ATLANTA, May 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — This week, Governor Brian Kemp signed legislation into law to establish a Rare Disease Advisory Council (RDAC) in Georgia. This advisory body will be comprised of a variety of stakeholders including patients, caregivers, health care providers, researchers, and patient advocacy organizations and will advise the Georgia General Assembly and other state agencies and departments on the needs of individuals with rare diseases living in Georgia. The RDAC will be tasked with activities such as conducting surveys to better understand common challenges rare disease patients or caregivers face, consulting with experts to improve access to quality health care, and compiling resources related to rare diseases.
There are more than 7,000 known rare diseases affecting approximately 25-30 million Americans, more than half of which are children. People with rare diseases face many challenges, including delays in obtaining an accurate diagnosis, finding a health care provider with expertise in their condition, and a lack of affordable access to therapies and medications used to treat rare diseases.
“Tuesday marked an incredible milestone for the rare community in Georgia. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Governor Kemp who signed the Rare Disease Advisory Council legislation into law. It is truly an honor to serve and advocate on behalf of children and adults with rare and complex diseases,” said Beth Nguyen, RN, the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) Georgia Rare Action Network Volunteer State Ambassador.
“This newly established RDAC will provide a platform for the rare community to have a stronger voice in the state of Georgia. These advocate-built councils are a great display of community engagement and partnership between families and the government. NORD would like to express our appreciation to Representative Mike Cheokas for being a champion for Georgia’s rare disease community by sponsoring this important legislation and ensuring it got over the finish line,” said Heidi Ross, Vice President, Policy and Regulatory Affairs, NORD.
NORD launched a new initiative, Project RDAC, in 2020 with the goal of increasing the number of RDACs across the country and helping to optimize existing RDACs. A total of 21 states have signed legislation into law creating a Rare Disease Advisory Council, including six in 2021 alone.