Student Appointed to Ohio Rare Disease Advisory Council

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by Mary Chapman |

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Andrea Hoffman, an Ohio Northern University (ONU) student who also is a cystic fibrosis (CF) patient and advocate, has been appointed by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to the Ohio Rare Disease Advisory Council, according to a university press release.

In her two-year term, Hoffman, an ONU junior, will join 24 other council members. She and her fellow members will advise Ohio’s general assembly — the state’s legislature — on statewide rare disease efforts related to research, diagnosis, and treatment. In the United States, a disease is defined as rare when it affects fewer than 200,000 residents at any given time.

“I am so honored to be appointed to the Ohio Rare Disease Advisory Council by Gov. DeWine,” Hoffman tweeted. “I am excited to have this opportunity to represent those living with CF and look forward to improving the lives of all those living with a rare disease in Ohio.”

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As the council was being formed, Hoffman provided testimony on behalf of CF patients and expressed interest in serving on the council as a CF representative. After applying, she became one of several individuals statewide to be appointed.

“While on the council, I hope to increase access to care, raise awareness, and help provide for the needs of those living with a rare disease in the state of Ohio,” Hoffman added.

Hoffman is double majoring in political science and public relations. She also is minoring in public policy, public health, pre-law, and religion. Still, she’s been very involved in advocacy from the public policy perspective at state and national levels.

For example, as an ONU Institute for Civics and Public Policy Fellow, she recently helped organize Ohio CF Advocacy Day, a virtual event during which patients and their families shared their stories and spoke with state lawmakers about issues important to the CF community.

A resident of the Ohio community of Lewis Center, Hoffman has been interviewed about CF for stories by local media outlets, and has written about the disorder and its impact for CNN.

DeWine graduated from ONU’s law school in 1972.

Some 30,000 U.S. residents are thought to live with cystic fibrosis — approximately 70,000 globally. As of 2019, some 1,550 Ohio residents were reported to have the inheritable progressive disease that results in a thick mucus buildup in various organs.