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Explore This IssueJune 2019
ACR@Work: Have you always been interested in advocacy?
Dr. Bryant: I am a longtime ACR member, having joined the College before my fellowship. I began my advocacy efforts locally as a Wisconsin state delegate to the State Medical Society of Wisconsin House of Delegates and then as a board member of the Wisconsin State Medical Society, focusing on government affairs. Shortly thereafter, I was invited to join the ACR CORC [Committee on Rheumatologic Care], and that launched my career in rheumatology advocacy. In addition, for 17 years, I have been one of the ACR delegates to the American Medical Association [AMA]. The synergy between the AMA and the ACR on issues relevant to rheumatology is an important aspect of our advocacy efforts.
ACR@Work: What challenges did you face leading the first RheumPAC?
Dr. Bryant: I was on the ACR Board of Directors at the time it launched RheumPAC, and there was much debate among board members about whether the ACR should have a PAC. In the end, the ACR Board felt it was in the best interest of the College. The biggest challenge we faced was educating the membership about the benefits of a PAC and how RheumPAC activities would benefit patients, as well as the membership at large.
ACR@Work: What do you see as the biggest accomplishments of RheumPAC?
Dr. Bryant: The membership has gradually become educated about the role of RheumPAC and involved in advocacy. It became very obvious to us that rheumatologists and rheumatology healthcare providers needed to have a place at the table for legislative issues. RheumPAC provides such a forum for the College and enables us to speak with legislators and represent the College’s views on political issues.
ACR@Work: How can we sustain our rheumatology advocacy efforts?
Dr. Bryant: It is important that peers talk to peers, discuss the important issues facing our profession and highlight the impact we have when we work together as a group. There is nothing like the impact of personal conversations regarding advocacy issues. Through these discussions and a grassroots approach, we will be able to move the College forward and have a place at the table.