Health and Research Ambassador Program

people with alopecia areata taking part of the NAAF Health and Research Ambassador Program

Volunteer as a Health and Research Ambassador

The Health and Research Ambassadors (HARA) Program seeks to engage, inspire, and equip a new cadre of patient volunteers. NAAF needs these volunteers to help collect and share insights into research outcomes that are meaningful to alopecia areata patients and their families. This program is modeled on the NAAF Legislative Liaisons program, but with a difference. For HARA, we are recruiting people who have personal experience with alopecia areata and also have educational and/or professional ties to the fields of research, medicine, or psychology (such as graduate students in these fields) or a strong interest in these areas of study.

NAAF launched the Health and Research Ambassadors pilot project in January 2015, as part of our effort to build bridges of understanding between patients and the researchers and clinicians who design and deliver treatments. Angela Rodgers, then a medical student who was also a NAAF Sacramento Support Group Leader and a Legislative Liaison, led the project. She developed and implemented a training program for dermatologists that focused on the mental health component of alopecia areata. Angela’s presentations to dermatologists at medical institutions throughout Northern California were very well received. One medical school included them as part of the core curricula.

For more information, see the HARA Presentation and NAAF Statement to Medical Providers.


As advancements in research rapidly progress, we seek to build an even stronger patient-centered research community. This is to help prioritize our research agenda and to direct research and ultimately treatments toward the most patient-centered outcomes and desired end results. Now more than ever, we are working to increase community involvement in meaningful and ongoing dialogue. We need this to build bridges of understanding between patients, researchers, and clinicians. We want to increase the number of successful ongoing research studies for the benefit of patients with alopecia areata. And for that we need patient involvement.

The HARA Program is an innovative approach to engage both patient partners and the research community. The ambassadors’ personal experience with alopecia areata, and their growing knowledge of the health and research field make them ideal ambassadors and liaisons. They can help gather information from patients and become an important and trusted voice within the research community. This allows them to push for the most meaningful outcomes and the treatment or cure with the most desired results.

We would also like to hear your ideas for implementing something in your region. Are there specific activities you would like to begin as part of the HARA program? Please let us know! For more information on the HARA program, please contact us at