Advocacy efforts are key in meeting the needs of our members. My original advocacy efforts for the ACR began on the Regional Advisory Council (RAC). The RAC was established in the early 2000s, and divided the United States into regions. Along with my co-council member, Herbert Baraf, MD, I addressed insurance issues in the Northeast region. We tackled insurance dilemmas for members and teamed up with providers and insurance companies to resolve barriers to good patient care. Over time, the RAC evolved into two cooperative committees, the Affiliate Society Council (ASC) to address the practical needs of community rheumatologists by offering a range of services to state/local affiliates and the Insurance Subcommittee (ISC). These two committees continue to grow the ACR’s vision of supporting rheumatologists at a local level while serving as a national voice for our members. We have been able to represent rheumatologists and their issues through our single professional society—we are seen as the voice of rheumatology, and as a result, can maximally advocate for the field, for our members, and ultimately, for our patients.
You Might Also Like
Explore This IssueJanuary 2013
Also By This Author
Today, the ASC booms with a membership of over 20 societies across the United States. Under the current leadership of Angus Worthing, MD, the ASC continues to grow both by the number of societies and the actions of the affiliates. ASC was formed to serve as a communication tool for members at all levels, bringing important issues to the attention of the Committee on Rheumatologic Care (CORC), and, where necessary, to the ACR board of directors. The reverse has also occurred, where actions of the Board and CORC flow down to the ASC members for dissemination to members at their local society level. I am also hopeful that the ASC can become a way to get more rheumatologists actively involved with ACR and provide the opportunity for many of these members to serve on other committees and eventually the board of directors.
In addition to the support to its societies, the ASC focuses on sharing best practices to improve fundraising, organizing meetings, and supporting local political action. The ASC is also sharing successful strategies for working with insurance companies and payers. I am grateful to my Pennsylvania colleagues who participate in these important ASC meetings, and to the other participants from around the country who share their trials and tribulations, challenges, and successes. Local society success stories include: