As part of the campaign launch, the ACR has written a white paper, “Rheumatic diseases in America: The problem, the impact, and the answers.” The paper culls information from more than 55 sources and builds the campaign’s core case for rheumatology.
The ACR has also placed advertisements in publications read by policymakers such as Politico, The Hill, and Roll Call. One ad that ran in advance of the campaign launch—in the May 19 issue of The Hill—reached almost 21,000 readers.
There is also a speakers’ bureau, videos, and case studies that feature patients affected by rheumatic diseases, Latimer says. “There are a number of components to this campaign that will allow us to reach our audience in ways that will truly resonate with them,” she notes.
Policymakers are a small slice of the general public, so unless they have experience with someone in their family who has a rheumatic disease, they usually know virtually nothing about them.
“The College needed a starting point for its PR efforts,” says ACR President David Borenstein, MD. “Our initial member research showed these influential groups and the topic of inflammatory rheumatic diseases as a good place to start.”
The focus and direction of Simple Tasks is not a departure from other important issues in rheumatology, but a place for the ACR to start its PR work. “The College and its members are devoted to advancing rheumatology, and this mission is being met in a number of ways throughout the College’s work,” Latimer says. This campaign is an addition to the ongoing media relations work of the College as well as its participation in other campaigns such as its Choose Rheumatology mini-campaign (aimed at attracting medical students to rheumatology) and its work with the Arthritis Foundation/Ad Council Fight Arthritis Pain campaign (devoted to osteoarthritis awareness).
ACR members can get involved in the Simple Tasks campaign by visiting www.SimpleTasks.org and clicking on the Member button.
Vanessa Caceres is a freelance medical writer in Bradenton, Florida.