Wider awareness and understanding of the more than 100 different rheumatic diseases is a vital element in our work as rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals. Stimulating interest and engagement among lawmakers, patient groups and the public at large is essential to successful advocacy efforts, as well as the overall future of our specialty.
This September, the ACR and our Simple Tasks public awareness campaign will kick off the second-annual Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month. The continuing RDAM theme is Hundreds of Diseases. One Voice. To further amplify how truly far reaching rheumatic diseases are, we’ve also included a secondary theme that ties into this year’s celebrity spokesman: You don’t have to be an athlete to have sore joints.
Touchdown Pass for Arthritis
We are thrilled to have the involvement of one of the greatest stars in NFL history, Hall of Famer and former Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Terry Bradshaw, in RDAM 2017. Known to millions of fans, not just from his playing days when he won four Super Bowl victories with the Steelers but for decades as a broadcaster, Mr. Bradshaw also has rheumatoid arthritis.
Did you know that? Probably not, and that is why his involvement will be so meaningful to this year’s campaign. Many patients, such as Mr. Bradshaw, are living with a rheumatic disease without most people around them knowing that they have it. One of the most important goals of this campaign is to let the public know more about how rheumatic diseases affect people in their everyday lives and work, and cause debilitating symptoms that other people may not see.
Mr. Bradshaw adds a personal touch to our message in a series of public service announcements about rheumatic diseases, which will be aired nationally—including some prime TV spots during the 2017 NFL pre- and regular season—and distributed online via social media. He will be talking about the connections between joint injuries and arthritis, and why it is so important for people to seek care from a rheumatologist as early as possible.
You Can Make a Difference
Naturally, we will be promoting RDAM through the ACR’s public relations outreach to the media and to partners, and online through social media. You too can get involved. We are calling on all ACR/ARHP members to participate and help the ACR drive more awareness of rheumatic diseases in your local communities and media outlets. To make it easy for you, ACR staff has created a number of digital resources, which you can find at RDAM. You can download the new online toolkit, including everything you need to join the conversation. You will find print-ready patient flyers and fact sheets, along with easy-to-customize promotional content/templates for social media posts, letters to the editor, newspaper or newsletter articles, e-blasts, blog posts and proclamations.