Lupus LA, a non-profit health organization, was founded in 2000 by a concerned group of lupus families spearheaded by world renowned rheumatologist Daniel J. Wallace, MD. With an operating budget of approximately $1.5M and a full-time staff of four, Lupus LA raises funds for our three core values: patient services, medical research and fellowships, and promoting lupus awareness and advocacy.
Lupus LA is dedicated to providing the lupus community with support and services. Our patient programs are unique and personal with both peer-to-peer and staff-to-peer individual support. Our Emergency Grant Program provides funds for lupus patients in the Los Angeles area in need of immediate relief for everything from energy bills to eyeglasses to dental appointments and much more. Locally, Lupus LA has an extensive array of in-person support groups, treatment referrals and patient conferences. On a global level, we provide the lupus community with virtual support groups, webinars, symposiums, Facebook Live Q&As as well as doctor referrals and guides for newly diagnosed patients.
While rheumatic diseases are on the rise, there is an alarming decrease in the number of rheumatologists in the United States. 22 states have fewer than 3 practicing board-certified pediatric rheumatologists. Eight states currently have 0. Lupus LA works to address this issue by funding rheumatology fellows at local area teaching hospitals including Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Our commitment to the future of rheumatology begins with these fellowships.
Lupus LA is dedicated to funding groundbreaking lupus research through our decades-long partnership with the Lupus Research Alliance (LRA). The LRA is the largest non-governmental, non-profit funder of lupus research worldwide and works to advance lupus therapies with the ultimate goal of finding a cure for lupus.
Lupus LA is dedicated to raising awareness by sharing with the world the realities of lupus, the stories of lupus patients, and the needs of the lupus community.
Research shows that there are currently 1.5 million people diagnosed with lupus in the United States. In Los Angeles County alone, there are over 60,000 people suffering from lupus and 90% of them are women. 1 in 3 are women of color. Raising awareness is essential for increased funding and knowledge within the lupus community. The Lupus LA Celebrity Ambassador Program has raised worldwide awareness for lupus and garnered over 3 billion media impressions over the last three years alone. Led by Board Member Toni Braxton, the Ambassador Program includes Michael B. Jordan, Sharon Stone, Melissa Joan Hart, Niles Fitch, and many others. Their support provides an important platform and opportunity to help raise awareness and save lives.
Lupus LA also advocates for our patient population by signing on to important letters, taking a public stance on key issues and meeting with government officials and their officers to discuss pressing topics such as healthcare reform, patients’ access to treatment, and prescription pricing regulations. Members of the Lupus LA staff and board advocate for better access to healthcare and other topics, such as funding for medical research. Lupus LA and community members also help to secure proclamations each year in May in honor of Lupus Awareness Month from communities all across southern California.