As the newly minted president of the ARHP, I’d like to introduce myself.
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Explore This IssueJanuary 2009
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Although I tried to meet members at our recent Annual Scientific Meeting—especially while table hopping at our two wonderful networking forums—it was just too difficult to meet all the 1,012 health professional attendees. However, I will continue reaching out to members over this coming year to encourage you to participate in our phenomenal educational offerings and encourage you to become more involved in the ARHP through volunteer leadership and various committees and task forces.
Those of you who have met me, or have heard me speak, probably noticed my “funny” accent, and I may have confused you by saying that I’m from New York. Your confusion would be most appropriate as I certainly don’t have a Brooklyn accent, although I’ve lived and worked in New York City for 25 years.
I’m originally from a small seaside town, Yeppoon, in Australia (at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef), and I worked as a social worker there before moving to New York. Needing to update my professional credentials, I enrolled in a doctoral program in developmental psychology.
It was at the CUNY Graduate Center that my interest in rheumatology germinated. Under the mentorship of Tracey Revenson, PhD, I began my dissertation research on family coping and resilience in children with rheumatic disease. This was the beginning of a rewarding collaboration with Norman Ilowite, MD, Beth Gottlieb, MD, MS, and Emily Klass, PhD, at Schneider Children’s Hospital in New York. Together, we worked with hundreds of children with rheumatic disease, and I marveled at how resilient most of these children were. We were fortunate to secure funding to begin a small treatment program for children and teens diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and our team developed and tested the efficacy of an eight-week cognitive-behavioral intervention. Almost every year, we have presented our findings at the ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting.
I now work as an advisor for Macaulay Honors Scholars at Queens College in New York. However, my interest in rheumatology research continues through my supervision of PhD students in psychology programs.
I have been a member of the ARHP for more than 10 years and have been actively involved in its committees since 2001. I remember the first step I took in getting involved with ARHP was completing and submitting an ARHP volunteer form. Shortly after its submission, I was contacted by the ARHP leadership and was granted my wish to serve on the 2002 ARHP Annual Meeting Program Subcommittee. This subcommittee has the huge responsibility of planning and coordinating the more than 67 educational sessions during the ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting. I cannot tell you how rewarding that year was, and it would be difficult to put into words the satisfaction my fellow subcommittee members and I felt during the 2002 Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans.
Near the end of 2002, I was asked what volunteer opportunities I would like in 2003. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to stay on the ARHP Annual Meeting Program Subcommittee, so the ARHP leadership allowed me to remain for the next two years until I was asked to become the chair in 2005. You would think being the chair would be overwhelming, but the ARHP staff was very helpful in assisting my subcommittee and me in achieving a wonderful annual meeting program in San Diego.
Following that year, I continued to take on new leadership responsibilities as I chaired the 2006 ARHP Education Committee, served as the 2007 secretary-treasurer on the ARHP executive committee, and served as the 2008 president-elect on the ARHP executive committee.
In just seven years, I have gone from being a member of an ARHP subcommittee to the presidency. Over these seven years I have been rewarded with amazing collegial relationships with other health professionals, and I have developed leadership skills by chairing committees/subcommittees and working with our fellow ACR volunteer leaders on their committees/subcommittees.
I cannot stress how fulfilling volunteer leadership will be for you both personally and professionally. All you need to do is go to the ARHP Web site and click on the left menu category of “Leadership” to access the volunteer form.
It is with enthusiasm and deep gratitude for the support of an amazing team of 2009 ARHP volunteer leaders and staff that I look forward to serving as your 2009 ARHP president. It will be an exciting year, because it will bring new developments in e-learning education for all ARHP members. I would love to continue to dialogue with our diverse professional membership base, so please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com with any suggestions or concerns.