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Explore This IssueApril 2019
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We all know words can be powerful. They often resonate with several levels of meaning, enriching our understanding and broadening our perspective. Take the word promise, for example. It implies responsibility, as in, “We promise to do it.” It is also imbued with hope, as in “This idea has great promise.” At the ACR we often speak about our brand promise: “We are here for you so you can be there for your patients.” To live up to this promise, we find we need other words to help us. One such word is collaboration—working with others to achieve a goal.
Collaboration is such an intrinsic part of providing patient care and advancing scientific research that we don’t question its importance in our work. Looking at collaboration from the organizational perspective, we know that for the ACR to support our members in the way we have promised, we must increasingly collaborate within our own organization and with others. If we are to serve as a trusted partner of those in our specialty dedicated to improving the lives of people suffering with rheumatic disease, the ACR can have no silos. Without embracing collaboration, how can the ACR truly fulfill its role as responsible citizen and steward of our specialty? Thus, we have taken the word collaboration and explicitly incorporated it into the ACR vocabulary, making it the express focus of one of our departments: Collaborative Initiatives, known as COIN.
So what does COIN do?
COIN serves as a hub where individual and organizational collaborators meet to provide new and continuing opportunities for professional development of ACR and ARP members at all levels of experience. COIN shares ACR expertise and resources with those most in need, and provides the ways and means for us to fulfill our role as stewards of our profession. How do we do this?
Supporting Children & Youth
Since 2016 COIN has concentrated on ensuring public schools have access to information on lupus. COIN, in collaboration with the Georgia Council on Lupus Education and Awareness (GCLEA), Big Bend Rural Health Network (BBHRN) in Florida and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD), has worked to conduct live and online education sessions on lupus for school nurses. To date, the education sessions have been attended by more than 300 school professionals.
Additionally, through these efforts, lupus has been included on the Fulton County, Ga., School District’s data tracking survey. In Florida, information on lupus has been added to the toolkits tab on the state’s school health webpage, and lupus has been added as a reported condition on the school health report that is completed by all 67 county school health programs annually.
To build on these efforts, COIN is now developing two plans for use by school nurses. The first is designed to support students with lupus in becoming independent and able to self-manage through the transition from pediatric to adult care. The other is a school nurse lupus care plan. Rheumatologists, pediatricians and rheumatology fellows at UT Southwestern and St. Louis University are working together to create these plans. Once completed, the ACR and its collaborators will pilot them in Georgia and Florida, and then disseminate them nationwide.
The second COIN project is focused on students, the Playbook Project. It is intended to raise awareness among college-age African-American women, a group disproportionately affected by lupus and in need of education about lupus. The activities included in the Playbook Project have already been implemented on nine college campuses.