2020 marks an important milestone for the Rheumatology Research Foundation. It is the Foundation’s 35th anniversary—a time when we can reflect on our past triumphs and look forward to a bright future for our profession and for our patients.
The ACR established the Research and Education Foundation, later renamed the Rheumatology Research Foundation, in 1985, as a way to raise funds for those developing careers as rheumatologists and in research. In its early years, a modest portfolio of programs was funded at less than $100,000 per year. That portfolio had grown to $500,000 by 1993. In 2001, we crossed the $1 million mark, and from that point, the upward trend became remarkable. By 2005, our research funding was $4 million; today, it is more than $10 million. Since 1985, the Foundation has committed $180 million to advance research and training to improve the health of patients living with rheumatic disease.
The ACR and the Foundation have had a rich history of collaboration and significant achievement since the Foundation’s inception. In many ways, this collaboration reflects the classic triple threat in medicine, as we strive to support research, advances in clinical care and the expansion of education in rheumatology in many interconnected, inseparable ways.
Over the past 35 years, the ACR has contributed more than $18 million to the Foundation. With support from the ACR, along with other significant contributions, the Foundation has become the largest private funding source for rheumatology research and training programs in the U.S. It has raised more than $200 million in support of more than 3,700 research and training awards. This fiscal year, more than $10.7 million dollars is committed to fund rheumatology research, education and training. In addition, the nation’s largest charity evaluator has given the Foundation its highest rating—four stars—for 11 years in a row.
Everything the Foundation does—supporting groundbreaking research and scholarship, providing students and residents with transformative educational experiences, enabling patients to receive the highest quality care—is about making a positive impact on our specialty. That goal for the Foundation’s initiatives has resonated throughout
the rheumatology community.
Leading the Way
Although we are greatly encouraged by the enormous progress we have made over the past 35 years, we recognize that so much remains to be done. The Foundation’s current and most ambitious fundraising campaign, Leading Boldly: Transforming Rheumatology, aims to support the expansion of Foundation programs that foster the continued development of new treatments, cultivate future generations of rheumatology professionals and provide patients with access to innovative treatments. In addition, funds from this campaign will support research that identifies and predicts management approaches to achieve optimal outcomes for people with rheumatic disease.
For 35 years, the ACR has led the way in support of the Foundation, and we have reached out to the rheumatology community as well. We invite you now to help make the Foundation’s 35th anniversary a landmark year by joining us on this transformational initiative to shift the landscape of rheumatology.
Visit the Foundation website to discover how you can help us secure the future of rheumatology and transform the lives of patients living with rheumatic diseases.