As an ACR volunteer who comes from the world of academic medicine and research, I knew I would have a lot to learn when I joined the ACR Board of Directors in 2000. But I could not have anticipated the pace, scope, or complexity of the changes rheumatology has experienced in the past six years. All ACR members can recognize the impressive advances in understanding rheumatic diseases and the significant improvements in therapeutic options for our patients. Rheumatology can take a great deal of credit for bringing biologic therapies to medicine, but along with those advances have come important challenges for all ACR members.
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Explore This IssueNovember 2006
While participating in board and ACR Executive Committee discussions, my colleagues and I have responded to opportunities for continued strengthening of the specialty but have also been faced with crafting appropriate and productive responses to conditions in the changing healthcare environment. The growth in the cost of healthcare cannot be sustained and yet our patients need access to increasingly sophisticated therapies. Healthcare is moving in the direction of requiring documentation of both quality of care and efficiency, yet practicing physicians have neither the experience nor resources to respond to new requirements coming from the government and insurance companies. We have concerns regarding the strength of academic rheumatology divisions and the capacity of those divisions to adequately train the next generation of rheumatologists.
A Comprehensive Resource
We want the ACR to be the first place you turn to know more about an issue affecting your practice, your professional life, or the changing world of healthcare.
There is much that is exciting and promising in our field, and there are also many changes and challenges. Whatever rheumatology may face, our primary responsibility is to ensure that our members are aware, educated, and prepared for the future. A constant theme in our Executive Committee meetings has been the need to communicate more effectively to our members. We could not be more excited to present the first issue of The Rheumatologist, a publication that we hope will be your most comprehensive resource for information important to your interests and work. We want the ACR to be the first place you turn to know more about an issue affecting your practice, your professional life, or the changing world of healthcare. The Rheumatologist will be one of your most important resources for keeping informed about the work of ACR and a spectrum of broader topics important to rheumatologists, rheumatology health professionals, and researchers.