November 10-15

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ACR Convergence 2023

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Rheumatology Research Foundation award helps educator establish reputation


2 minutes

30th_annKenneth O’Rourke, MD, found his passion for educating at the beginning of his career at Wake Forest School of Medicine. As his classroom and clinical teaching career progressed, he quickly assumed administrative roles within the school’s medical student curriculum and also was named the rheumatology fellowship program director. Early on, Dr. O’Rourke received the Rheumatology Research Foundation’s Clinician Scholar Educator (CSE) Award and found that the award opened up other avenues to support his work as a clinician educator.

Dr. O’Rourke will speak about the long-term impacts of the CSE Award on his career during Innovative Educators, Novel Techniques: A Rheumatology Research Foundation Special Session from 2:30 – 4:00 pm Tuesday. The session features research conducted by CSE Award recipients.

The CSE Award supports educators dedicated to developing new and improved programs to enhance education in musculoskeletal and rheumatic diseases for future doctors and rheumatology health professionals. Dr. O’Rourke says it allowed him the time and resources to focus on his work to increase rheumatic disease content throughout all four years of Wake Forest’s medical student curriculum, including the introduction and local development of the team-based learning format of case-based education.

“Without a doubt, the work I was able to accomplish with this award supported my increasing participation in local teaching and leadership opportunities, established my reputation as a clinician educator, and served as a foundation from which I have been able to contribute nationally to work focused on education within the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and other venues,” he said.

Dr. O’Rourke has since served as an expert on the team-based learning format, as well as an advisor and mentor for other CSE awardees.

In a time when funding for training and educational research is hard to find, Dr. O’Rourke believes the Foundation’s greatest impact is providing these unique grant opportunities, and in terms of the CSE Award, aiding in the creation of a community of like-minded educators. In return, this community of rheumatology professionals has been able to contribute to education research projects, hold vital roles in the ACR, and advance the field of rheumatology.

“I wish more people knew of the importance of the Foundation’s grant opportunities for rheumatology training and educational research,” he said. “These opportunities can have a substantial impact in career development, and by doing so, support both directly and indirectly the growth of the next generation of rheumatologists.”