“We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.”—Sir Winston Churchill
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Explore This IssueApril 2009
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Each year around this time, the ACR Committee on Nominations and Appointments sends out a call for volunteers to serve on ACR and Research and Education Foundation (REF) committees.
When I first became involved with the ACR, I was surprised at the broad scope of its work. Whether your interests lie in education, advocacy, research, practice, or training, or if you just want to gain some experience in finance or dealing with ethical issues, there is a volunteer structure within the ACR to serve your needs where you can meet and work with people who share your interests. There are also excellent volunteer opportunities with the REF, particularly if you are interested in fundraising or peer review. All told, between the ACR, ARHP, and REF, we currently have more than 300 volunteers working to better the rheumatology specialty. It is truly an impressive network of talented and highly motivated people committed to advancing our specialty.
As we prepare for this year’s nominations process, I would like to share with you some personal reflections about what volunteering for the ACR has meant for me. I also want to share some common themes I have heard from other ACR volunteers about the benefits of volunteering.
My Volunteer History
- Member, ACR Council on Health Care Research, 1994–1997
- Member, Abstract Selection Committee of the ACR for Education, Health Services, and Epidemiology, 1994
- Member, ACR Bibliography Task Force on Cost and Outcomes of Rheumatologic Care, 1995
- Chair, ACR Clinical Epidemiology Study Group 59th National Meeting, 1995
- Member, Abstract Selection Committee of the ACR for Education, Health Services, and Epidemiology, 1996
- Chair, ACR Clinical Epidemiology Study Group 60th National Meeting, 1996
- Chair, ACR Abstract Session “Economic Impact/Outcomes” 60th National Meeting, 1996
- Chair, ACR Clinical Epidemiology Study Group, 61st National Meeting, 1997
- Chair, Abstract Selection Committee of the ACR for Education, Health Services, and Epidemiology, 1997
- Member, ACR Committee on Research, 1998–2001
- Chair, ACR, Patient-Based Research Ad-Hoc Committee, 1999
- Co-Chair, ACR Clinical Research Sub-Committee, 1999–2001
- Chair, Abstract Selection Committee of the ACR for Epidemiology, Education, and Health Services Research, 2001
- Member, ACR Educational Products Committee, 2002–2003
- Member, ACR Training and Workforce Committee, 2004–2005
- Member, ACR Educational Products Committee, 2002–2005
- Member, ACR Board of Directors, 2002–2005
- Member, ACR Strategic Governance Planning Committee, 2004–2006
- Chair, ACR Quality Measures Committee, 2004–2006
- Vice President, ACR 2006–2007
- Member, Board of Directors, ACR REF, 2006–present
- Chair, ACR Technology Leadership Council, 2007
- President-Elect, ACR 2007–2008
- President, ACR 2008–2009
Just for fun, I went back and itemized all of my ACR volunteer activities throughout my rheumatology career (see “My Volunteer History,” below left). As you can see, my own volunteer work with the ACR goes back 15 years and spans a variety of activities, but has a strong focus on my personal areas of interest and expertise. Through these activities I had the distinct privilege of meeting and working with rheumatologists from many professional walks of life, from across the country and around the world. The camaraderie, networking, and friendships I gained through these experiences were invaluable. Moreover, I had an opportunity not only to learn new leadership and management skills, but also to test these skills in a relatively low-risk environment with extensive administrative support. Some of this learning happened simply by watching my more experienced colleagues in action, but much of my learning occurred as a result of working side by side with one or more of our world-class ACR staff. While building friendships, networking, and developing leadership skills were very valuable, for me, the most rewarding aspect of my ACR volunteer work was the knowledge that my efforts were helping to advance the specialty about which I care so much.