Over the past few years, the ARHP and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) health professional (HP) leaders have met informally at the EULAR Congress and the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting to identify a mutually beneficial project to be pursued. At the 2013 EULAR Congress, ARHP and EULAR leaders agreed to formally organize a meeting of multidisciplinary HPs to pursue that goal. Five HP leaders from ARHP and five from EULAR were identified and interactions began in advance of a one-day, face-to-face meeting on June 16, 2014.
2014 EULAR Congress Meeting in Paris
2014 ARHP/EULAR delegates were: Ricardo Ferreira, RN, MSc, Portugal; Rinie Geenen, PhD, Netherlands; Linda Ehrlich-Jones, RN, PhD, U.S.; Kam Nola, PharmD, MS, U.S.; Susan Oliver, RN, FRCN, MSc, OBE, U.K.; Christina Opava, PhD, RPT, Sweden; Jan Richardson, PT, PhD, OCS, FAPTA, U.S.; Karen Smarr, PhD, U.S.; Ben Smith, PA-C, U.S.; and Michaela Stoeffer, OT, MSc, Austria. Abigail Masterson from the U.K. facilitated delegate brainstorming sessions to identify a theme/topic for an ARHP/EULAR HP project to be developed following the meeting. Delegates agreed to pursue the mutually beneficial topic of pain. The matter of funding was considered, because timing of submissions and funding cycles differ between the ACR/ARHP and EULAR. Delegates agreed that the EULAR Executive Committee (EC) would be approached to garner initial support for the development of a joint pain proposal.
2014 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting Dialogue
Following receipt of the EULAR EC’s preliminary support of the concept, another face-to-face meeting on Nov. 19, 2014, followed the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting in Boston. ARHP/EULAR delegates continued to identify common perspectives on which to focus the draft pain proposal and strategized methods to accomplish the proposal goals. Communication continued following the meeting in order to develop a proposal that could be considered for submission to the ACR Board of Directors (as an AHRP proposal) and the EULAR EC for joint funding.
Development of Pain Management Proposal
The U.S. and European perspectives were extensively considered. Challenges faced when developing the final proposal included: proposal breadth and focus, terminology differences between U.S. and Europe, and expectations to follow EULAR-published standard operating procedures for guidelines or points to consider projects.1
Support for & Funding of Proposal
In January 2015, delegates agreed 1) that EULAR would take the lead on the proposal, titled The Health Professionals’ Approach to Pain Management in Inflammatory Arthritis and Osteoarthritis and 2) to include two ARHP pain management (PM) experts to ensure inclusion of a North American perspective in the final outcome. ARHP identified Afton Hassett, PsyD, and Karen Huisinga, MN, ARNP, FNP, as PM experts to participate in the final EULAR PM proposal, which included a systematic literature review and meta-analysis/meta-regression. In March 2015, the EULAR EC funded the PM proposal.
The first convened meeting of PM experts on the EULAR-sponsored HP project was in Amsterdam, July 2–3, 2015; the second/final meeting is planned for January 2016. ARHP and EULAR leadership have agreed to continue communications to aim for future collaborative work that would be jointly sponsored and funded by ARHP and EULAR.