The National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS) was founded by a group of patients, doctors and physiotherapists at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath in 1976.
The founding members included Dr Allan St John Dixon, MD, FRCP, who has had a long and distinguished career in rheumatology and is still involved with NASS as its current Vice President. Dr Dixon worked on the formation of NASS with Mike Tanfield and the late John Coates, both of whom had ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and he later became the first NASS Chairman. Mike Tanfield became the first Secretary and John Coates the President. They were joined by Dr Richard Jacoby and Dr Anthony Clarke as Medical Advisers. Originally the NASS committee comprised of 4 rheumatologists and 10 patients. NASS is a patient-lead organisation: the ratio of patients versus health professionals has remained firmly in place throughout its history.
The first NASS director, Fergus Rogers, joined the Society in 1980 and soon became a commanding figure in the world of AS through his work for both NASS and ASIF, the international patient organisation. He did a huge amount to raise the profile of AS and the needs of patients with AS. Fergus was also instrumental in setting up many of NASS branches that are still in operation today. He is remembered fondly by many NASS members for his immeasurable care and support. Sadly Fergus died from cancer in 2006. His widow, Brigitte, with whom we are still in contact, set up The Fergus Rogers Memorial Fund to help individual patients in need and to fund research.
The Society established its vision to advance the interests of people affected by ankylosing spondylitis and related conditions in the UK. Its mission is threefold:
- To seek a cure for ankylosing spondylitis and related conditions, and improve their treatment in the UK;
- To promote awareness of these conditions in the UK; and
- To provide guidance, advice and information for people affected by these conditions including their families, their carers and their employers.
NASS is the only registered charity in the UK dedicated to the needs of people with AS in the UK to date.
Page last updated: 14 November 2011