Committee spotlight

The Committee Spotlight was created to share the important work of our many volunteers whose time, effort, talent, and experience help the ACR/ARHP committees continue to have great impact and effect change in the field of rheumatology. Throughout the year, committees and their current priorities will be highlighted.

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Communications and Marketing Committee Update

November 2017
Kelly Weselman, MD, Chair

Coming off of Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month in September, the Communications and Marketing Committee (CMC) met recently in conjunction with the 2017 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting.

The ACR and Simple Tasks had a very successful Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month (RDAM) in 2017, specifically with the involvement of spokesperson Terry Bradshaw.

Mr. Bradshaw filmed a new PSA this year, letting people know that “You don’t have to be an athlete to have sore joints.” The PSA aired during several primetime NFL games and had approximately 95 million TV views, which more than doubled the views of last year’s PSA. Total views for this non-paid ad represented nearly $3 million in equivalent ad value to the ACR.

New this year to RDAM, a Joint IQ Quiz was introduced on the Simple Tasks website, with participants being eligible to enter a contest to win a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey signed by Mr. Bradshaw. There were over 400 entries to the contest, culminating in approximately 450,000 advertising impressions and nearly 9,000 visits to the website.

Also new this year, ACR member David Borenstein, MD, participated in a Facebook Live event with his patient, Connie Paradaise. The total number of impressions from the video hit over 30,000. The ACR and Simple Tasks also bought advertising space in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, promoting RDAM and the Joint IQ Quiz.

Repeating the success of 2016 RDAM, Rep. David B. McKinley (R-WV) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) introduced a bipartisan resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives recognizing September as national Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month. In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey also proclaimed September Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month.

In addition to RDAM, one of the primary responsibilities of the CMC is to review abstracts accepted to the Annual Meeting and determine which abstracts should be selected for a press release and media coverage. A total of 26 abstracts were selected to be covered by the media during the meeting. The press releases can be found in the ACR Newsroom. Additionally, six press conferences were held during the meeting, including one reviewing the upcoming ACR/National Psoriasis Foundation psoriatic arthritis guideline and one reviewing the forthcoming classification criteria update for systemic lupus erythematosus. CMC member Paul Sufka, MD, also moderated one of the press conferences.

Another project the CMC has been working on throughout 2017 is updating the patient fact sheets on the ACR website, which cover rheumatic diseases and conditions and treatments. In total, over 60 pages were updated and seven new treatment pages were developed by the committee in 2017. New pages are expected to be developed in 2018. The committee is also working on one-page versions of the fact sheets, which will provide the information in a more digestible format for patients.

In 2018, the committee will also work on updating Simple Tasks resources for physicians, including the ACR/ARHP Member Toolkit.

The ACR and Simple Tasks are hopeful the successes of RDAM in 2017 brought more attention to rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases and the patients suffering from these conditions. The CMC will meet again in January 2018 to discuss how best to build on the successes of RDAM in 2018.