Rare diseases (RDs) as a whole affect a huge number of individuals although each specific condition comprises a low number of individuals. As a consequence, funds allocated to expand research to all conditions are often limited. Several initiatives have emerged to invest more resources for research in RDs, but patients express unmet needs regarding educational initiatives, awareness support, and psychosocial resources. We developed an educational training program in the format of weekly sessions covering basic medical scientific knowledge and psychosocial aspects of RDs. The aim of this initiative was to assess its overall impact regarding knowledge, psychological issues, and participant satisfaction. Items were evaluated through surveys before and after the sessions. Here, we report the experience and impact of two editions of this initiative with a total of 37 participants. Our results show improvements in knowledge and better management of the psychological impact. Moreover, participants were able to exchange experiences and concerns, most of which were shared even though the RDs were different. Overall, the program was evaluated by the participants as a highly beneficial experience and all of them were interested in attending advanced editions.
- lived experience
- rare diseases