Co-founder & Executive Director
Sneha is a junior at Indiana University. At age 6, she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which she has successfully battled with the help of several major surgeries. She founded the Crohn's and Colitis Young Adults Network, a nonprofit organization to connect young adults with inflammatory bowel diseases around the world. Sneha advocates with the United Nations for the third sustainable development goal, good health, and well-being. She writes for media platforms such as U.S. News and World Report and has been published by the Mayo Clinic and Center for Health Journalism.
In addition, she is a motivational speaker and has spoken on national television on Capitol Hill. Her advocacy efforts have been broadcast on both television and radio, and she was named to be one of the 33 most influential teenagers in 2018, as a Global Teen Leader. She also recently created and now chairs Indiana's first disability caucus and is on the International Women's March Disability Caucus. Sneha is overseeing the national expansion of the Health Advocacy Summit. In her spare time, Sneha is an avid wilderness advocate and enjoys mountain climbing. She most recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in December.
Co-founder & Operations Director
Sydney Reed is a patient advocate based in Northern California. As a teenager, Sydney was diagnosed with juvenile dermatomyositis, a rare autoimmune disease. Since then, she has also been diagnosed with lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS).
As an undergraduate, Sydney focused her studies on humanitarian and human rights law and participated in advocacy efforts against human trafficking and violence against women. In 2016, she earned her bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in international relations as well as an associate degree in social and behavioral science.
Sydney is currently an ambassador for the Chronic Disease Coalition and a young adult representative for the Rare Disease Legislative Advocates. Additionally, Sydney is a contemporary artist and illustrator. Her passion for art has become an essential part of maintaining her quality of life and she hopes to foster awareness by creating compelling images that reflect the experiences of those living with chronic illness.
Head of Strategic Partnerships
Maddy is a life-long patient and a policy wonk. Originally from New York, Maddy received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Central Florida. She moved to D.C. to work on her Masters in Political Communications through the School of Public Affairs at American University. At AU, she is a research associate for the Institute on Disability and Public Policy where she engages in research projects with the United Nations and The Pan-American Health Organization. She is also the current Chair of the College Democrats of America Disability Caucus and has spoken on behalf of the Orange Country Democratic Disability Caucus at events such as 2018 Florida's PerSisters Ralley.
Maddy had her first surgery at 18 months old and has been a chronic illness patient her entire life. Maddy brings years of advocacy, organizing, research, and campaign experience; and is excited to continue the work for patients like herself through the Health Advocacy Summit.
Gabi is 18 years old and is from Northern California. At age 12, she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, and subsequently Visceral Hyperalgesia. She receives infusions every 7 weeks, and will for the rest of her life. At age 13, she began suffering from debilitating coccygeal pain. After 5 years and many unsuccessful procedures for pain control, it was discovered that her coccyx dislocated every time she sat down. She recently underwent a coccygeal amputation and is now able to sit again!
Her experiences as a patient and love of interior design sparked her interest in Healthcare Interior Design. In the fall, she will begin her freshman year at Colorado State University, studying Interior Architecture and Design with a focus in Psychology and Gerontology. She will also be conducting undergraduate research in the field of Evidence-Based Design.
For her senior project, she decided to use graphic design to change the experiences of newly diagnosed patients. When she was diagnosed, all the pamphlets she was given were filled with dense, confusing information. Gabi has spent the past year working with the Stanford Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center to create a brand new patient binder that has all the informational resources a new patient may need. By creating a resource that is age-appropriate, patients will have a better understanding of their condition and will be better equipped to take an active part in their care. She hopes that her work will inspire other patients to take initiative and create a change in their own hospital communities.