In November, Christine Stamatos, DNP, ANP-C, became the organization’s 52nd ARP president. She directs the Fibromyalgia Wellness Center within the Division of Rheumatology at Northwell Health, Huntington, N.Y. She is also assistant professor at Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies, Hempstead, N.Y.
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Explore This IssueDecember 2020
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For the past eight years, Dr. Stamatos’ work has focused on physical and cognitive-behavioral strategies for patients with rheumatic diseases who experience chronic pain. As the founder of the Fibromyalgia Wellness Center at Northwell Health, she addresses the biopsychosocial needs of patients living with chronic pain through evaluation, education, treatment and social support. She joined the ARP early in her career as an adult nurse practitioner, has served in various volunteer roles within the College and in 2016 received the ARHP Distinguished Clinician Award. To her newest leadership role, she brings a passion for education, collaboration and service to professionals and patients.
The Rheumatologist spoke with Dr. Stamatos about her goals for the ARP and her plans to advance interprofessional education, practice, and engagement.
TR: What are some of the ways you have been involved with ARP prior to becoming president?
Dr. Stamatos: The ACR/ARP was where I went to learn about rheumatology as a new nurse practitioner. Eventually I increased my involvement with the College as a volunteer on the ARP Membership & Nominations Committee before joining the ACR Committee on Workforce and Training and the Student and Resident Subcommitee. Through this subcommittee, we created the Rheum2Learn modules to support new nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs), as well as new physicians interested in rheumatology. I also served on the NP/PA Fellowship in Rheumatology Task Force to help create a curriculum and fellowship program for these professionals—this eventually led to the Mentored Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant Award for Workforce Expansion. Over the past few years, I’ve been an active member of the ARP Executive Committee and the Membership & Nominations Committee.
TR: What main goals do you hope to accomplish as the ARP’s next president?
Dr. Stamatos: Through my presidency, the ARP will continue its focus on providing a home to rheumatology professionals who are looking to learn, lead and engage with the rheumatology community across borders, disciplines and practice settings. We will accomplish this through our high-quality educational offerings, engagement of members and support of both our advocacy and Foundation efforts.
TR: What unique skills or experiences do you bring to this role?
Dr. Stamatos: As a nurse practitioner in clinical practice for more than 18 years in both private and academic practice, I have a unique perspective on the developmental needs of the NP and PA in rheumatology and insight into the needs of both private and academic practice. My greatest strength is the team of ARP staff and volunteers, and I intend to call upon these fantastic individuals throughout the year. Something not many people know is that I was an officer in the Army Nurse Corps for years. I’ve always felt this experience has prepared me for leadership, and I enjoy the role of networking, collaborating and organizing to achieve a greater goal. I look forward to my work at the College in the coming year and collaborating with other ARP and ACR leaders to achieve our goals.
TR: What new challenges will the ARP face next year?
Dr. Stamatos: One main advantage I have this year is that I know things are going to be different as we have adapted to changes brought about through the COVID-19 pandemic. We will most likely continue our virtual work and need to continue to practice and lead through the COVID-19 pandemic and potential civil unrest. These forces will certainly continue to be a challenge. We as leaders will still need to provide support and resources for our members so they can continue to provide high-quality, evidence-based care for all patients living with rheumatic diseases. Beyond that, who knows what lies ahead … we will have to pivot and manage whatever comes our way.
TR: What excites you about this new role and what do you hope to derive from the experience, personally or professionally?
Dr. Stamatos: For me, the most exciting part of leadership at the College is the opportunity to work and collaborate with some of the most intelligent and creative people in medicine. It is such a pleasure to find the same passion and energy for our field in all volunteer members. Every single one of my accomplishments with the College has helped me grow both personally and professionally. I look forward to advocating for the strength and value of all ARP members and I truly believe that our diverse membership helps to strengthen the College and ultimately leads to improved care for all our patients. I look forward to working on growing our membership through member engagement, education, advocacy and leadership development in the coming year.
TR: What is something that ARP members might not know about you and your life outside of work?
Dr. Stamatos: I am incredibly fortunate to have a supportive family—my husband and daughter do all the cooking and I have someone clean the house every week. When home, I can either work or play … it’s perfect! I love my work, but I also really enjoy being off and spending time with family and friends and taking time for myself to read and enjoy the outdoors. I absolutely love spending time walking and running in the woods of Long Island. My favorite hobby is photography, and I am looking forward to one day having time to truly develop as an artist. For now, I try to hone my art by taking an image of something that brings me joy every day. These pictures are all part of my Master Balance album that scrolls through my screensaver all day. This is where I find peace in this crazy world.
Carina Stanton is a freelance science journalist based in Denver.