By Howard Blumstein, MD, FACR Chair, ACR Affiliate Society Council
Our work as a professional organization will never be finished. We have our intermittent and sometimes important victories. However, as soon as we get a chance to breathe a sigh of relief we’re often greeted by a new set of challenges — typically more onerous than the ones we just overcame. It can be difficult to maintain optimism in this environment.
Still, we must remind ourselves that difficult work is our tradition. Our entire educational and professional careers as physicians and allied healthcare providers have been fraught with daunting challenges that we withstood and eventually mastered (remember organic chemistry, gross anatomy, or — for those in my vintage — recertification exams). For the benefit of our profession and our patients, we must maintain perseverance and innovation and streamline our efforts so that we may continue to be the stewards of our specialty for the benefit of our patients, practices, families, and communities.
So, on behalf of the ACR and the Affiliate Society Council, I am excited to announce the official launch of a new advocacy program within the ACR.
Several years in the making, the Key Contacts program will provide our state rheumatology societies and the ACR with the enhanced ability to more nimbly mobilize members to participate in important state legislative advocacy efforts. The Key Contacts list will include a number of rheumatology providers who are both involved in advocacy and live or practice close to their state capital or near other important stakeholders and local legislators. This will enable members of state rheumatology societies to more efficiently lobby on behalf of our specialty. The current key contacts list has been steadily growing since it was first introduced, but we will need as much participation as possible. Please consider volunteering and adding your name to the list. For more information, stop by the advocacy booth in the Discovery Center or visit the ACR website (www.rheumatology.org/advocacy).
I look forward to seeing you in the sessions and working with you to advocate for Advancing Rheumatology! And, as always, we hope you will consider donating to RheumPAC.