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Ayesha Patrick: Advocacy, Representation, and Hope Via AbbVie's Clearly Me Campaign

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Article

Ayesha Patrick, the founder of Sistas With Psoriasis, spoke with Dermatology Times about her involvement in AbbVie's Clearly Me campaign.

Ayesha Patrick, an advocate and mentor with the National Psoriasis Foundation, is also the founder of Sistas With Psoriasis, an organization focused on raising awareness among women of color living with psoriasis. She recently participated in AbbVie's Clearly Me campaign.

Clearly Me is aimed at empowering individuals living with psoriasis and spotlights patients and advocates, encouraging them to seek out the wealth of resources provided by psoriasis.com.

Patrick recently spoke with Dermatology Times to discuss her participation in the campaign and what she hopes people will take away from the photo-centric project.

"I'm taking ownership, and I'm making an active decision every day to live a full life, and I will not push myself down or beat myself down because of my circumstance," she said. "I will always choose the lemonade."

Transcript

Ayesha Patrick: Good morning. My name is Ayesha Patrick. I'm an advocate and a mentor with the National Psoriasis Foundation, and I also am the founder of Sistas With Psoriasis that focuses on bringing awareness to women of color living with psoriasis. I'm so grateful for the collaboration with AbbVie through the Clearly Me project, and it's been such a journey and a ride, and I'm just so grateful to be a part of it. I'm glad to be able to share more about being part of such an incredible movement of just showcasing who we are as individuals--and we're not defined by our condition.

Dermatology Times: How did you become involved with the Clearly Me campaign?

Patrick: I do quite a bit of work with the National Psoriasis Foundation. I do advocacy, and I do one-to-one mentorship. I actually became a part of this project through the National Psoriasis Foundation through my work and efforts there, and they coordinated this project with me, so I'm just so grateful.

Dermatology Times: What was your experience like working with photographer Lindsay Adler?

Patrick: The experience was incredible. I've never had an experience like this before. Of course, it can be a bit overwhelming. I will say: From the start, Lindsay made me feel completely comfortable, not only just because I've never done it before, but just taking it into consideration how I might feel. It was so many people and moving parts, and she was just so wonderful, and she's an incredible human. Then the ways she captivated each of our individual stories visually, it was so is mind blowing. But she is a joy to work with. She really made me feel incredibly comfortable and made me feel incredibly confident, as well, because she was giving me pep talks, and she was just a joy.

Dermatology Times: What was the significance of participating in the campaign, both for you and the psoriasis community as a whole?

Patrick: It's hugely significant for me, especially as a Black woman living with psoriasis, which, in general, many people of color are often misdiagnosed, or undiagnosed, or there's just not a lot of information out there for people with skin of color. For me to be a part of this project, and to be able to touch the lives of so many people who may not even feel like they have anyone that they can relate to, or understand them, is huge for me. Knowing that through this project, they'll be able to then have access to additional resources through psoriasis.com, is wonderful, because unfortunately, there are a lot of people that don't have access, don't have community, don't have different things. But knowing that this campaign will bring that for them, all they have to do is go to a website and start on their journey of support, is something that I'm so grateful to be a part of. To know that just my one act of just sharing can really impact so many people? I'm forever grateful.

Dermatology Times: How can initiatives like Clearly Me change public perception and understanding of psoriasis?

Patrick: Clearly Me can change so many things with how people view those living with psoriasis. First and foremost, and again, as a person of color, you often don't see a lot of representation, whether it's in commercials or what have you, regarding people living with skin conditions. The diversity of the exhibit, number one, is wonderful, and we all share different passions, different joy, different things, and you see that captured--but to show that we are still living our best lives, and we're not defined by this one condition. I think that is what is going to bring that shift for many people that see it, that it's not about: "Oh, I have this issue, and now I got to work through it." No, I'm taking ownership, and I'm making an active decision every day to live a full life, and I will not push myself down or beat myself down because of my circumstance. I will always choose the lemonade.

I would love for anyone, whether you're viewing or watching this to utilize the resources, go to psoriasis.com get the information, find a dermatologist that can help you create a treatment plan that is specific to your needs, and just know that you're not alone. Know that there these things are out there for you, that there's vast opportunities for you to learn more and to make valuable connections. I think Clearly Me has done an incredible job of doing that, and I can't wait for more people to learn about the campaign.

[Transcript has been edited for clarity.]

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