In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report showing that the number of Americans living with arthritis is at an all-time high. According to the report, 54 million Americans now live with arthritis, and approximately 79 million will have arthritis by 2040.
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This stark picture comes at a time when the ACR’s 2015 Rheumatology Workforce Study Report has projected a shortage of 3,800 rheumatologists in the U.S. by the same year. Given the projected rise in the number of adults with arthritis and the anticipated shortfall in the supply of rheumatologists, it is more important than ever to raise awareness about the benefits of early intervention, timely referral and specialized care by a rheumatologist.
How to Get Involved
The ACR’s Board of Directors and advocacy team will be in Washington, D.C., this May to let legislators know how their decisions affect your practices and patients. Even if you can’t join us in D.C., you can take the following actions to help us spread our awareness and advocacy messages throughout the month.
- Be heard in Washington, D.C.
Our Legislative Action Center contains templates you can use to quickly email your legislator to tell them about the importance of supporting policies that will help provide better access to care for your patients, remove administrative obstacles that cause you to spend more time with paperwork and less time seeing patients, and regenerate the rheumatology workforce. Take five minutes to send an email today. It makes a big difference.
- Get your patients involved, too.
Simple Tasks has an advocacy platform that is customized for patients, so they can share their stories. Lawmakers want to hear the unique challenges that patients face. Help your patients make their voice heard by giving them information about this tool.
- Share our patient education tools.
We’ve updated our patient education library with new treatment pages, printable one-page PDFs, and Spanish language versions of treatment and disease and condition pages. These are great resources for educating patients, caregivers and your community.
- Join us on Twitter for Gout Awareness Day.
The ACR is teaming up with the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society for a Gout Awareness Day Twitter chat on May 22 at 8 p.m. EDT. Use the hashtags #GoForSix and #RheumChat to follow along and interact.
- Get ready for RDAM 2018!
Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month (RDAM) is back in 2018 and so is Terry Bradshaw. Last year’s PSA with the beloved sports commentator and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback received over 94 million impressions and generated $2.9 million in free advertising to spread the word about rheumatic disease. We’ll be updating the RDAM page in the coming months, so check back for more information.
With your help, we can continue to raise awareness about the impact of arthritis and other rheumatic diseases—one patient and community at a time.