“In my short time with the VSR, we have been able to put new structure in place for society communications and add a new level of connection with fellows, allied health professionals and more rheumatologists to take part in a very robust educational agenda for our annual meeting,” Ms. Craig explains.
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Explore This IssueOctober 2018
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Through regular communications now reaching more society members, Ms. Craig is also focused on achieving the vision of Dr. Sullivan, Dr. Gewanter and the VSR board to ramp up state advocacy efforts through grassroots activities with Virginia legislators.
“Knowledge is power when it comes to advocacy,” Ms. Craig acknowledges. “By providing our society members with the latest updates from the ACR and state legislators about proposed legislation that impacts rheumatology, we can create a stronger voice at a state level to ensure the rheumatology perspective is heard—the stronger the voice, the better chance our advocacy efforts have of informing critical decisions in our state.”
Dr. Gewanter adds, “we know that when rheumatologists speak up and connect with other specialties to share concerns about legislation impacting our practice, it most certainly makes a difference—but we have to be organized to do it.”
With Ms. Craig at the helm, Dr. Gewanter says the VSR board is looking forward to bringing a greater sense of connection to rheumatologists across Virginia, something he sees as essential to helping the rheumatology community thrive.
To other state society leaders across the country who are considering executive director leadership, Dr. Gewanter suggests candid conversation about what is slipping through the cracks and where society leaders can focus their efforts to advance society education, advocacy and increased collegiality to support fellow rheumatologists in their practices. “Admittedly, there will be increased initial costs, [but] the long-term benefits are worth the investment.”
Carina Stanton is a freelance science journalist based in Denver.