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Summer 2020 (Volume 30, Number 2)

Passing the Torch

Vandana Ahluwalia, Past-President of the CRA

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Two years ago, I took on the role of the President of the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA), and it has been a very rewarding experience. I learned that good things happen when dedicated people work together towards a shared goal. Our volunteer members have accomplished a lot because of their strong professional relationships with one another.

Just before the start of my tenure, our new CEO, Ahmad Zbib, joined our team. In partnership with the board, committee volunteers, and dedicated staff, he has been focused on providing value for all our members, and continually striving towards improving our organization.

I consider myself privileged and proud to have led the final stages of what I believe has been a transformational journey of the CRA. This started several years ago, with the introduction of a new governance model. This journey required a considerable amount of time, energy and commitment. During the last two years we focused on strategic alignment of our resources, as well as planning for a bright and sustainable future. This resulted in a newly minted strategic plan which will set the stage for the next three-to-five years and help us deliver measurable impact. Furthermore, our work on identifying a new organizational structure, through which we can continue to serve our members and the public, will help future-proof our organization.

The Journal of Rheumatology has nestled into its home at the CRA very nicely. Our relationship is maturing, built on mutual respect, and is strengthened by open communication. The Journal continues to publish internationally renowned articles in rheumatology research. It is expanding globally through its “clinical highlights” publication to inform and educate rheumatologists around the world.

Our flagship activity, the Annual Scientific Meeting, was highly attended in beautiful Victoria, B.C. This year, we featured a new review course for general rheumatologists which was very well received. We also hosted our inaugural Canadian Arthritis Research Conference. This conference brought together the Arthritis Society, CIHR-IMHA, and the CRA to support research that seeks to improve the lives of people with arthritis and rheumatic diseases.

During my tenure at the CRA, I have learned that leadership is not an innate trait, but a skill that can be taught. It is important that we don't forget to nurture those with the potential and motivation to become future leaders of this organization. It has been my honour to work with such an enthusiastic and dedicated Board of Directors who have made my job a pleasure. I am excited to pass the torch to Evelyn Sutton, our incoming president, who will lead us and celebrate with us during our upcoming 75th anniversary in 2021.

Vandana Ahluwalia, MD, FRCPC
Past-President, CRA

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