The Lupus Initiative is a national education program designed to reduce health disparities experienced by patients with lupus. The Lupus Initiative has developed a free resource toolkit for practitioners of medicine – CME activities, case studies, a curriculum on lupus and health disparities, communication tools and more – to  assist and support in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of patients disproportionately affected by lupus based on race, ethnicity, and gender.  Learn more about the resource toolkit and how to request a free copy.

In 2009, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) solicited applications and chose the ACR to lead an educational effort aimed at eliminating ethnic, racial, and gender disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of lupus. The ACR created The Lupus Initiative to further that effort.

The goal of the Initiative is to develop and disseminate innovative lupus curricula and other teaching resources for physicians and health professionals in training and in practice. The Initiative has developed an infrastructure, researched the viability of resource options, and organized the development and review of a variety of educational materials concerning lupus. Since its inception, the Initiative has been guided by a national consortium of experts in lupus and health disparities from academia, research, patient services, and the federal government. The consortium is chaired by ACR volunteer Sam Lim, MD, MPH, supported by more than 30 ACR members who contribute considerable time, in addition to their expertise, to ensure the success the project.

One of the truly unique features of The Lupus Initiative is its broad circle of collaborations and partnerships. The Lupus Initiative is inclusive of physicians and health professionals and encompasses both private practice and academia. In meaningful ways, it brings together private, public, and nonprofit entities as well as lupus experts and those well-versed in cultural competency, disparities research, and patient awareness. Together, they design multifaceted ways to address lupus disparities and ensure that appropriate messages and education about lupus are delivered in the most effective way. These collaborations improve the profession’s visibility among numerous stakeholders.

The Initiative will also have a positive effect on developing future generations of rheumatology health professionals. One feature of sustainability is ensuring an adequate and competent workforce. Not only does The Lupus Initiative improve competency among non-rheumatologists, but it also provides opportunity and experience for junior rheumatology professionals. A new cadre of younger rheumatology academicians and lupus professionals are dedicating time and effort to the Initiative, benefitting from the guidance and mentorship of senior rheumatologists, and getting due credit for their role in creating a curriculum and other resources for a national audience.

Source: The American College of Rheumatology