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See below to access our COVID-19 Resource Hub, and to explore our growing directory of COVID-19-specific and virtual volunteering opportunities.
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  • Global Autoimmune Institute Global Autoimmune Institute


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Mission Statement

The Global Autoimmune Institute is a non-profit organization powering research, education, and awareness in autoimmune disease. GAI's mission is to improve diagnosis and treatment by empowering and furthering collaboration among patients and their families, medical professionals, and researchers worldwide.


The Global Autoimmune Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit, founded by Sandy Boek Werness, President and CEO. The mission was adopted in 2014 after transitioning from the former International Graduate University, which was spearheaded in the 1960’s by Sandy's father, Dr. Walter E. Boek. His wife, Dr. Jean K. Boek, later joined his efforts.

The Global Autoimmune Institute was inspired by Walter and Jean’s commitment to public health and education, combined with Sandy’s passion and experience advocating for her oldest child, who has multiple autoimmune conditions.

We are engaged in educational programming on several fronts, including podcasts, webinars, and other interactive resources for those diagnosed with Celiac Disease. The only treatment for this environmentally-triggered autoimmune disease is the elimination of gluten (found in wheat, barley, and rye) from the diet. We are proud to work with the Celiac Program at the Children's National Health System in the development of tools to help patients manage gluten-free lifestyles.

We are also focused on funding cutting-edge scientific research to further our knowledge of how autoimmunity develops and functions. Current topics under exploration are the co-existences of autoimmune and neurological disorders, autoimmunity prevalence, the gut-brain connection, and epigenetics.

Together, we can make a difference! Exciting, upcoming community initiatives include in-person support groups and educational events in San Diego and the D.C. Metro area.


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