Sarah Schafer, MD
Spotlight on rheumatology education- You can make a difference
Updated: Sep 26, 2022
Rheumatologists have few opportunities to stay abreast of Sjogren’s knowledge. Sjogren’s is neglected at every level of medical education. Rheumatologists who stay up to date usually do so by reading the literature on their own initiative. On the other hand, continuing education programs are numerous and readily available for the other diseases they treat.
You can promote Sjogren’s education right now. (Time sensitive)
The upcoming American College of Rheumatology (ACR) meeting, known as the “ACR Convergence, 2021” will have five Sjogren’s presentations. Most rheumatologists I know participate in this annual meeting. You can encourage your rheumatologist to attend the Sjogren’s presentations. Don’t assume that they will notice the Sjogren’s talks on the schedule. Multiple topics are scheduled during each time slot. Rheumatologists might need a “nudge” to choose the Sjogren’s option. The five Sjogren’s sessions are being offered thanks to hard work of the Sjogren’s Foundation. Still, we have a long way to go with Sjogren’s education. When you look at the number of sessions allotted to other topics, you will see why Sjogren’s is easily lost in the sea of other diseases.
Compare the 5 total Sjogren’s presentations being offered at the ACR 2021 meeting with:
Rheumatoid arthritis – more than 400 presentations Systemic lupus erythematosus- more than 300 presentations
Spondyloarthropathies- about 300 presentations
Systemic sclerosis -137 presentations
Gout- 86 presentations
Dermatomyositis/ myositis -116 presentations for this rare disease category
Here is a link if you want to peek at the schedule.
How to “market” the Sjogren’s sessions with your rheumatologist
Email your rheumatologist, encouraging them to attend the Sjogren’s sessions at the ACR meeting. These sessions are summarized in a flyer which is available in this Sjogren’s Foundation’s blog post.
To make this easy for you, I’m sharing the email that I sent to my rheumatologist as an example. I chose to highlight the presentation on the Pulmonary Clinical Practice Guidelines. You may choose something else to highlight, or simply share the flyer. Write your own letter or copy and paste the one below, filling in in the blanks. Be sure to attach the ACR flyer (found in the Sjogren’s Foundation’s blog post) to your email. If you plan to see your rheumatologist in the next few weeks, you can also print out the flyer and share it with them.
PLEASE DO THIS SOON! The ACR meeting takes place in early November, so it is best to get this letter out by mid-October.
SAMPLE LETTER TO RHEUMATOLOGISTS
Dear Dr. ____
I’m writing to let you know about a unique opportunity to update your Sjogren’s knowledge at the upcoming ACR Convergence, November 5-9, 2021.
The attached flyer provides a list of Sjogren’s-related sessions at the meeting. I would like to highlight the presentation about the new Clinical Practice Guidelines for Pulmonary disease in Sjogren’s, November 6, 11:15-noon ET. These guidelines cover the current recommendations for monitoring, diagnosing, and managing pulmonary manifestations in Sjogren’s. I’m highlighting this particular session because I have learned that Sjogren’s lung disease is far more often than previously recognized. Dr. Augustine Lee, the lead author and pulmonologist, and Dr. Nancy Carteron, a contributing author and Sjogren’s rheumatology expert, will be presenting.
Please share this letter and flyer with your colleagues, including pediatric rheumatologists who may be particularly interested in the Childhood Sjogren’s Disease Workgroup.
____ (Your name), Sjogren’s patient