What an incredible journey this past year has been for the ARHP. We have made amazing progress in education, collaboration, and chartering the ARHP’s future.
To help you understand what the ARHP leadership and staff are doing on your behalf, I would like to share a few of our accomplishments from the past year.
Achievements in Education
In the area of education, the ARHP had a very successful year. One of this year’s highlights was the extraordinarily successful launching this past December of the NP and PA Postgraduate Rheumatology Training Program. This adult and pediatric online program, consisting of 19 modules, includes 18 hours of audio-annotated PowerPoint slides—over 2,800 slides and 631 images—and was established to meet the need for nurse practitioner (NP) and physician assistant (PA) rheumatology education that was identified through the ACR workforce study and demand from ACR/ARHP members. To date, the program has over 170 registrants, 35 graduates, and very positive evaluation feedback.
A second educational offering with huge success has been the Advanced Practice Skills Training Course. This hands-on training for clinicians was offered to sell-out audiences at the 2008 ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting and the 2009 ACR State-of-the-Art Clinical Symposium, and it will be offered again this year at the 2009 ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting. For this course, participants learned how to do rheumatologic upper- and lower-musculoskeletal examinations on adult and pediatric patients as well as to apply principles of joint aspirations and injections on shoulder, wrist, finger, foot, and knee joint prosthetics. This course will be offered again at the 2010 ACR State-of-the-Art Symposium in Chicago, so be sure to register before it sells out.
Lastly, I could not highlight education accomplishments without mentioning the ARHP Annual Meeting. This year’s meeting in Philadelphia will offer more than 60 inter-professional sessions and 114 abstracts to advance the knowledge of clinical care and research for rheumatology health professionals. The ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting continues to be the premier rheumatology health professional meeting.
Achievements in Collaboration
In the area of collaboration, the ARHP joined the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the Arthritis Foundation in creating and presenting an educational offering entitled “Osteoarthritis and Exercise” at the ACE and Medical Fitness Association conferences. The course is designed to increase personal trainers’ knowledge of osteoarthritis (OA) and help them design safe and effective exercise interventions for clients who suffer from OA. The course is currently available on the ACE Web site for all ACE and ARHP members. I encourage you all to use this wonderful resource.
Achievements in Planning
In 2009, the ARHP participated in the ACR’s strategic planning, which set the ACR’s goals and strategies for 2010–2012. This important process allowed the ACR to discuss and understand the future needs of its membership and to plan resources to meet those needs. During the process, the ACR strengthened its advocacy efforts by integrating the ARHP Advocacy Committee with the ACR Government Affairs Committee, creating a united, strong voice in lobbying for the needs of our patients and practitioners.
Looking Toward 2010
Given these achievements, we don’t plan on resting on our laurels in the coming year. Our 2010 ARHP President, Linda Ehrlich-Jones, PhD, will lead the team of ARHP volunteers and staff in evaluating the current NP and PA Postgraduate Rheumatology Training Program, developing the 2010 ARHP Annual Meeting, and exploring the development of a new online training program for nurses who are new to rheumatology practice. The ARHP will also look into the creation of other face-to-face educational offerings, practice tools, and certifications.