Rheumatology is a small specialty, but the ACR has a large footprint in terms of activities and impact. The ACR’s remarkable success can be attributed to effective collaboration between a highly professional and talented staff and a large number of volunteer members. Under the direction of the Board of Directors, the activities and strategic initiatives of the organization are accomplished by various standing committees, special committees and ad hoc task forces—all comprising volunteers and staff liaisons. The Rheumatology Research Foundation also accomplishes its important work with volunteer ACR members.
Our volunteers come from every aspect of rheumatology, including practicing rheumatologists, academic researchers, industry employees, fellows in training and members of the many professions represented by the ARHP, including therapists, psychologists, pharmacists, nurses and nurse practitioners, physician assistants, practice managers and many others.
The ACR produces a remarkable breadth of services and products. All deliverables are high quality, and many are admired among professional organizations for their innovation and success. Even a partial listing makes it clear that opportunities for volunteer work are varied. For example, consider the range of topics presented at the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting, the online learning modules produced by the ARHP, the many levels of support and advocacy for rheumatology practices and their patients provided via the Committees on Rheumatologic Care and Government Affairs, and the various programs and materials produced in support of medical students, residents and rheumatology fellows in training.
Some of this volunteer work is accomplished by individuals working at home or in their community. Many volunteers travel to committee and leadership meetings around the country, and an increasing number of rheumatology health professionals, trainees and patients travel to Washington, D.C., once or twice a year to meet with legislators and other government officials to advocate for rheumatology and patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. Our volunteers include clinical practitioners, researchers, educators and employees of industry and government.
Thus, if you have a specific interest, there is likely a volunteer role to match your interest.
Despite the many and varied opportunities—and the organizational goal to encourage and foster volunteerism—developing and maintaining an effective process to tap the potential of our volunteers presents challenges. We are fortunate to have great interest and participation from our members.
The formal volunteer roles, including standing committee members, chairs and Board of Directors, are assigned by the Committee on Nominations following self-nomination or nomination by a colleague. Nominations are now open and will close on June 1.