Efficiently meeting the needs of people with rheumatic disease requires the expertise of a team of health professionals. During their formal education, health professionals acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes that prepare them to best contribute to a healthcare team. Maintaining and expanding that knowledge happens during continuing education and post-graduate programs, which ensure lifelong learning. Rheumatology health professionals initially seek educational opportunities to obtain the fundamentals of rheumatology care and practice, and later, to remain up to date on scientific advances throughout their careers.
This year, during the 2017 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting, on Nov. 6, Benjamin J. Smith, PA-C, DFAAPA, and Sameer Chunara, PT, MSc, PT, BEd, BSc (Hons), will present a session highlighting current educational products for health professionals from around the globe. This historic joint session, Educational Opportunities for Arthritis HPs: Canada, Europe and Beyond, is a first collaboration between ARHP and the Canada-based Arthritis Health Professions Association (AHPA) at an ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting. In February 2017, a similar session was held at the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA)/AHPA Annual Meeting in Ottawa, Canada.
The first speaker will be Mr. Smith, director of didactic education at the Florida State University College of Medicine School of Physician Practice and scientific editor of the ACR/ARHP Advanced Rheumatology Course. He practices clinically as a physician assistant in rheumatology at the McIntosh Clinic in Thomasville, Ga., and is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. In 2011, Mr. Smith became the first physician assistant elected ARHP president, and he is the first ARHP member to serve on the ACR Executive Committee. He also serves on the American Board of Internal Medicine Rheumatology Board and is a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), currently serving as the chair of the AAPA Commission on Continuing Professional Development and Education.
Speaking second, Mr. Chunara is a physiotherapist and clinical director at St. George Physiotherapy Clinic in Toronto, Canada. He currently serves as the professional and career development chair on the AHPA Board. Mr. Chunara has been in practice for 13 years, and his areas of practice include outpatient orthopedics along with a special interest inflammatory and non-inflammatory arthritis. He is also actively involved in projects using mobile apps to manage chronic diseases and representing stakeholders in governmental and non-governmental roundtables regarding care delivery, implementation and models of care.