The ACR and its Rheumatology Research Foundation continue to work together to provide support for the rheumatology and patient communities. Both organizations are committed to advancing the field of rheumatology with a dedication to expanding the workforce. With a growing number of patients being diagnosed with a rheumatic disease and living longer with the disease, it’s imperative that the number of rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals grows.
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Explore This IssueSeptember 2016
The ACR’s Workforce Study Group has completed the 2015 Workforce Study survey and is working diligently on the final report. This study focused on the character and composition of the overall rheumatology workforce, identifying demographic and employment trends to help inform workforce needs and succession planning in rheumatology practice, education and research in the U.S. Preliminary results suggest that the current U.S. rheumatology workforce is in jeopardy of an accelerated decline due to attrition and reduced productivity.
The ACR and the Foundation aim to increase efforts to attract high-caliber students and residents to rheumatology, recruit and support trainees who express interest in practicing in underserved areas and support post-graduate training for physician assistants and nurse practitioners. In support of the ACR’s mission of Advancing Rheumatology! by enhancing and improving rheumatology care, the Foundation will also work to increase the number of rheumatology fellowships nationwide.
Last year, the Foundation convened a Strategic Planning Task Force to establish a road map for expanding upon its existing programs. Working together over the course of a year, the task force comprised patients, investigators, academicians, clinicians and health professionals. The final plan provides guidance for the Foundation as it works to increase patient access to care, encourage future treatments and cures, and develop mutually beneficial collaborations.
In addition to finding a cure, ACR members engaged in research are encouraged to identify new ways of delivering patient care & improving the value of rheumatology care.
Promoting New Research Directions
Patient treatments have come a long way, but there is still so much to discover. To increase treatment options and the potential for cures, the Foundation has expanded the scope of funding opportunities to promote new research directions. In addition to finding a cure, ACR members engaged in research are encouraged to identify new ways of delivering patient care and improving the value of rheumatology care.
To begin the focus on new research directions, this year, the Foundation opened its largest research award to investigators studying all rheumatic diseases. The Innovative Research Award now also includes a track for health services research.
Engaging Meaningful Partnerships
The ultimate goal of finding cures will require additional resources, and developing meaningful partnerships is a major priority for the Rheumatology Research Foundation. The Foundation will work to build mutually beneficial partnerships with other organizations, institutions and corporations that serve patients and the rheumatology community. These collaborations will bolster the Foundation’s work to improve patient care, while also filling gaps in funding and services.