The ACR’s ability to address the big picture of rheumatologic care while focusing on individual practice and patient needs is one of the many things that attracted Luke Barré, MD, MPH, to the College early in his career.
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With training in both preventive medicine and rheumatology, Dr. Barré believes combined global and local views are important in rheumatology care.
Now in his fourth year as an active member of the ACR, Dr. Barré is finishing his fellowship at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., and preparing for his new role as an academic rheumatologist at Boston University, affiliated with Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence, R.I.
Dr. Barré first joined the College when he received a scholarship to attend the 2014 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting. At that point in his academic journey, he had just decided to transition his focus from immunology to rheumatology.
“In medical school during my clinical immunology rotation, my best days were with rheumatology patients,” Dr. Barré shares. He remembers one patient in particular he was working with who was newly diagnosed with lupus. “This patient was scared and knew little about the disease. It was rewarding to help the patient see that lupus is a manageable disease.”
At this critical point in shaping his career pathway, Dr. Barré says receiving the scholarship to attend his first Annual Meeting “really seemed like serendipity …; it gave me the opportunity to meet many incredible rheumatologists.”
Taking an Active Role
As a rheumatology fellow, Dr. Barré got his first taste of the ACR in action when he traveled to Washington, D.C., in 2016 to attend the annual Advocates for Arthritis event, during which rheumatologists, rheumatology health professionals and patients meet with legislators to share information about the diseases rheumatology patients have. “I saw how important it is to share [information] about our specialty, and I was able to see how respected and active the ACR is in connecting with the public and broader rheumatology community.”
Dr. Barré soon decided to apply for a volunteer position with the College and became a member of the ACR’s Communications and Marketing Committee (CMC).
His work with the CMC has helped him to be “mindful that the means of communication are sometimes just as important as the content you are sharing.”
This year, Dr. Barré is working closely with CMC colleagues to evaluate and explore how to best share with ACR members through various communication vehicles, such as social media, about the work of the College, and the support and resources the ACR provides to them.
Reaping the Rewards of Volunteering
While making time to volunteer with the CMC and also as the ACR’s representative to the American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) Resident and Fellows Section is not always easy, Dr. Barré has quickly learned the benefits of volunteering with the College.
“My work with the CMC has helped me meet rheumatologists from all over the country in different specialties, practice settings and stages in their career,” he shares.
“This work has also helped me to see firsthand how rheumatologists working with the ACR truly care about their patients enough to volunteer their time to work in an area, such as communications, that we are not necessarily trained for, but know is so important to advancing public awareness about rheumatology practice and care.”
For any rheumatologist considering a volunteer role with the College, he encourages them to apply because “there’s a role for everyone who is willing to dedicate just a small amount of time to give back to the ACR and the profession.”
Dr. Barré also makes room for family time with his wife and their two young daughters. They like to ski the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and they look forward to returning to Rhode Island this summer to spend time at the beach and enjoy the East Coast.
Carina Stanton is a freelance science writer in Denve