NCATS Rare Diseases Are Not Rare! Challenge Winners and Honorable Mentions

First Place

Nancy Netherland “Unicorns and Super Heroes Are Rare — Rare Diseases Are Not”

Poster with an image of a unicorn. Poster reads: "Rare diseases are not rare. What's rare? Unicorns."

Poster with an image of a superhero flying. Poster reads: "Rare diseases are not rare. What's rare? Superheroes."Poster with an image of a masked villain. Poster reads: "Rare diseases are not rare. What's rare? Archvillains."

Poster with an image of a magic wand. Poster reads: "Rare diseases are not rare. What's rare? Magic wands."

Poster with an image of a mermaid. Poster reads: "Rare diseases are not rare. What's rare? Mermaids."


Second Place

Christina Loccke, Lindsey Bergstrom, Sarah Theos “In the Land of Rare Disease”

Third Place

Matthew Beardall, Sami Assaf, Naveen Upender “Unicus”

Honorable Mentions

(in alphabetical order)

  • Donna Appell “Dare to Be Rare”

  • Richard Bauer for Complete HealthVizion “What Are the Chances?”

  • Kelly Cullen “A ‘Not So Rare’ Instagram Story”

    White text on red background: "Do you think you know what 'rare diseases' look like?"

    Red text on white background: "The answer?"

    Photos of children with text reading "Rare diseases aren't so rare."

    White text on red background: "7,000 different rare diseases. 30 million Americans affected. About 50% affected are children. 80% of rare diseases are genetic."

    Red text on white background: "Learn more about the not so rare at"

  • Marissa Gaines “Rare Is Everywhere in a Genetic Garden”

    Drawing of a girl watering a plant in a garden with trees with double-helix-shaped branches.

  • Karen Gunderson “Viral Rare Disease Educational Quiz


  • Naka King “Do You Know Rare?”

  • Sierra Pellechio “Raising Awareness About Rare Disease Through Infographics”

    Infographic with four sections using cartoon images. Title: “Speak up for rare diseases! It starts with you.” First section: “Speak up for your health!” Image of a doctor saying, “Your test results don’t show a reason why you might be feeling this way,” and a patient answering, “My symptoms are real and I need to find a diagnosis. I need to see a specialist. Can you refer me to someone who might be able to help?” Second section: “Do your research.” The patient is surrounded by books, papers, and a computer. Text reads “What could be causing my symptoms? What rare disease could I have? Is there a cure? Are there treatments? Who is the best doctor to see?” Third section: “Connect with others.” The patient is flanked by two other people saying “Our voices can have an impact! We are more powerful together!” and “I know I am not alone!” Fourth section: “Participate in advocacy and patient support events. Or organize one!” Image showing a government building with many people outside.

  • Ana Cristina Puhl Rubio “It Is Not Rare to Have a Rare Disease”

    Image of diverse people standing around the globe with a zebra ribbon. Title: "It is not rare to have a rare disease." Text below the image reads, "~7000 rare diseases. 350 million people. 50% affect children. 5% have treatment."

  • Cassandra Sims “Rare Butterflies”

    Drawings of butterflies whose bodies are ribbons labeled with rare diseases. Text reads, "The wings of a butterfly many cannot hear, the sight and knowledge of a rare disease many do not see or know, but it doesn't mean they are not there." Text interspersed with the butterflies reads, "Rare is unique. Rare is courageous. Rare is beauty. Rare is bold. Rare is strong. Rare is fierce. Rare is extraordinary."

  • Louise Mary Tiranoff, Lynne McVeigh “Rare Diseases? They Aren’t That Rare”

  • Vanessa Vogel-Farley “I Have Some News…”