It seems like yesterday I was asked to write my first presidential column, and here I am penning my last. It’s incredible how fast the time goes and yet how much gets done. That progress is made possible by the dedicated and talented group of ACR volunteers and staff. This year, the College has had more than 1,000 volunteers and almost 100 staff members, all working together. It is a great team! Although space does not permit me to mention the efforts of all, I would like to take the opportunity in my last column to highlight some of the work the ACR has done for you in 2017.
Accomplishments In …
Education: One of the first activities for the ACR president is to attend the meeting of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee (AMPC). The ACR’s flagship educational initiative, the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting, is the largest of its kind in the world and is attended by more than 16,000 people from more than 100 countries. The attendees include clinicians, researchers, basic scientists, educators, fellows in training, students and rheumatology health professionals from multiple disciplines. The goal of the AMPC is to create a strong, innovative and well-balanced inter-disciplinary educational program to meet the needs of all attendees. This year’s Annual Meeting included more than 400 educational sessions, 3,000+ abstract presentations, 100+ hands-on learning opportunities through workshops, Meet-the-Professor sessions and more.
A new online streaming platform was unveiled at this year’s Annual Meeting. Called ACR Beyond, it will transform how learners access the ACR’s recorded sessions and live events and make new content available throughout the year.
A Maintenance of Certification Task Force was formed this year to assess potential alternatives to the American Board of Internal Medicine’s new procedures. The task force’s work is ongoing and will be reported on in 2018.
Raising Awareness of Rheumatic Diseases: The Collaborative Initiatives Working Group launched the Be Fierce, Take Control campaign, designed to raise awareness of lupus among African American and Latino women. Influencers, such as Ashton Kutcher, Lil Wayne and Collete Smith (first female N.Y. Jets coach in history) and others, have shared videos and articles to support the campaign. This effort is in collaboration with the Lupus Foundation of America and funded by a $525,000 grant from the CDC.
Now in its second year, RDAM (Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month) picked up momentum in 2017. The ACR teamed with football Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw to help improve the public’s awareness and understanding of rheumatic diseases. A public service announcement featuring Terry Bradshaw ran on TV during some of the NFL games in September 2017. Other public outreach activities were conducted and media placements made, including social media. Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) introduced a bipartisan resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives recognizing September as National Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month.