From the challenges of rheumatic fever to evaluations of how to wisely and cost effectively use treatments for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the ACR has contributed to the enormous changes and advances that have taken place in rheumatology in the past 75 years. The ACR will be feted for its contributions as the organization celebrates its 75th anniversary at this month’s annual meeting in Philadelphia.
“We can look back and see how far we’ve come, but we’re also looking forward,” says David Pisetsky, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and rheumatology the Duke University Medical Center and chief of rheumatology at the Durham VA Hospital, both in Durham, N.C. Dr. Pisetsky also is editor of a commemorative book that honors ACR’s anniversary and the medical editor for The Rheumatologist.
A number of activities are planned in order to recognize ACR’s anniversary at the annual meeting. A three-dimensional art piece done by artist Lawrence Romorini, to be unveiled at the meeting, incorporates carefully positioned objects—such as documents, books, photos, and even CDs—that are important for the organization’s history.
“All meeting attendees and ACR members will receive the commemorative book chronicling the history of the ACR,” says Lisa Amaker, director of administration and governance for the ACR. The approximately 200-page book chronicles the organization’s history, including the ARHP, the history of the Research and Education Foundation, milestones from annual meetings, and changes in rheumatology practice over the years. Other chapters will address science and treatment areas, such as methotrexate and tumor necrosis factor blockers, Dr. Pisetsky says. The book will also consider the future of rheumatology. “The goal was to be broad and address changes affecting all aspects of rheumatology,” he says.
A number of contributors wrote chapters for the book. “The writers are participants in these advances and people from practice,” Dr. Pisetsky says.
There is also an anniversary-themed annual report to wrap up celebrations planned for ACR’s diamond anniversary, Amaker says. The report will include a timeline of seminal events in the organization’s, as well as rheumatology’s, history.
And Yet More Celebration
In addition to the meeting, the ACR has made other moves to celebrate 75 years. You may have noticed trivia questions on the organization’s Web site this summer to test your knowledge of ACR history. Questions include when and where the first formal business meeting of the American Rheumatism Association took place (answer: June 10, 1934, in Cleveland), where the first academic center in rheumatology was established (answer: Massachusetts General Hospital), what the most popular drug therapy for RA is (answer: methotrexate), and when the ACR’s Web site officially launched (answer: 1995).