Summer 2017 (Volume 27, Number 2)

Presidential Address

By Joanne Homik, MD, MSc, FRCPC

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I am writing this address as I pass the one-year mark of my two-year tenure as president of the CRA. The past year has been an exciting and productive one, as we continue to define the focus of our work, for the benefit of our members.

We have developed a strong set of guiding principles/governance policies during Dr. Cory Baillie’s tenure. This allows us to now focus on planning the direction of the organization. I am proud of our efforts to seek out the opinions of our members to help develop the strategic priorities of the CRA.

We continue to prioritize key activities within Education and Research, such as the Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) and the CIORA grant program. Our members view these as important benefits of being a member of the CRA, and appreciate how they both help support the delivery of quality care in rheumatology. We have also been able to address new unmet needs of our members with the funding of members to participate in the Indigenous Competency Course (see the Editorial in this issue on p.3) and by including “non-medical expert role” topics at our ASM, such as communication strategies, the science of sleep, and harnessing the exercise trend.

We have started a process of meeting individually with the Chairs of the operational committees of the CRA (Guidelines, Human Resources, Optimal Care and Education so far). This has brought greater understanding as to how their goals and plans will help us to achieve the CRA’s strategic priorities. This has been a valuable learning exercise on both sides.

One of the more challenging goals of the CRA is to be acknowledged as the leaders in arthritis care. The original support of The Arthritis Society in the 1950s fostered the growth of rheumatology as a subspecialty in this country, and established rheumatologists as the leaders in arthritis care among their colleagues. In order to stay relevant as leaders in this field, we need to be engaged with other stakeholders in arthritis care. Policy makers, payers and regulatory bodies increasingly seek our opinions, both through the organization and as individuals. We need to remain relevant in this space and contribute our expertise. We hope to make this a priority over the coming year and be able to report on our successes at the next ASM.

See you in Vancouver, next February 21-24, 2018, at the beautiful brand new Parq JW Marriott and the DOUGLAS hotel!

Joanne Homik, MD, MSc, FRCPC
President, Canadian Rheumatology Association
Associate Professor of Medicine,
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta

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