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Explore This IssueMay 2013
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The mission of the ACR cannot be achieved without the time, effort, talent, and experience of its volunteers. Each year, the ACR puts out a call for volunteers to recruit enthusiastic members to serve on the ACR board of directors, Rheumatology Research Foundation board of directors, and ACR standing committees.
It is the vital work of our volunteers that helps us continue to advance rheumatology. Without the work of volunteers, the ACR would not be where it is today. Volunteering benefits not only the College, but also the professional lives of our volunteers. Kelly Weselman, MD, a private practice rheumatologist in Atlanta, Ga. who is a current member of the Communications and Marketing Committee (CMC), provided us with an inside look at her experiences as a volunteer and how her participation advances her personal and professional life.
FTC: How did you first get involved in volunteering with the ACR?
Dr. Weselman: During my term as president of the Georgia Society of Rheumatology, the Affiliate Society Council (ASC) was formed. I became the Georgia representative to the ASC.
FTC: How did you learn about becoming a volunteer?
Dr. Weselman: Once I was a member of the ASC, other opportunities presented themselves. For example, I had the chance to visit with one of our Georgia senators. I assisted with various projects with the ACR coding team. I was able to participate in filming the initial Simple Tasks video. I found each of these projects to be personally and professionally rewarding.
FTC: Was there a specific person or mentor who encouraged you to nominate yourself for a volunteer position?
Dr. Weselman: There has been no one person in particular, but once I became involved, the ACR staff has been encouraging and enthusiastic regarding my participation in these projects. Each good experience led to further opportunities to contribute to the ACR.
FTC: We hear about there not being enough volunteers in clinical practice. How is it being a clinician on an ACR standing committee? Do you feel like your voice is being heard?
Dr. Weselman: The practice responsibilities of clinical rheumatologists can take priority over volunteer opportunities and could discourage clinicians from participating. But, I have found that, while I am still early on in my term on the CMC, it has been rewarding to become involved in the marketing efforts of the College. Working in the smaller groups of the committee structure allows each of us to have a significant role in the ongoing projects and help steer rheumatology down the right path. The CMC opportunity allows me to focus on the bigger picture of rheumatology in the United States and gives me a refreshing break from the everyday responsibilities of clinical practice.