Collaboration and confidence These are among the benefits that several volunteer leaders of the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP) said they’ve recognized during a recent interview by The Rheumatologist. The membership of the ARHP is varied—advanced practice nurses, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, social workers, epidemiologists, physician assistants, educators, clinicians and researchers—and six ARHP members talked to us about how their service on one or more committees has helped them achieve their professional goals.
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Explore This IssueJanuary 2015
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Similarities exist in their experiences and impressions of committee service: rewarding work that is fun, plus the additional benefit of new personal and professional relationships with like-minded professionals.
Afton Hassett, PsyD, is a pain psychologist/researcher at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. During her 14 years of ARHP membership, she has realized such benefits as collaboration for research and friendships built through the shared experiences while planning events.
About five years ago, during a lunch with current ARHP President Jan Richardson, PT, PhD, OCS, FAPTA, the topic of committees came up and the idea of serving on one sounded like it would be fun. “I had no idea how much goes into an event and how much is done by volunteers,” Dr. Hassett says, until she joined the Pain Task Force. Since then she has served on the ARHP Annual Meeting Program Subcommittee, Executive Committee and Clinical Focus Course Committee.
Dr. Hassett thinks working with other ARHP members has improved her organizational and leadership skills. She has been impressed with the coordinated effort between the ACR and the ARHP, with 11 volunteers and two staff members, to put on the Annual Meeting. “I learned how hard it is to put [it] together.”
Her contributions have centered on promoting sessions that more effectively utilize technology (e.g., apps for patient self-management); creating RheumChat, which showcases talks inspired by TED Talks; and promoting Boot Camps for immunology and other topics that offer attendees a series of related talks over the course of the meeting.
Dr. Hassett’s research has focused on resiliency, and she brought that spirit to the 2014 meeting, where sessions highlighted patient strengths, well-being and how to help patients better self-manage their conditions.
Greg Taylor, MSW, is a certified clinical social worker at the Mary Pack Arthritis Program at Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia. During his two years as an ARHP member, he has found the main benefits of being a member are the publications, such as Arthritis Care & Research, access to the Annual Meeting and the expanded knowledge base he gains from both.