Spring 2021 (Volume 31, Number 1)
Update on CRA Initiatives
The Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA) is pleased to provide the following updates on upcoming initiatives:
Telehealth Working Group
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced rheumatologists to
quickly adapt to using telehealth and, love it or hate it, telehealth
is here to stay. The CRA Joint Count survey (page
26) gives an overview of how telehealth is used, billed, and
the challenges our members and patients face.
The Telehealth Working Group is developing a position
statement that can be used for advocacy, and is considering
the development of training opportunities and resources
to help address the needs that have been identified
through the CRA survey. More announcements will
be made in the coming months. Many thanks to co-chairs
Vandana Ahluwalia, Deborah Levy and Brent Ohata for leading
Youth to Adult Rheumatology Transition Care
The Youth to Adult Rheumatology Transition Care Working
Group seeks to advance a national strategy to ensure high quality
transition care can be accessed throughout the country.
Led by Cheryl Barnabe, this group was formed in the fall of
2019 to identify urgent priorities through a CRA needs assessment
and an environmental scan. Based on the outcomes
of the prioritization, working group members from the
CRA and the Arthritis Health Professions Association (AHPA)
have engaged in activities to address the needs identified.
Included in that list of priorities is curating an accessible
collection of resources to support transition care across the
country and adapting transition care guidelines for practice
in Canada, which will be published later this year. An
educational blueprint will be developed to support strategic
post-graduate medical education and continuing professional
development activities, and members of the working
group are providing workshops on transition care topics and
virtual transition care orientation sessions and presentations.
To support advocacy efforts, the group is developing a
resource that CRA members can use to lobby for the funding
they require to support transition care in their jurisdiction.
Stay tuned for CRA announcements about these important
and much-needed initiatives in the coming months.
National Undergraduate Rheumatology Curricula
Many graduating medical students lack confidence and
competence in the evaluation and management of rheumatic
and musculoskeletal disorders (RMDs). A major barrier
to improving this situation is the lack of agreement
between rheumatologists on how much and what to teach
about RMDs in medical school and a lack of standardization
of rheumatology learning outcomes.
The CRA’s National Undergraduate Rheumatology Curricula
Project (NURC) is currently working towards developing
learning outcomes that will serve as a resource for all Canadian
undergraduate rheumatology programs. A modified
Delphi technique was used to generate consensus opinion of
learning outcomes critical to Canadian undergraduate rheumatology
curricula and presented at the 2021 CRA Annual
Scientific Meeting. Further presentations and publications
will be prepared with an overarching goal to nationally disseminate
the final list of learning outcomes to all Canadian
undergraduate rheumatology programs by summer 2021.
CRA COVID-19 Response Webinar Series
The CRA COVID-19 Response Webinar Series was developed
out of necessity at the start of the global pandemic
to provide the health care providers within the rheumatology
community additional educational resources to assist
with their patient outcomes.
The webinars are an Accredited Group Learning Activity
(Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification
Program of the Royal College of Physicians and
Surgeons of Canada and approved by the CRA. One-hour
sessions are developed based on needs identified by the
CRA membership, are delivered live, and available on-demand
afterwards. Series 1, launched in the early days of
COVID-19, drew from lessons learned from other countries
and spanned topics on telehealth, SARS-CoV-2 testing and
the journey of the rheumatology patient. As we continue to
learn more about COVID-19, patient care, and treatments,
our members’ needs have evolved, and so has the series.
Series 2, launching in early 2021, will focus on vaccination
and immunity, therapeutics, telehealth and the global
rheumatology COVID registry data. For more information,
National Written Rheumatology In-Training
The 12th National Written Rheumatology In-Training Examination
(NWRITE), for adult rheumatology subspecialty
residents, provides reliable and valid national comparisons
between residents. The CRA, in collaboration with training
programs, delivered this in English and French again in 2020.
This formative (practice) exam timing has moved to October
to provide feedback prior to the trainees' Royal College exam.