After nearly two years of discussion, on November 10, 2012, the ACR Research and Education Foundation (REF) debuted its new name and tagline, “The Rheumatology Research Foundation: Advancing treatment. Finding cures.” The announcement is part of an overall branding strategy for the ever-growing fundraising branch of the ACR that better defines its mission and goals.
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Explore This IssueNovember 2012
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The Foundation’s mission is to advance research and training to improve the health of people with rheumatic diseases. It also provides significant support to the training and development of young rheumatologists and academic investigators. While the gist of this mission hasn’t changed, it has expanded over the years. The new name and tagline were chosen deliberately to communicate the broadened vision to physicians, patients, and the general public to help bolster fundraising activities and, in turn, support disease-targeted research through the core awards program. The goal for the next four years is to raise $60 million.
“The Foundation has been growing substantially, and in recent years we really have pushed ourselves in terms of the range of issues that we’re addressing,” says David Daikh, MD, PhD, Foundation president (2011–2013); associate professor of medicine and director of the rheumatology fellowship training program at the University of California, San Francisco; and chief of the arthritis section at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. “We recognize there is great need in terms of training rheumatologists to care for people with rheumatic disease and great need in terms of learning more about the causes and optimal treatment of rheumatic disease. Since the Foundation has been stepping up to meet these needs, we felt this was an important time to look at our brand and make sure we were getting our message out in an understandable way.”
One important thing to understand is that education and training remain a priority for the Foundation. Removing “education” from the name was done for the sake of clarity.
“The intent is not to underemphasize education but to clarify the mission of the Foundation,” says William J. Arnold, MD, member at large (2010–2013) and a rheumatologist at Illinois Bone and Joint Institute LLC in Morton Grove, Ill. “We are the ACR. The research foundation is the single largest nonprofit supporter of rheumatology education in the country outside of the government. It’s the largest private source of funds to support rheumatology education, and that’s going to be the same going into the future, if not more.”
Research and Training Goals
The Foundation promotes its mission through a number of annual awards. Since 1985, the Foundation has given more than 2,000 awards and grants to medical and graduate students, residents, fellows, physicians, and health professionals, representing a total commitment of nearly $100 million. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has given nearly $110 million to Foundation grantees who have previously received a career development–type award.