Virginia Dermatology Trainee Advocacy Day

May 8, 2024
Virtual Conference

Join the VDS for a virtual Virginia Advocacy DayThe purpose of Dermatology Trainee Advocacy day is to raise awareness about ways to get involved within the advocacy sphere, specifically as it relates to improving patient access to care and diversity within the specialty. Physicians and Trainees will be educated on the legislative process and ways to get involved at all levels from local, state, to federal advocacy.

Interested In learning more about our purpose?Use the link below to access the 2023 VADTAD Proclamation

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

The Virginia Dermatology Society is a community of dermatologists united in promoting leadership, education, advocacy, and professionalism in order to deliver the highest standard of patient care.
We strive to provide opportunities for professional networking, building local peer relationships, advocacy and a voice on local legislative issues, educational and community service opportunities, as well as leadership development. Residents and students have the opportunity to interact with trainees and attendings from other Academic programs and meet community dermatologists from across the Commonwealth.

VADTAD 2023 Proclamation

Meet the Team

Sanjoli Agarwal (she/her), VADTAD Co-Chair
Sanjoli Agarwal is a third-year medical student at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, VA. Prior to attending medical school, she graduated with a Masters of Public Health with a concentration in Global Health from George Mason University. Sanjoli is very passionate about public health and health advocacy and hopes to integrate these principles in her medical practice. In addition to VADTAD, Sanjoli also serves as a Medical Student Representative on the Board of Trustees for the American Osteopathic College of Occupational and Preventive Medicine. When she’s not studying, Sanjoli enjoys volunteering at the local animal shelter, photography, trying new recipes, and spending time with her friends.

Iain Encarnacion (he/him), VADTAD Co-Chair
Iain Encarnacion is a third-year medical student at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) in Norfolk, VA. He is particularly passionate about sexual and gender diverse (SGD) health, as well as racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare. He aims to bring awareness to healthcare issues affecting these marginalized communities with the hopes of improving research and cultural humility, and ultimately working towards equitable access to care for these groups. In addition to VADTAD, Iain currently serves as a Student Advisory Board Member for VisualDx. He was also previously a committee member for the American Medical Association Medical Student Standing Committee on LGBTQ+ Affairs. When he’s not studying, Iain enjoys cooking great food for his friends and family, traveling, and watching anime.

Elizabeth Rosenbaum (she/her), BS
Elle Rosenbaum is a third-year student at VCU School of Medicine. She graduated from Christopher Newport University with a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology. Before medical school she worked as a pharmacy technician and server while volunteering as a medical interpreter, inspiring her to advocate for equitable and accessible care despite socioeconomic or cultural barriers. Elle is passionate about providing holistic,integrative care to patients that simultaneously addresses mental and physical health, a mindset that she is excited to bring into her service as a current member of the US Air Force. Outside of school, Elle enjoys cooking, going to the gym, spending time with family, and watching an excessive amount of stand-up comedy.

Ashley Jahed (she/her), VADTAD Marketing and Recruitment
Ashley Jahed is a third year student at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine- Virginia Campus. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Neurobiology and Physiology and a minor in Hearing and Speech Sciences. After the completion of her undergraduate education, Ashley worked as a technician for Cumberland Valley Retina Consultants where she was able to work with four physicians to provide care to patients in underserved areas throughout Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Ashley is passionate about providing equitable and holistic care to all patients. Outside of school Ashley loves to walk dogs at the local animal shelter and workout at the gym!

Madeline Coleman (she/her)
VADTAD Marketing and Recruitment

Madeline is a third year student at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM-VA) in Blacksburg, VA. Upon graduation from Lafayette College, Madeline earned her M.B.A. degree in Healthcare Management from the California University of Pennsylvania while working as a Chief Scribe in the Emergency Department of three different hospitals in the Pittsburgh, PA area. Her time as a scribe truly solidified her love for patient-centered medicine. She hopes to bring her passion for equity and advocacy to her own patients one day! Madeline serves as an Honor Code Council member and a Student Ambassador for the International Association of Hidradenitis Suppurativa Network. Outside of school, she loves to go hiking with her husband, spend time with friends, exercise, and play with her sweet cat, Chester!

Darya Mirebrahimi, BS, (she/her)
VADTAD Topic Leader

Darya Mirebrahimi is a second-year medical student at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine (VCUSOM) in Richmond, VA. She wants to explore advocacy within all medical specialities because of her desire to increase healthcare accessibility and education to people from all walks of life. She honors the privilege to be able to work with vulnerable populations as a future physician and aims to create a safe and comfortable space for all patients. In addition to VADTAD, Darya was the Vice President of Internal Affairs at her American Medical Association (AMA) / Medical Society of Virginia (MSV) school chapter and sits on the AMA Women in Medicine Standing Committee. In her free time, Darya enjoys traveling, dancing, singing, and playing songs on the guitar.

Kayla Tran, BA, (she/her)
Fundraising Co-Chair

Kayla Tran is a second-year medical student at VCU School of Medicine in Richmond, VA. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Cognitive Science. Before starting medical school, she was a dermatology medical assistant, which sparked her initial interest in the specialty. Her current and past volunteer interests focus on working with vulnerable and underserved populations through endeavors such as nutrition education, food accessibility, and resources for women in crisis. Through her work, her passion for advocacy aims towards learning how to amplify the voices of those who have gone unheard and unseen. She currently serves as President of the Students Fighting Human Trafficking SIG. In her free time, she loves reading, baking sweet goodies for her friends, and exploring yummy food near and far.

Grace Yi, MS, (she/her)

Grace Yi is a second year medical student at EVMS in Norfolk, VA. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in biology in 2019 and from Loyola University Chicago with an M.S. in Medical Physiology in 2021. During her first gap year, she worked as a scribe for a Mohs surgeon, sparking her interest in dermatology. She then pursued prostate cancer research at Kerscher Lab at EVMS. Although she is still exploring other specialities, she is especially looking forward to learning more about pediatric dermatology. In addition, her other interests include bouldering, going to concerts, and playing board games.

Alexis Swift, BS, (she/her)
Legislative Lead

Alexis (Allie) Swift is a second-year medical student at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond, VA. She completed her undergraduate education in Biochemistry at the University of Mary Washington Honors Program. She has served as the Vice President of her school’s Dermatology Student Interest Group and is pursuing research in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Department regarding post-operative and chronic pain. She is passionate about advocating for vulnerable populations and currently volunteers with the Richmond YWCA serving survivors of intimate partner violence. Outside of school, her hobbies include crocheting, running, and spending time with her husband and two cats.

Nivitha Periyapatna, MPH, (she/her)
VADTAD Topic Lead

Nivitha Periyapatna is a first-year medical student at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) in Lynchburg, VA. While working toward an MPH at the University of Pittsburgh, she found a passion for advocacy and hopes to work to increase access to care and improve health education. In addition to VADTAD, Nivitha serves as the first-year representative for her American Medical Association (AMA) / Medical Society of Virginia (MSV) / Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association (VOMA) school chapter and for her National Osteopathic Women’s Physicians Association (NOWPA) school chapter. In her free time, she likes spending time with her friends, dancing, and traveling.

Emily Sheetz, MS
Fundraising Co-Chair

Emily Sheetz is a first year medical student at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA. She graduated from Old Dominion University with a double major in Biology and Exercise Science. Prior to starting medical school, Emily completed a 2-year Medical Master's program, where she took classes such as anatomy, pharmacology, and gastrointestinal disease alongside first year medical students. Afterwards, she worked as a medical laser technician, focusing on specialized care for patients with urological disease and manifestations. Emily is currently organizing a 5K run/walk dedicated to raising awareness for mental health and suicide prevention. She is passionate about education surrounding this topic. She also is extremely passionate about dermatology, and is enjoying expanding her knowledge in the field. She is currently serving as the dermatology clinic coordinator for EVMS’ student run clinic and as the Co-President of the Dermatology Interest Group. In her free time, she enjoys running, playing soccer, taking care of her two rescue pups, and finding out which restaurant in town has the best ramen!

Cosette Lim, BS (she/her)
VADTAD Marketing and Recruitment

Cosette is a first-year medical student at VCOM-VA. She studied Chemical Biology and Science Communication at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. As a member of VADTAD, she hopes to promote accessibility and diversity in medicine, as well as encourage health care professionals to be more involved in advocacy. Before medical school, Cosette was a medical scribe in the emergency room and a medicinal chemistry research assistant, where she developed novel molecules for chemotherapy and antibiotics. She was also the founder and Editor-In-Chief of her school’s medical newsletter and a research assistant for a STEM education research center. At VCOM, Cosette is the Vice President of her school’s American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians chapter and is also doing research on the vaginal microbiome. In her free time, Cosette enjoys cooking, working out, Formula One, and fashion!

