The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has covered a lot of ground since it launched its Simple Tasks campaign last September.
While still in its infancy, the campaign was designed to raise awareness of the severity of rheumatic diseases and to highlight the importance of rheumatologists in the diagnosis and treatment of such diseases.
“Our members have a lot to be proud of with this campaign,” says James R. O’Dell, MD, president of the ACR.
Over the past year, more than 3,000 people have viewed the Simple Tasks video on YouTube, and several other videos have been created. A dedicated campaign website has been launched (www.SimpleTasks.org), and more than 27 organizations have been asked to share the campaign with their constituents—to name just a few accomplishments. The campaign’s key image—a bent fork that resembles a hand with severe rheumatoid arthritis—also made its official debut on the Jumbotron in Times Square and has since been turned into a lapel pin. Members can get their own pin at the Simple Tasks booth in this year’s ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting Exhibit Hall.
“The pin is often recognized by lawmakers, who now associate the bent fork with Simple Tasks and the ACR,” adds Dr. O’Dell, who is also the director of the internal medical residency program and division chief of rheumatology at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. “I wear this pin regularly, and it has opened the door for many conversations about rheumatology and the importance of early and appropriate treatment by a rheumatologist.”
To further push the campaign nationwide, he says ACR members need to become more involved. He encourages them to share their medical knowledge and experiences in rheumatology with traditional and social media, author articles on related topics, and refer rheumatology patients who are willing to share their personal and inspiring stories to the ACR.
Meanwhile, he says the ACR will continue along its path of educating lawmakers, referring physicians and health care professionals, and others who influence rheumatology on the severity and impact of rheumatic diseases, as well as the critical role rheumatologists play in the treatment of those conditions.
“This campaign is ACR’s first large-scale public relations effort,” says Dr. O’Dell. “We have a lot of areas to cover in our future efforts.”
Early Diagnosis: Success
Among the campaign’s initial challenges was finding creative ways to reach out to multiple audiences that initially included lawmakers, referring physicians, and advocacy groups.