer on autoimmune and interstitial lung diseases at numerous national and international pulmonary and rheumatology conferences and has numerous original research publications, review articles, and textbook chapters dealing with autoimmune interstitial lung disease.  


Breakout Sessions

Here is a sample of past workshop topics:

  • African Americans and Scleroderma
  • Caring for Yourself While Caring for Another
  • Disability: Understanding Your Rights
  • Gastrointestinal Involvement with Scleroderma
  • Scleroderma in Kids and Teens
  • Lung Transplantation and Scleroderma
  • Raynaud Phenomenon
  • Scleroderma and Pregnancy
  • Understanding the Psychological Effects of Scleroderma


*Subject to change

Friday, July 21st 2017

 4:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Registration

 4:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m. Exhibit Hall Open

 5:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m. Poster Hall Open

 6:30 p.m. - 7:15 p.m. Opening Reception

 7:15 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Please Find a seat for the Opening Keynote

 7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Welcome and Opening Keynote

Saturday, July 22nd 2017 

 7:45 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. Registration

 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.- Exhibit Hall (Closing for Lunch from 12:15-1:45pm)

 7:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. BUFFET BREAKFAST

 9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.  Grand Lecture

 9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.  Localized Scleroderma

 10:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. REFRESHMENT BREAK

 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. Workshops

 12:15 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. AWARDS LUNCH - Please find a seat so the lunch can begin promptly  

 2:15 p.m. -  3:15 p.m. Workshops

 3:15 p.m. -  3:45 p.m. REFRESHMENT BREAK

 3:45 p.m. -  4:45 p.m. Last Workshops of the Day

 5:00 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. BUFFET DINNER

Sunday, July 23rd 2017

 7:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.   Registration 

 8:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.   Exhibit Hall Open

 7:00 a.m. -  8:15 a.m. BUFFET BREAKFAST

 8:30 a.m. -  9:30 a.m. Closing Keynote

 9:30 a.m. -  9:45 a.m. REFRESHMENT BREAK

 9:45 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Workshops

 10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. REFRESHMENT BREAK

 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Workshops

 12:00 p.m. - 12:30 p.m. REFRESHMENT BREAK

 12:30 p.m. -  1:30 p.m. Workshops


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