Margaret “Meg” Mercante, BA (she/her)
VADTAD Topic Lead
Meg Mercante is a first-year student at UVA School of Medicine. She received her BA from Vanderbilt University with a major in Medicine, Health, and Society and a minor in Art History. At UVA, she serves as an executive board member of the Virginia Wellness Initiative, a group that organizes free health screenings around Charlottesville, and as secretary of the Association of Women’s Surgeons chapter of UVA. She is also a fundraising chair for her medical school class. To further her dermatology interests, she is involved in research on Hidradenitis Suppurativa outside of the classroom and sustains a patient-student partnership with an HS patient in the UVA dermatology clinic. Meg has had the opportunity to volunteer with many organizations in Charlottesville and enjoys using her passions for health, fitness, and cooking to volunteer for organizations including Special Olympics, AccessMed, and Cooking for a Cause. Meg also loves travel and had the recent opportunity to lead highschoolers on a summer expedition to Iceland. Meg is passionate about health policy and global health and is looking forward to working with the VADTAD team and learning from experts in the dermatology field.

Hour 1 Topic coming soon

8:00 - 8:05


8:30 - 8:50

More Info Coming Soon

8:50 - 9:00

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Hour 2 Topic Coming Soon

9:00 - 9:15

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9:15 - 9:30

9:30 - 10:00

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Hour 3 Topic coming soon

10:00 - 10:20

10:20 - 10:40

10:40 - 11:00

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Hour 4 topic coming soon

11:00 - 11:05

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11:05 - 11:30

11:30 - 11:45

11:45 - 12:00

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12:00 - 12:30 pm

Legislative Prep meeting
12:30 - 1:30 pm

legislative meetings

1:30 - 2:00

More Info Coming Soon

2:00 - 2:30

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2:30 - 3:00

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3:00 - 3:30

More Info Coming Soon

Final Remarks
3:30 - 4pm


Do you have questions for us or our speakers? Suggestions for improvement? Let us know! We greatly appreciate your feedback.

Our History

Use the links below to find out more about our most recent involvement in advocacy for Virginia dermatology

Interested in learning more about our purpose?
Use the link below to access the 2023 Proclamation

Registration Link

Use the above link to register for the 2024 Virginia Dermatology Trainee Advocacy Day Conference. We hope to see you there!

Find your district

Use the above link to determine your congressional district!

Meet Our Speakers

Topic 1 Speaker Information

More Info Coming Soon

Topic 2 Speaker Information

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Topic 3 Speaker Information

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Topic 4 Speaker Information

More Info Coming Soon

the issues


Health Care/ Insurance Transparency

VADTAD Position: SupportingSummary:Status: Senate (introduced 12/14/2023)Sponsor: Sen. Braun, Mike [R-IN]Cosponsors: Sen. Sanders, Bernard [I-VT], Sen. Smith, Tina [D-MN], Sen. Hickenlooper,
John W. [D-CO], Sen. Grassley, Chuck [R-IA], Sen. Coons, Christopher A. [D-DE]


Recognizing the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in higher education

VADTAD Position: SupportingSummary:Status: Introduced in House (07/20/2023)Sponsor: Rep. Marc Veasey [D-TX-33]Cosponsors: none at this time

VADTAD Position: OpposingSummary: This bill aims to remove DEI initiatives from medical schools by withholding federal funding to institutions with DEI initiatives in place.Status: Introduced in the HouseSponsor: Greg MurphyCosponsors: none at this time


Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act of 2023

VADTAD Position: SupportingSummary: To amend title VI of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide for greater transparency with respect to fragrance and flavor ingredients in cosmetics, and for other purposeStatus:Sponsor:Cosponsors:

issues 2023


Sun Safety, Children's Sunburn Protection Resolution, and Tanning Tax

VADTAD Position: SupportingSummary: This bill encourages parents, teachers, childcare professionals, and others to take adequate measures to prevent the children they care for from becoming sunburned in order to decrease incidence of skin cancer by protecting children. This resolution expresses support for policies and other efforts to prevent childhood sunburns, such as exempting sunscreen from over-the-counter medication bans in schools.Status: House of Representatives, introduced May 25, 2021Sponsor: Representative David JoyceCosponsors: none at this time

