The ACR has a role in advancing rheumatology and the care of the patients we treat both within and beyond the borders of the United States. Collaborative efforts across many functional areas without regard to geographic boundaries pay off for all members and for the profession as a whole.
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Explore This IssueSeptember 2007
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ILAR Revitalization and the ACR
The International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) is the umbrella organization for the four international leagues of rheumatology: the Panamerican League of Associations for Rheumatology (PANLAR), of which the ACR is a member; the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR); the Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology; and the African League Against Rheumatism. ILAR’s mission includes education, epidemiology, international clinical studies, and pediatric rheumatology; it also publishes the journal Clinical Rheumatology. Although ILAR has a global focus, it concentrates on areas of the world with the greatest need.
ILAR is currently undergoing a reorganization of its structure, governance, and programming. The new ILAR Executive Committee will consist of the president and president-elect of each of the four leagues and, in recognition of ACR’s status in the rheumatology community, the president and president-elect of the ACR. A strategic planning process is part of ILAR’s reorganization, although it is anticipated that interacting with the World Health Organization and meeting the needs of rheumatology in developing countries will continue to be core functions of ILAR. The new ILAR executive committee will meet in Boston this November, in conjunction with the ACR Annual Scientific Meeting, to further flesh out reorganization priorities.
Rheumatology societies exist at the local level – including in the communities of our nearly 1,500 members who live and work outside the United States – and help to advance issues of importance to the communities they serve. We can help make the worldwide community a better place for us all by forging a strong international organization with the cooperation of dozens of countries with the goal of improving rheumatology in those areas that need it most. I am honored that the ACR has been invited to play such an important role in the revitalization of this organization.
Global Disease Classification and Response Criteria
Ultimately, it is better for the scientific community, and therefore the patients we treat, if everyone can agree to one criteria set for a disease rather than a different one for each country or continent. We know, for example, that classification criteria are commonly used to determine which group of patients will be enrolled in trials for a particular disease. If the same criteria are used for two different trials, then the trials can be compared more easily. If two different sets of criteria are used, it’s harder to compare the trials because the populations might not match. Especially for those rheumatic diseases with small overall populations, we need to be able to define who actually has the disease so subjects from wide geographic areas can participate in collaborative trials. The same rationale applies to response criteria.