Rheumatologists have dozens of opportunities to give back to the communities they live in, from pro-bono clinics and health fairs to charity auctions and fun runs. But a partnership that addresses the relationship between psoriasis and inflammatory arthritis looks to have a bright future, according to Long Island, N.Y., rheumatologist Andrew Porges, MD.
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The Arthritis Foundation and the National Psoriasis Foundation launched the Joint Smart Coalition in 2011 to focus on patient education, resources, and outreach. Dr. Porges teamed with dermatologist Russell Cohen, MD, at a coalition-sponsored community-outreach event in October at Queens College in Flushing, N.Y., where attendees were provided information on setting goals, stretching techniques, easy exercises, treatment options, and tips for a healthy lifestyle.
“The program is looking to empower and educate,” says Dr. Porges, who previously partnered with Dr. Cohen on community outreach efforts in Manhattan. “Most of the people in attendance already had a diagnosis and were looking for additional information. A lot of them brought their spouses and significant others, because they want to get the family involved.
“The participants were very happy. Many said they learned a lot. One person said, ‘You changed my life, I didn’t know what to do about this.’ ”
Dr. Porges, who trained at Cornell and has been in private practice for 15 years, says he got involved with the program because it is trying to address the “systemic manifestations of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, including heart disease and other comorbidities.”
“There is great value when two national organizations work together, coalescing resources, to encourage early diagnosis and treatment of this disease,” he says. “Their efforts may help lower the incidence of permanent joint damage, chronic pain, and even heart disease.
“I think they are attempting to expand the program, and I’m hoping to help them grow this in the New York City metropolitan area.”
Richard Quinn is a freelance writer in New Jersey.