Veteran film and television producer Jonathan Koch, who survived a life-threatening medical crisis and difficult recovery, will present this year’s Opening Lecture, “Resilience: Facing a Health Crisis Head On” at the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting.
Koch, President and CCO of Asylum Entertainment, LLC, will speak during the Opening Lecture and Awards, which takes place from 4:30 – 6:15 pm Saturday, October 20. He will focus on the patient’s journey, highlighting how a resilient team of dedicated, skilled health care professionals can work with their patient as partners to triumph over even the most challenging and rare illnesses.
“We’re looking forward to the opening lecture,” said ACR President David I. Daikh, MD, PhD. “We have a speaker who has a significant and unique story that provides the patient perspective, which is always important. While patients don’t often speak in a keynote setting, I think it is going to be a very interesting and important perspective for people to hear.”
In 2015, Koch rapidly developed a serious illness that led quickly to hospitalization in an intensive care unit. Eventually, doctors diagnosed the illness, the rare immune disorder acute hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis. With the correct diagnosis made, doctors started therapy and saved Koch’s life. But it was too late to stop necrosis in his limbs, and he needed amputation of his hands and feet.
Koch, producer of the 2011 miniseries “The Kennedys,” will describe the trauma—physical and emotional—involved with his recovery and how he worked with his health care team so he could return to his career, dance with his daughter, and even play tennis again. This inspirational story highlights medical care from the patient’s perspective and how resilience fuels recovery and regaining independence.
The Opening Lecture will also spotlight how health care providers can emphasize resilience in the care setting for both their patients and themselves.
Koch’s presentation is just one of the many events at this year’s meeting that will put more focus on the patient perspective.
“We’re quite excited as a organization to start involving more patients in the meeting. We incorporated patient perspectives into the Opening Lecture, opportunities to present posters, and a number of concurrent sessions where there will be a patient’s perspective presented alongside a physician’s or nurse practitioner’s perspective. These initiatives will help our rheumatology community,” said Victoria Shanmugam, MBBS, MRCP, Chair of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee.