As I recently told a new member, there is something special about the ACR that I have found lacking in other groups.
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Explore This IssueJanuary 2007
I have been a member since 1987, and the nice part of having a 20-year history is that one can look back and review the road traveled and the quality of the trip. As Mark Twain noted, “Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
Over the past two decades, it has been my privilege to work on many ACR committees, serve as the ARHP president, and contribute to the ACR Research and Education Foundation. Drawing from my travels through the ACR structure, I would like to share some of our most interesting trips, talk about the benefits of having the ARHP in the car, and look at what’s down the road.
It can be difficult for health professionals to be heard, have their needs recognized as important, and obtain the majority vote in favor of a minority position.
When I started in the ACR, the entire annual meeting had roughly one-tenth the number of its current participants. If you didn’t know everyone at the onset, by the end of the opening reception you had a good sense of where your colleagues came from—and were on a first-name basis with many.
The rheumatology world then felt like a small town where several roads led to a common destination. The townspeople had a common interest in rheumatology care but many personal interests as well. ACR gave us a professional arena to learn, change, and interact for the common good. It was easy to maintain community ties in our regions and with our patients. It was easy to encourage our fellow ACR members to expand their own careers and share their knowledge and experience.
The ARHP involvement in rheumatology goes back at least few generations. As a professional group, it started in 1966 as a section of the Arthritis Foundation, which has been focusing energy and resources on fighting rheumatic diseases since 1948. In 1985, the ACR was formed from the physician group within the Arthritis Foundation. Similarly, in 1994 the health professionals formed the ARHP as a division of the ACR.
ARHP and ACR have a synergistic relationship, mirrored in the clinical and research communities: We bring together the talents of many diverse professionals to enhance education, research, and advocacy efforts for patients with rheumatic diseases.