Dr. Fahey: On tough clinic days, volunteering recharges my batteries by making a difference outside of day-to-day practice.
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Dr. Reddy: I have particularly enjoyed the opportunity to meet rheumatologists from all over the country and at different points in their careers and to learn about their perspectives on the practice of rheumatology.
Rheumatologists like me, in community practice, sacrifice a lot to volunteer for ACR, because each hour of service could be spent seeing patients and building one’s practice. But in my experience, my practice has gained so much as a direct result of my service that the effort has paid off many times over.—Angus Worthing, MD, FACP, FACR
TR: Given your experiences, why would you encourage others in community practice to serve on an ACR committee?
Dr. Huston: Community rheumatologists should absolutely volunteer for the ACR! I know everyone is very busy and it can be daunting to take on something new. However, it is absolutely worthwhile and time well spent. The people you meet and the friendships, collegiality and knowledge gained will make you grateful for the experience. And at the same time, ACR activities will be strengthened and enhanced by more community rheumatologist participation.
Dr. Reddy: The majority of RHIT committee members are in academic positions and have extensive expertise in research using information technologies, but it is important for RHIT to also have the input of community rheumatologists, who make up the bulk of the practices participating in the Rheumatology Informatics System for Effectiveness (RISE) registry.
Dr. Worthing: Volunteering on an ACR committee can be a start of a leadership journey at ACR and other organizations. Volunteering provides community rheumatologists an inside look into what’s going on at the national level and gives us access to people and relationships that help sustain us and our practice.
TR: Would you like to share any final thoughts about the importance of volunteering for committee work?
Dr. Snow: Volunteering is a way to discuss with and listen to others who have the same issues you have and to learn from their successes and failures. In doing so, you will create a network to make your practice stronger and healthier. In addition, volunteering is a way to give back to our specialty, to our patients and to future rheumatologists.
Dr. Fahey: Volunteering allows networking with colleagues, helps inspire patients to volunteer as well and improves understanding of all the great things the ACR does to help our specialty.