VADTAD Position: OpposingSummary: This bill amends the international revenue code of 1986 to repeal the exise tax on indoor tanning servicesStatus: House of Representatives, introduced February 9, 2023Sponsor: Representative Carol MillerCosponsors: Representatives Drew Ferguson, Andy Barr, & Mike Carey


Biosimilar Affordability

VADTAD Position: SupportingSummary: This bill intends to prohibit brand name drug companies from compensating generics
drug companies to delay the entry of a generic drug into the market. Additionally, it aims to prohibit biological product manufacturers from compensating biosimilar and interchangeable companies to delay the entry of biosimilar biological products and interchangeable biological products.
Status: US Senate, Judiciary committee, introduced January 30, 2023Sponsor: Representative Amy KlombucharCosponsors: 10 in total, none from VA


Essential Healthcare - LGBTQ Dermatology and Gender Affirming Care

VADTAD Position: SupportingSummary: This resolution expresses support for implementing a Transgender Bill of Rights that guarantees certain rights for transgender and nonbinary people with respect to public services and accommodations, employment, housing, health care, and other specified areas.Status: House of Representatives, introduced March 30, 2023Sponsor: Jayapal PramilaCosponsors: 103 total, 3 from Virginia

VADTAD Position: OpposingSummary: This bill places restrictions on the provision of gender affirming care. Gender affirming care includes performing surgery, administering medication, or performing other procedures for the purpose of changing the body of an individual to correspond to a sex that differs from the individual's biological sex.Specifically, the bill makes it a felony to perform any gender affirming care on a minor and it permits a minor on whom such care is performed to bring a civil action against each individual who provided the care.Additionally, the bill prohibits the use of federal funds for gender affirming care or for health insurance that covers such care. Such care may not be provided in a federal health care facility or by a federal employee. The bill also prohibits qualified health plans from
including coverage for gender affirming care. Further, plans that include coverage for such care are not eligible for federal subsidies.
Finally, the bill prohibits institutions of higher education from offering instruction in gender affirming care. It also makes any non-U.S. national (alien under federal law) who performs gender affirming care on a minor deportable and inadmissible to the United States.The restrictions under this bill do not apply to the provision of care under certain circumstances such as when an individual does not have normal sex chromosome structure, sex steroid hormone production, or sex steroid hormone action.Status: House of Representatives, introduced March 17, 2023Sponsor: Marojrie Taylor GreeneCosponsors: 38 total, 1 from Virginia

Understanding the Issues
from 2022

Issue #1: S.2633/ H.R. 5430 Wigs as Durable Medical EquipmentBill Summary: This bill includes medically necessary cranial prostheses (e.g., wigs) as covered durable medical equipment under the Medicare program.

Issue #2: S. 464/ H.R. 2163 Safe Step ActBill Summary: A request for such an exception to the protocol must be granted if (1) an otherwise required treatment has been ineffective, (2) such treatment is expected to be ineffective and delaying effective treatment would lead to irreversible consequences, (3) such treatment will cause or is likely to cause an adverse reaction to the individual, (4) such treatment is expected to prevent the individual from performing daily activities or occupational responsibilities, (5) the individual is stable based on the prescription drugs already selected, or (6) there are other circumstances as determined by the Employee Benefits Security Administration.The bill requires a group health plan to implement and make readily available a clear process for an individual to request an exception to the protocol, including required information and criteria for granting an exception. The bill further specifies timelines under which plans must respond to such requests.

Issue #3: H.R. 2256/ S. 834 Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2021Bill Summary: This bill increases the number of residency positions eligible for graduate medical education payments under Medicare for qualifying hospitals, including hospitals in rural areas and health professional shortage areas. Current law provides for an increase of up to 200 positions per fiscal year beginning in FY2023, with a total increase of 1,000 positions; each hospital may receive up to 25 additional positions. The bill provides for an additional increase of 2,000 positions per fiscal year from FY2023-FY2029; during this period, each hospital may receive up to 75 additional positions in total under the bill and current law. Additionally, one-third of the positions that are made available under the bill must be allocated to hospitals that are already operating above applicable resident limits. The bill also requires the Government Accountability Office to report on strategies to increase the diversity of the health professional workforce, including with respect to representation from rural, low-income, and minority communities. This bill requires a group health plan to establish an exception to medication step-therapy protocol in specified cases. A medication step-therapy protocol establishes a specific sequence in which prescription drugs are covered by a group health plan or a health insurance issuer.