As I begin my presidency, let me thank you—the ARHP membership—for allowing me to steer this organization through the 2008 year. As a physical therapist in clinical practice for more than 25 years, I have experienced the challenges of treating people with arthritis and rheumatic diseases. For the past 13 years, I have served the ARHP in various capacities and, as my personal involvement in the ARHP has grown, my knowledge of this premier rheumatology organization has also expanded.
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Explore This IssueDecember 2007
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I am pleased to accept this new responsibility, and I am content in the knowledge that no volunteer leader singularly drives an organization. More than 1,000 members, including past leaders and mentors, and a fabulous staff exist to support and advise your ARHP leadership. I am grateful to be part of such an extensive team.
Diverse Group with a Shared Mission
The diversity of the ARHP membership has always impressed me. This same diversity creates a challenge. I am often asked, Who is the face of the ARHP? The answer takes considerable time because each ARHP member is unique.
Just as I always forget Happy or Dopey when I list Snow White’s seven dwarfs, I always seem to forget one of the many professional disciplines represented in our membership. Succinctly, the ARHP’s mission statement defines our organization as a “ … professional membership society composed of non-physician healthcare professionals specializing in rheumatology, such as advanced practice nurses, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, social workers, epidemiologists, physician assistants, educators, clinicians, and researchers.” ARHP’s varied membership continues to grow steadily as health professionals seek professional support.
The ARHP is a division of the ACR, and I am excited that the ARHP remains an interdisciplinary organization, its members drawn together for education and fellowship. I can think of very few organizations that experience such a satisfying collaboration. Only a diverse group of health professionals could hope to achieve the ARHP’s purpose to “enhance the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of health professionals through programs of education, practice, research, and advocacy to improve the health outcomes for people with or at risk for rheumatic disease and musculoskeletal conditions.”
Working collaboratively, members enjoy lively discussions and develop and implement innovative patient treatment approaches derived from current research. This concept of collaboration is also integrated into the ARHP’s committee structure. Each standing committee comprises a variety of health professionals, representing different practice settings—clinical, research, and academic. The ARHP was founded on this team concept and this thread of success winds throughout the organization today.
A Beacon for the Future
Lastly, I want to thank the membership for sharing its time and talents with this organization by serving on ARHP, ACR, and REF committees, speaking at and attending our professional meetings, and—most of all—helping to improve the lives of people with arthritis and rheumatic diseases. As the population of people with arthritis and rheumatic diseases increases, so must the number of health professionals available to meet this need. The ARHP’s many faces, with their passion for rheumatology, serve this population best. The ARHP members guide our organization on its most positive path. The ARHP has been there for the established professionals and will be there to welcome the next generation of rheumatology health professionals. It is my honor to represent this exceptionally talented ARHP membership.