ACR President E. William St.Clair, MD, says the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting is the premier meeting in rheumatology.
Of course, the president is biased, but he also has evidence about why it’s the best and continuing to improve.
At the top of that list is the quality and depth of the science presented at the Annual Meeting every year.
“It’s unmatched. No matter your clinical or research interests, this meeting has something for you,” Dr. St.Clair said. “I’ve been to all of the Annual Meetings for the past two decades or so, and I think most people would agree: If you’re serious about hearing the best science, then this is the meeting for you.”
That learning starts with the Pre-Meeting Courses. This diverse lineup of all-day and half-day conferences and workshops covers a wide range of interests, from basic and clinical science to education to clinical practice. These courses, “a model for all sub-specialties,” Dr. St.Clair said, have proved popular with fellows-in-training, academicians, clinical practitioners, and any ACR or ARHP member seeking a unique and valuable learning opportunity.
While much of the meeting is directed at rheumatologists in clinical practice, organizers have made sure to include a full program to satisfy the appetite of those in academia who are interested in research and education. ARHP also has developed a robust lineup of sessions for its members, and has recently launched a Business/Administration track to help practice managers deal with the issues impacting the business side of a rheumatology practice.
Dr. St.Clair has highlighted several can’t-miss events taking place this year:
- ACR Review Course (8:00 am – 4:00 pm Saturday):
This is one of the most popular offerings at the Annual Meeting, with more than 2,000 people a year attending.
- Opening Lecture and Awards (4:30 – 6:15 pm Saturday):
Daphne Koller, PhD, who helped create the massive online open courses, or MOOC, movement, will present Education at Scale: Beyond an Experiment.
- Plenary Sessions (11:00 am – 12:30 pm Sunday-Tuesday):
Where all of the meetings’ top abstracts will be presented.
- The Great Debate: Long-term, Low-dose Corticosteroid Use in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis
(2:30 – 4:00 pm Sunday):
“Debates are often entertaining, but they also are an opportunity to hear different perspectives on controversial management issues,” Dr. St.Clair said.
- RISE Registry: How Is It Impacting Patient Care? (8:30 – 10:00 am Monday):
This session will allow rheumatologists to find out how the ACR’s registry works and hear from rheumatologists about their real-world experiences in using it to improve care and efficiency in a practice. “An obvious use for the RISE Registry is for clinical practice improvement, which is part of how rheumatologists will be reimbursed for their professional services in the future,” Dr. St.Clair said. “Rheumatologists should be interested in how they might use RISE in their practice and how they can sign up and join.”
With such a large crowd at the Annual Meeting, attendees need help to make connections. The organizers facilitate and promote many networking opportunities at the Annual Meeting, such as the popular study groups and social gatherings for alumni.
Dr. St.Clair understands that the size of the meeting and the amount of educational and networking offerings can overwhelm and frustrate attendees. First-time attendees and others who would like some additional help can attend a special orientation session that will explain how to navigate the meeting. Dr. St.Clair also likes the official meeting app, which helps attendees identify sessions of interest and prepare for the meeting by building a personalized schedule both in advance and in real time.
“A lot of people get sort of handcuffed a little bit about the size of the meeting, but if you take just a little bit of time ahead of the meeting to prepare, identify sessions of interest, then I think it goes very smoothly,” he said.
Dr. St.Clair’s Dream Day
Dr. St.Clair’s days at the Annual Meeting fill up quickly with the duties that come with being ACR president. But he did outline what would be a dream day in terms of educational offerings. He picked Sunday, Nov. 8. The list below shows how much education can be packed into one day at the Annual Meeting:
7:30 – 8:30 am
Year in Review
8:30 – 10:00 am
Coming to a Joint Near You: Chikungunya
11:00 am – 12:30 pm
ACR Plenary Session I: Discovery 2015
1:00 – 2:00 pm
Immunology Update on B Cell Biology
2:00 – 4:30 pm
ACR and ARHP Concurrent Abstract Sessions
4:30 – 6:00 pm*
Biosimilars in Rheumatology
*“If I have any energy left”