Important Announcement from the IADPO Board of Directors

January 7, 2021

Dear Members, Funders and Stakeholders:

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the International Alliance of Dermatology Patient Organizations (IADPO), I wish to share some important organizational news with you. Our founding CEO Christine Janus has decided to retire from her current role as CEO.

In October of 2020, Christine signaled to me and the IADPO Executive Committee her desire to retire in early 2021. The Executive Committee met several times over the past few months and has carefully considered how best to assure a smooth transition through this significant organizational change – both in the near- and longer-term. We have worked closely with Christine and our Executive Director Jennifer Austin and feel that we have considered the opportunities and challenges that IADPO is likely to encounter in 2021. Our key objective is to maintain continuity, stability and momentum as the organization fulfills its strategic goals and expands support for our members, and collaboration with our partners, stakeholders, and other key global actors. We also recognize that while vaccines for COVID-19 are being deployed, a period of global uncertainty and impact will likely be acute for at least the next six to seven months.

We have therefore asked Jennifer Austin, IADPO’s Executive Director since 2016, to step into the role of Interim CEO, effective January 15, 2021. She is well positioned to ensure the organization’s objectives continue to be met without interruption as she has been a contributing partner in building and growing the organization. To further assure stability and continuity, Christine has graciously agreed to continue to be involved in the organization at a strategic level over the coming months as a Special Advisor to the Board of Directors and the Interim CEO.

Filling the permanent role of CEO will be overseen by the Executive Committee and is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2021.

As we close this chapter with our founding CEO, I want to express the Board’s sincere gratitude to Christine for her vision, energy, enthusiasm and commitment over these past five years. She was, of course, the one who conceived of the idea to form an umbrella organization for dermatology patient organizations, dating as far back as 2014. She then became the key driver in the establishment of our organization in 2015. She has provided inspired leadership resulting in incredible progress throughout her tenure.

Her legacy will live on as IADPO continues to support its growing family of 177+ patient organizations in more than 58 countries. And as we drive forward the globally unique GRIDD project, we will promote the ‘patient voice’ with verifiable data on the true impact of dermatological diseases. We will also continue to pursue our common goal of changing the way the world sees Dermatology so that patients have timely access to the care and treatment they need.

Every day patients around the world are indirectly affected by the work of IADPO through its member organizations. Christine has set us all on a noble path to improve the lives of the patients we all serve.

We wish her all the best and much health and happiness in her retirement. A virtual farewell event is being planned. We will be in touch with more details soon.

Christine has recorded a special message to you, so please take a moment to see her video above.

I invite you to reach out to Christine (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and share with her your good wishes as she moves into this next phase of her life. 


Simmie Smith
Board of Directors President
International Alliance of Dermatology Patient Organizations (IADPO)