Winston Churchill once said, “There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.” So—with this, our first presidential column of 2019—we are bringing you news of a change or two.
First, ARHP, our health professionals’ membership division, has changed its name to the Association of Rheumatology Professionals, or ARP. This new name better reflects the broad range of members who are part of ARP (see box, right). It also helps us call attention to the increasingly important role of the entire interprofessional team. Finally, with this recognition of the ARP as the interprofessional division of ACR, we promote the singular position of the ACR as the only organization serving the needs of the entire rheumatology community.
With this said, the second change should not be too surprising. With a new year and a new name, the ARP will take center stage in this month’s column, which has been turned over to ARP President Hazel L. Breland, PhD. She shares her thoughts on the ARP and the interprofessional team it so passionately supports.
—ACR President Paula Marchetta, MD, MBA
January marks the start of the New Year, and accompanying this new start is often a slew of resolutions we make to improve our behavior or renew our commitments to achieve life goals—personal and professional. In preparation for the New Year, we often take time to review our goals and to understand the challenges and the opportunities that lie ahead, so we can plan our individual strategy for accomplishment in the year to come.
During this period of reflection, we may contemplate the availability of resources at our disposal and spend time poring over the data collected by an activity monitoring device that tells us the number of steps we have taken, analyzes our sleep patterns or otherwise tabulates our daily activities. Contemplating our careers, we may wonder if the time and energy spent in the past year brought us the professional rewards we hoped for.
For all of us who are rheumatology professionals, no matter what our unique career trajectory may be, we share a passion for our field. At the ACR, we recognize the immense value of the interprofessional team, which plays an indispensable part in caring for our patients with rheumatic diseases. The ACR is dedicated to serving the needs of the entire rheumatology community. With the name change of our health professionals’ membership division, we underscore the importance of all members of the interprofessional team, whatever role they play. ARHP is now ARP, the Association of Rheumatology Professionals: The Interprofessional Division of the ACR. We are all needed as part of the team.
With the New Year, this time of new beginnings and the adoption of resolutions, the ARP offers a great way to commit to our professional growth and career development.
Each member of the College has a story to tell about why we joined. Those of us on the inside already know the many benefits of the ACR/ARP educational portfolio and the practice tools available for rheumatology professionals. Membership also brings excitement in our advocacy work and the enrichment of engaging with colleagues on legislative and regulatory issues important to our specialty.
Sharing our member benefit experiences with like-minded rheumatology professionals who could become future members may inspire them to join our College sooner and help them achieve the professional and personal goals they have set for themselves in this New Year. Let them know all we have to offer.
Education—Our innovative educational portfolio allows rheumatology professionals to excel in our specialty by offering state-of-the-art, evidence-based learning activities to help deepen our fount of knowledge and develop our clinical skills. Members may take advantage of complimentary accredited educational products, such as eBytes, and earn CME credits in convenient, 30-minute, online programs on such topics as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Whether learning over lunch or while the kids are at soccer practice, these educational activities are accessible to us anytime, anywhere our busy schedules allow.
Likewise, Annual Meeting attendees can tap into ACR Beyond for virtual access to live meeting sessions for ongoing learning after the meeting has concluded.
These are just a few of the quality educational offerings available to ACR and ARP members—plus membership brings us valuable new scientific knowledge and practice tips monthly through subscriptions to this magazine, The Rheumatologist, and our journals, Arthritis & Rheumatology, Arthritis Care & Research and the soon-to-be-launched ACR Open Rheumatology.
Practice Tools—ARP members can take advantage of the highest quality clinical practice support resources. These tools enable us to follow best practices for rheumatologic care and training, and offer accessible, robust and clinically relevant information to us as a team caring for our patients. Our coding training ensures personalized assistance and updates on the latest billing changes.
Advocacy—The College’s advocacy work is not only essential to our profession, but also offers our members a wonderful opportunity to approach our nation’s leaders and discuss issues important to our patients and to the team caring for them. Our involvement in advocacy has had a huge impact, led to many positive legislative and regulatory changes, and being a part of this dynamic process also provides us with great personal and professional satisfaction as we seek—on a much larger scale than possible individually—to improve the lives of our patients and our ability to care for them.
As members of the interprofessional team, we advocate for our patients every day. As ARP members, we gain the power of numbers—and come together for such events as Advocates for Arthritis.
For the New Year, we and our colleagues can seize the opportunity to continue our professional growth and development as members of the ARP. As a part of the interprofessional team and the ARP, we are uniquely positioned to take advantage of all the College has to offer to help us keep our resolutions, both for this year and beyond. We are here for you, so you can be there for your patients.
ARP President Hazel L. Breland, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is an associate professor of occupational therapy in the College of Health Professions at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston.
Paula Marchetta, MD, MBA, is a rheumatologist in New York City and the CEO and managing partner of Concorde Medical Group, a multispecialty private group practice affiliated with NYU Langone Health. She teaches at NYU School of Medicine, where she is clinical professor.