As we emerge from the grips of a global pandemic, we are taking this opportunity to pause and reflect on the ARP and what our division brings to the care of our patients.
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Explore This IssueApril 2021
I found the words of Amanda Gordon’s inaugural reading of her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” inspirational and instructive for our past, present and future journey:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried …
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made.
—Amanda Gordon, Jan. 21
As the interprofessional division of the ACR, the ARP has worked hard throughout the year to be the bridge for interprofessional members and bring your voices to all aspects of the College’s activities. Through our volunteers, the ARP has participated in the development of the following resources and educational programming.
2020 in the Mirror
Throughout the past year we focused on ensuring our members had the tools and resources necessary to respond to the SARS-CoV-2 infection. We continue this important work, with frequent updates to the guidance documents created on COVID-19.
Vaccines are being rolled out, and although the process may not be smooth, vaccination will protect us and reduce the severity and transmission of this viral infection. To understand how the vaccines work and their impact on our patients with rheumatic diseases, review the ACR vaccine clinical guidance document.
Treatments for SARS-CoV-2 are improving and the mortality rate has dropped considerably—although it is still too high. Follow the latest recommendations for treatment in patients with rheumatic diseases from the ACR/ARP coronavirus clinical task forces—for adult patients; and for pediatric patients.
Self-care behavioral health resources are flourishing and available on a variety of platforms. A team of ARP members has curated a reference list of diverse resources.
More Than COVID-19
2020 brought many changes to the way we work and learn, and as we continue to shelter in place and socially distance, the ACR is Zoom-ing through meetings and activities to bring you the guidance and support you need for 2021 and beyond.
Through our online platforms, we have access to great minds. Whether you are a practicing rheumatologist, clinical pharmacist, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, nurse, occupational or physical therapist, practice manager or researcher, tremendous content for all members of the interprofessional team is available. These enduring products are relevant and available to help you meet the challenges you face every day.
- ACR Convergence 2020 was a great success, and the meeting content remains available through June 1, 2021. This year we had more than 16,000 attendees from 111 countries. If you missed the live event, you can still earn more than 200 continuing medical education credits from the comfort of your home or convenience of your office: https://www.rheumatology.org/Annual-Meeting.
- Another tool that is here to stay is the Virtual Rheumatology Learning Collaborative (ViRL). Initially created to address the needs of physician fellowship training in the middle of a pandemic, the ViRL lecture series brings together thought leaders from across the rheumatology spectrum. These lectures are fantastic for all clinicians and researchers seeking to understand rheumatology better and are available to members of the College at no additional cost: https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Fellow-in-Training/Virtual-Rheumatology-Program/Learning-Collaborative.
To improve your learning experience, the ARP is working to enhance its online educational activities. The Fundamentals of Rheumatology Course will soon be available to train all your staff on different disease states, how to assess your patients’ pain and function, and the basics of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatments for your patients. The new platform is interactive and flexible.
The Advanced Rheumatology Course is under revision and will use a similar interactive platform to enhance the learning experience. It will include a comprehensive set of activities to provide a broad overview of rheumatology.
The Training Rheum is a unique program that provides an immersive rheumatology curriculum for nurse practitioners and physician assistants not found elsewhere. It will also prove helpful to pharmacists entering rheumatology or transitioning in from another specialty. This virtual program will provide a bootcamp lecture series (launching this summer).
Beyond creating educational tools, the ACR and the ARP have worked to advocate for you and your patients aggressively over the years. In 2021, these efforts will continue, with a focus on patient access to timely and effective therapies.
Check out the ACR on Air podcast. While you’re at it, listen to each of the 20 episodes to date covering more important topics relevant across the field of rheumatology. This is a tremendous resource for on-the-go learning.
Over the past year and into 2021, several non-COVID-related task forces were working to seek a more diverse, equitable, inclusive and global response to patients with rheumatic diseases. Results of their work will inform the structure and practice of our organization and the innovative solutions we aim to provide as we respond to our changing environment.
The Rheumatology Research Foundation has also been busy this past year. View the award recipients for 2020. Many awards were granted to ARP members, and in an exciting development, the Innovative Research Award is now available for ARP members. Applications are due July 1.
Don’t miss the scholarships available to assist members with the Fundamentals and Advanced Rheumatology Courses. Find out what funding opportunities are available.
Coming in 2021
A number of clinical guidelines were completed at the end of 2020, with several being published in 2021. Watch for new guidelines on rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis (including Kawasaki disease for pediatrics) and juvenile idiopathic arthritis, as well as a guidance paper on hydroxychloroquine cardiotoxicity and JIA disease activity scale cutoff criteria. Download the Guideline and Criteria App to your phone to keep up with the latest.
While we stay home and safe, the College continues to move forward. Every day our members are working to improve access, knowledge and outcomes for our complex patients. Thank you for your time, commitment and enthusiasm in being a part of this amazing organization and our journey forward.
Christine Stamatos, DNP, ANP-C, directs the Fibromyalgia Wellness Center within the Division of Rheumatology at Northwell Health, Huntington, N.Y. She is also assistant professor at Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies, Hempstead, N.Y. She became the ARP’s 52nd president in November 2020.