When the rheumatology community converges in San Diego this November, there will be a lot to look forward to: the latest in science, research, and education in the field, and making connections with colleagues — all in a locale known for idyllic weather and a welcoming vibe.
“We say that the West Coast is the best coast, and being a West Coast native, I look forward to ACR Convergence 2023 being in San Diego,” said ARP President Kori Dewing, DNP, ARNP, ANP-C, RN-C. “San Diego is known for sunshine, beautiful beaches, palm trees, and baseball, and I hope that everyone gets to celebrate a bit of all of that when they attend ACR Convergence this year.”
One of the unique aspects of the meeting is that it is for the whole rheumatology team, including researchers, scientists, providers who see patients in the clinic, rehabilitation specialists, social workers, occupational and physical therapists, nurses, pharmacists, and administrators. What’s more, Dr. Dewing said, is that there is programming appropriate for all levels of learning, from beginners to experts.
The Annual Meeting Planning Committee (AMPC) has developed a comprehensive program with 32 ARP-focused sessions, which includes the Daltroy Lecture on Sunday, Nov. 12; the ARP Distinguished Lecture on Monday, Nov. 13; and ARP Keynote on Tuesday, Nov. 14.
“We all attend ACR Convergence to stay up to date on the latest in research and education, and the programming this year promises to be outstanding, with new content and timely topics such as oral healthcare, grief in rheumatology patients, and burnout,” Dr. Dewing said. “There are several diversity, equity, and inclusion-specific sessions interwoven throughout the conference. Favorites like the Stats Bootcamp or the Immunology Bootcamp are also back. This meeting really has something for everyone.”
The Radiology Bootcamp will be on Saturday, Nov. 11. The three-part Stats Bootcamp will feature daily sessions starting on Sunday. The Immunology Bootcamp will include one session on Monday and one session on Tuesday.
The AMPC has extended the meeting, Nov. 10–15, to match its pre-pandemic schedule and is bringing back other pre-pandemic favorites like the in-person Poster Hall.
“The planning committee has intentionally lengthened the meeting back to the pre-COVID-19 length, recognizing the importance of the evening social time for attendees,” Dr. Dewing said. “Whether you spend that time attending a reception, a private event with friends, or a non-CME, industry-sponsored dinner, this is where friendships are forged and memories are made.”
The Networking Lounges Grand Opening event on Saturday evening will give attendees in San Diego their first opportunity of the conference to connect with colleagues old and new in the all-new Networking Lounges.
“It is a given that the science and educational opportunities at ACR Convergence are second to none,” Dr. Dewing said. “This year, we are also focusing on the fun. Let’s be honest with ourselves, that is the real reason we all enjoy this annual tradition and look forward to the meeting year after year.”
To facilitate attendee engagement with one another, the ARP also will host an Interprofessional Team Networking Lounge, designed as an informal place to meet with friends, catch up, and strategize together in between sessions.
“You can always watch a session you miss at a later time on demand, but you can’t replace the networking opportunities and the chance to make professional friendships that will last a lifetime,” Dr. Dewing said. “Prioritize time with colleagues and meet new people. Make connections.”
The traditional Networking Lunch will combine with the ARP Business Meeting on Sunday from 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
“This will be a great chance to celebrate the work our volunteers have been doing over the last year and meet other ARP members and attendees from around the globe,” Dr. Dewing said.
As an advanced practice nurse, Dr. Dewing has seen the rheumatology community evolve over the past 20 years from a physician-focused approach to a team approach, a transition that underscores the need for robust interprofessional programming at ACR Convergence.
“There is an understanding that the patient is best served when they are being treated by an interprofessional team and that every member of that team is valuable,” she said. “This includes the scientists who research the diseases, the statisticians who try to make sense of data, our industry partners who develop new treatments, clinicians who treat patients, rehab specialists who help patients regain function, social workers who empower patients, pharmacists who manage the complex treatments prescribed, nurses who educate patients, and administrators who hold it all together.”
On Monday from 12–1 p.m., the session Fill the Rheum: Make Way for the Interprofessional Team! promises to be a high-energy, feel-good session that addresses this concept.
“It requires a diverse group in the audience in order for success, so grab your favorite rheumatologist and bring them along for the fun,” Dr. Dewing said.