ORLANDO—In many ways, the ACR lives by the motto “the future is now.” This motto is clear with regard to the activities of the ACR’s Committee on Rheumatology Training and Workforce Issues (COTW), which seeks to assist rheumatology trainees with advancing their careers from an early stage. By developing curricula and educational tools, designing and implementing career development programs, monitoring career opportunities, providing networking platforms and resources for fellowship program directors, and surveying workforce trends, the committee helps young rheumatologists to be successful and find meaning in their work.
At the 2022 ACR Education Exchange, April 28–May 1, Bethany Marston, MD, associate professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine, University of Rochester, N.Y., and chair of the COTW, provided an overview of the committee’s most recent accomplishments.
In the age of COVID-19, Dr. Marston said there has been a push to make educational activities more widely accessible in an online, on-demand fashion. In this vein, the E-Learning Subcommittee of the COTW has helped put several initiatives under one roof. The chair of this subcommittee is Anisha Dua, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine, Northwestern School of Medicine, Chicago. Under her leadership, the subcommittee is working on several projects, including the Virtual Rheumatology Program for Fellows in Training (V-FIT). V-FIT is a compendium of online courses developed by rheumatology experts to address specific educational needs of fellows in training. All free of charge, the initiative’s four online courses are:
- Virtual Rheumatology Learning Collaborative (ViRL);
- Virtual Rheumatology Practicum—Adult (ViP Adult);
- Virtual Rheumatology Practicum—Pediatric (ViP Pediatric); and
- Virtual Rheumatology Teaching Lessons (ViTLs).
The ViRL program was an eight-week lecture series in 2020 that discussed such important topics as adult inflammatory eye disorders, rheumatoid arthritis pathogenesis, immune-related adverse events due to immune checkpoint inhibitors, nonradiographic axial spondyloarthritis and other subjects. The catalog and corresponding video links can be found online.
The ViP Adult program is intended for first-year rheumatology fellows and covers topics that include immunology basics for the general rheumatologist; approaches to hyperCKemia in rheumatology, rheumatic emergencies and musculoskeletal radiology. The third series, overseen by working group Chair Lisa Zickuhr, MD, assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis, launched in July. Lectures for this series can be found online.
The ViP Pediatric program includes lectures on cytokine storm syndromes, autoinflammatory diseases, juvenile dermatomyositis and the approach to aches and pains in children. The third series of ViP Pediatric, overseen by working group Chair Stacey Tarvin, MD, MS, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, was also launched in July. Lectures can be found online.