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Global Vitiligo Foundation President Calls for Victory Over Vitiligo—First Stop, Insurance

Global Vitiligo Foundation President Calls for Victory Over Vitiligo—First Stop, Insurance

woman with vitiligo walking

In the past decade, support for vitiligo has come a long way from funding and research to the first FDA drug for repigmentation and representation in media and culture. But we aren’t done yet. And that’s exactly why the new Global Vitiligo Foundation president—Dr. Pearl Grimes—is calling for ‘victories over vitiligo.’ 

Dr. Grimes, who has dedicated her career to studying and treating vitiligo, is the Founder and Director of the Vitiligo & Pigmentation Institute of Southern California and The Grimes Center for Medical and Aesthetic Dermatology. This past fall, she also started her presidency at the the Global Vitiligo Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization representing an international group of researchers, physicians and advocates with a mission to improve the quality of life for individuals with vitiligo through education, research, clinical care, and community support.

And it’s a role she is quite passionate about.

“Vitiligo is a part of my soul at this point,” said Dr. Grimes at a recent vitiligo support group leader meeting hosted by the GVF. “I have literally dedicated 40 years of my professional career to investigating the causes of vitiligo and being in the trenches with you to move vitiligo forward. This really is my passion and I take this very seriously.”

The focus of her presidency is ‘victories over vitiligo,’ a new term coined to reflect the individual experiences of living with vitiligo and a call to arms to create change. For some, accepting their vitiligo is the victory. For others, learning about vitiligo is a victory. And for still others, seeking treatment and repigmenting is a victory. Every individual’s story may be different, but the Global Vitiligo Foundation is there to support each and every outcome.

First agenda item? Insurance coverage for individuals with vitiligo seeking treatment.

“We’re in a war and I need your help fighting this war,” said Dr. Grimes. “It is the ultimate tragedy that in 2024, insurance carriers are still spreading this myth and claiming that vitiligo is a cosmetic disease, denying you coverage for what you need and deserve.”

To tackle this goal, the Global Vitiligo Foundation is engaging both pharmaceutical companies and individuals with vitiligo to lobby congress. The key? Stories about living with vitiligo and the challenges experienced by those individuals, whether it involves insurance or not.

“We will fight this battle and we are going to win it,” said Dr. Grimes. “By the end of 2024, I don’t ever want to hear again that any carrier is denying coverage for any treatment or service to an individual with vitiligo because it is a ‘cosmetic condition.’”

To submit your story, fill out the My Victory Over Vitiligo form.

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