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The Autoimmune Connection
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If autoimmune diseases were an employer, they would be sued for gender discrimination.

That’s because of the 50 million Americans who suffer with ADs, more than 75 percent are women –individuals who routinely have difficulty getting a correct diagnosis and are often labeled "crazy" and "chronic complainers" by their doctors.

Taken together, ADs strike women three times more than men, though some diseases have an even higher incidence in women. In the U.S., ADs have been cited as one of the top 10 leading causes of all deaths among women age 65 and younger, they represent the fourth largest cause of disability among women and are responsible for more than $100 billion in directly health care costs annually.

Our guest this week is ward-winning medical/health journalistand health educator Rita Baron-Faust, co-author of The Autoimmune Connection, Essential Information for Women on Diagnosis, Treatment, and Getting on With Your Life. She will discuss the signs and symptoms of AD, and how women can take back control of their lives and the disease through new research and understanding of autoimmune diseases.

Episode Segments:
Rita Baron-Faust
Rita Baron Faust, co-author of the The Autoimmune Connection joins us to talk about the different types of autoimmune diseases that afflict women, some of the warning signs of them, and how they are treated.
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Links to Related Websites:
The Autoimmune Connection: Essential Information For Women On Diagnosis, Treatment, And Getting On With Your Life
The Autoimmune Connection explains the links between autoimmune diseases and offers up-to-date information on diagnosis, treatments, and risks for women with one or more autoimmune disease, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or Crohn's disease.

The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA)
The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association is dedicated to the eradication of autoimmune diseases and the alleviation of suffering and the socioeconomic impact of autoimmunity through fostering and facilitating collaboration in the areas of education, public awareness, research, and patient services in an effective, ethical and efficient manner.

Guest(s) Appearing on this Episode
Rita Baron-Faust
I am very fortunate to be able to combine my passions for medicine and writing in an active and varied career as a health educator, medical journalist, book author, researcher, and public speaker around the country.

I have a Master's Degree in Urban Public Health/​Community Health Education from Hunter College and am a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). This has enabled me to work one-on-one with people to help motivate behavior changes to improve their health. I hope to take on more new challenges in today's rapidly evolving healthcare environment.

I am the recipient of more than two dozen awards for medical journalism and consumer health writing, and an author or co-author of six books on women’s health, ranging from mental health to heart disease. My special areas of interest include the effect of culture on health, intimate partner violence, aging issues, and translational medical research.

My most recent book, The Autoimmune Connection: Essential Information for Women on Diagnosis, Treatment, and Getting on with Your Life," (McGraw-Hill) was lauded by The New York Times and recommended by the National Women’s Health Resources Center and the Society for Women’s Health Research. A fully updated second edition has just been published.

I was honored to be among leading experts in women’s health invited to contribute to The Savvy Woman Patient: How and Why Sex Differences Affect Your Health, published by the Society for Women’s Health Research and Capital Books.


In Fall 2014, I joined the faculty of St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY, as an adjunct professor. My current courses include "Contemporary Health Issues" and "Death, Dying, and Grieving." I also teach "Introduction to Human Biology" to non-science majors at the college.

This year is the 15th year I've been a national educational speaker for the Autoimmune Diseases Association (AARDA). Our 2016 series of patient forums kicked off in Tallahassee, Florida, on February 20, 2016.

I have also provided work site wellness talks and health counseling at biometric screening clinics for Impact Health, Inc and Summit Health, Inc, and offer lunch 'n learn health presentations for private clients through my own company, "Speaking of Wellness Now."

I am a board member of Science Writers in New York (SWINY), and a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the National Association of Science Writers, and the Authors Guild.


My writing career spans every media from wire service to Web.

I have been a regular contributor to the, keeping on top of rheumatology, bone disease, autoimmunity, and other topics in specialty journals and at medical conferences, for UBM Medica USA.

As a contributing writer for​Aging with Attitude since 2011, I have been reporting on a variety of vital aging-related issues, including polypharmacy, falls prevention, and dementia. is an offshoot of the federally-funded Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) project in New York City.

I served as a contributing writer and editor for MedPage, a respected 24-hour online medical news service providing daily, peer-reviewed reports on clinical studies, meetings, and breaking medical news. For the site, I also created special clinical resource centers and worked as an associate/​weekend editor. My work has appeared online for other sites such as WebMD, Medscape, and

Previously, I was a medical editor for City Health Information (CHI), the flagship newsletter of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, now distributed online to up to 150,000 health care providers. During my years at the NYC DOHMH, I was also a volunteer member of the agency’s Women’s Health Committee and Task Force on Domestic Violence, an issue I care deeply about.

For seven years, I served as the editor of the Weill Cornell Women’s Health Advisor and the Weill Cornell Food and Fitness Advisor newsletters and have also been a producer for radio and television news, including 10 years as writing and producing the award-winning “Report on Medicine” for WCBS News Radio 88 in New York City.

My work has appeared in many national consumer magazines including Scientific American Presents, Woman’s Day, Redbook, McCall’s, More Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Child,(finalist, National Magazine Award), and American Health, for which I also served as a Contributing Editor. I have also contributed to academic and professional journals and publications, including the Anthropology News, the BMJ (British Medical Journal), Medical Tribune, Ophthalmology World News, and Women's Health Weekly.

I had the great privilege to begin my journalism career at the Associated Press in New York City.

Learn More About Rita at her website