November 10-15

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ACR Convergence 2023

San Diego, CA

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Sub-chairs share Annual Meeting session highlights


7 minutes

Educational tracks help you navigate the Annual Meeting. Basic Science is designed for researchers and academicians seeking cutting-edge science. Business/Administration helps practice managers, clinicians, and health professionals get information about business, regulatory, and compliance issues. Clinical Practice highlights the latest developments in patient care. Clinical Science examines the practical treatment applications of the latest research findings for researchers, clinicians, and health professionals. You will also find sessions highlighted for health professionals.

Basic Science

Lindsey Criswell, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said that this year’s Basic Science track would highlight the most interesting, exciting, and impactful science by selecting the most timely topics to explore from a lengthy list of proposed basic science sessions.

Precision Medicine for Rheumatic Disease: Closer Than You Think?: Recent advances in transcriptional profiling in pediatric lupus patients will demonstrate the potential value of immunomonitoring for stratification of patients into discrete molecular groups. “What we are learning about precision medicine may be applied to our complex diseases in rheumatology,” Dr. Criswell said. “Our access to bigger data sets due to electronic medical records gives us better tools to take advantage of that information.”

Checkpoint Inhibitors & Immune-Related Adverse Events: This session will explore the connections between autoimmunity and cancer and focus on checkpoint inhibitors and what they can teach us about autoimmunity. “Immune therapies are a revolution in the treatment of cancer, but in the initial observations among physicians, we are developing clear evidence of autoimmunity among these patients,” she said.

Therapeutic Genome Editing: Prospects & Challenges: A panel of global experts will present the latest data on gene therapy technology and discuss how close we may be to clinical applications. “We are at a point now where we may soon be able to intervene to manipulate a patient’s genome as a therapeutic approach. If we learn to do this in human cells, it could be applied to any disease, including autoimmune rheumatic diseases,” she says.

Other Basic Science sessions of note include Science of Novel Immunotherapy and Adiposity & Arthritis.

Clinical science

“Clinical sessions this year will delve into cutting-edge research findings that are of great interest to rheumatologists,” says Gregory C. Gardner, MD, FACP, Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, whose clinical science team planned this year’s clinical track sessions.

Management of OA: Beyond the Guidelines: Clinicians will enjoy this information-packed, practical session on treating osteoarthritis. “Our speakers will explore the current literature on osteoarthritis, and discuss some new treatments like stem cells harvested from the patient’s fat and blood cells, which is so interesting, as well as cutting-edge research in ways to preserve or regrow cartilage,” he said.

Autoimmunity & Cancer: “Many more patients are using checkpoint inhibitors for cancer therapy, but these drugs and patient cases may teach us something about autoimmune disease as well,” Dr. Gardner said. “Rheumatologists will probably start seeing more patients with autoimmune disease because they’re on checkpoint inhibitors, so we want to explore how these treatments can give us insight on mechanisms of autoimmunity.”

Giant Cell Arteritis—2017 Update: “For giant cell arteritis, there are new therapies coming out and attendees can get a thorough update on treatment options,” he said.

Clinical Practice

Session topics include brand-new classification criteria for lupus and clinical practice guidelines for ANCA-associated vasculitis and management of psoriatic arthritis, Dr. Gardner said.

Vasculitis Mimics: Vasculitis mimics often must be ruled out when diagnosing patients, so this session will be informative and practical for clinicians. “Now that we understand these diseases better, we are coming up with more specific therapies, particularly for EGPA (Churg-Strauss disease).”

Controversies in Diagnosis & Mgmt of Gout & Asymptomatic Hyperuricemia: “We often see patients with high uric acid who are not symptomatic. Should we be treating high uric acid in these patients without gout symptoms, or does this cause other problems?” Dr. Gardner said.

Anatomy for the Clinician (I, II, III): “So many rheumatologists are now using ultrasound, too, so we will have sessions to make sure that you are well versed in anatomy,” Dr. Gardner said.


Practice managers, business administrators, and clinicians can get the latest knowledge and practical tips at 2017 Business/Administration track sessions and keep up with new and evolving guidelines, laws, and regulations.

Refocus Your Practice: Innovation, Improvement, & Insights: Get a fresh update on “quality measures from the practice manager’s standpoint, including key rheumatology quality measures that you should meet,” said Antanya A. Chung, ACR director of practice management.

Reshaping the Relationship Between Physicians & PBMs: This joint ACR/ARHP session will address the relationship between rheumatology practices and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), said Colin Edgerton, MD, AMPC liaison for CORC. “PBMs have come to recent attention as a major negative force in the practice of rheumatology,” he said.

Biosimilar Medicine: Changing the Landscape in Healthcare: Rising drug prices are the hottest topic in medicine. Biosimilars may be one way to alleviate the burden—but what do rheumatologists need to know? “This session will update physicians on the rapidly changing biosimilar landscape. It will address important changes to state legislation efforts and review market reception of the first biosimilar agents,” Dr. Edgerton said.

Performance-Based Contracting: Emerging Issues & Considerations: “Fee for service is being replaced by value-based care, yet physicians are familiar mainly with FFS contracting. Performance-based contracting is a new concept,” Dr. Edgerton said.

ARHP Health Professionals

Keynote Address: Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP, FACSM, world-renowned expert on the positive impact of exercise on health, and behavioral scientist and CDC Senior Fellow Teresa Brady, PhD, will “both talk about movement and how it’s every provider’s responsibility to talk about this with our patients,” says Christine Stamatos, DNP, ANP-C, Chair of the ARHP Annual Meeting Planning Committee.

Weekend Warriors: Sports Medicine for Rheumatology: This joint ACR/ARHP session will discuss common injuries seen in aging patients with osteoarthritis who may live with persistent pain and don’t differentiate their injury pain. Learn how to adjust activity for the injured patient to prevent delayed healing and keep patients on the move.

Understanding the “Who” & “How” in Your Data: Moderators & Mediators in Research: Explore the latest concepts of moderation and mediation in research design and analysis at this engaging ARHP session. Speaker Afton Hassett, PsyD, will share real-world research examples with the goal of helping researchers identify applications for their own projects.

Death and Devastation: The Effect on Care Providers: “Health professionals must deal with their own feelings of loss and even guilt,” Stamatos said. “Our speakers will provide practical approaches to dealing with these feelings.”


Pediatric Vasculitis: Insights From ARCHiVE & ADA2 Deficiency: This year’s pediatric sessions will be engaging for a broad audience, said Anne Stevens, MD, PhD, a pediatric rheumatologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Pediatric vasculitis caused by ADA2 deficiency “can cause stroke, but if you can recognize it early, you can successfully treat these patients. Researchers in a North American network have collected data for the past 15 years on this rare disease, and will share their findings to date,” she said.

What Can We Learn From Monogenic Interferonopathies?: In this groundbreaking session, a National Institutes of Health expert will share the latest research on these rare conditions where “patients look like they have lupus, with inflammation everywhere, but actually have a rare gene defect,” Dr. Stevens said. Speakers will discuss Aicardi-Goutieres syndrome (AGS), SAVI, CANDLE, and more.

Microbiota Alteration in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: In rheumatology, we realize that the microbiome tells us more than we ever suspected in the past about disease pathogenesis and therapeutic possibilities. What is gut bacteria’s role in juvenile arthritis? “What can you do to change a patient’s microbiome? What about antibiotics and their impact on children, and raising the likelihood of juvenile arthritis? We will delve into the epidemiology at this session,” Dr. Stevens said.