International Visiting Fellows Exchange Program

2017 ACR-IRA / ACR-PANLAR International Fellows Exchange Programs

The ACR is pleased to again collaborate with the Indian Rheumatology Association (IRA) and the Pan American League of Associations for Rheumatology (PANLAR) to offer International Visiting Fellows Exchange Programs. These programs support scientific collaboration between members of the ACR, IRA, and PANLAR, and junior rheumatologists representing each of those organizations. Each award recipient will participate in a four-week exchange in a foreign country and the ACR’s 2017 Annual Meeting in San Diego, California, USA.

The 2017 exchange program will award a total of four (4) applicants with observerships:  one fellow from IRA and one from PANLAR will be hosted at academic institutions in the US, and two ACR fellows will travel to India and Argentina for observerships at academic institutions in those countries. Read what our 2016 PANLAR award recipient said about his International Fellows Exchange experience.

Applicant Information

Each award recipient will each receive:

  • Four weeks of mentoring from rheumatologists through ACR, IRA, or PANLAR, including observation and shadowing of senior rheumatologists and fellows at hosting medical centers
  • Introduction to clinical and research mentors at the host institution
  • Opportunities to observe evidence-based medicine in practice, and as available, participate in educational activities and clinical experiences, and receive research mentoring
  • Complimentary registration for the ACR’s 2017 Annual Meeting in San Diego, including free access (with submission of registration information) to one of the popular pre-conference courses
  • Hotel accommodations (single or double occupancy) in San Diego from November 2 - 9, 2017 to attend the 2017 ACR Annual Meeting
  • A stipend of up to a $6,000 USD for reimbursement* of travel, lodging, and incidental living expenses incurred throughout the exchange period (four weeks in host city and one week in San Diego). One half of the stipend will be paid by the ACR; the other half will be paid by IRA or PANLAR. *Receipts for reimbursable expenses will be required.
  • A one-year membership to the ACR
  • Certificate of Participation in the ACR-IRA or ACR-PANLAR 2017 International Fellows Exchange Program

Who is eligible to apply?
Trainees who are:

  1. An MD or MBBS fellow in a formal rheumatology training program, or within five years of completing a rheumatology fellowship
  2. Below the age of 40 years (exceptions require a formal request)
  3. Able to communicate effectively in the primary language of the host country, orally and in writing (for the US and India - English proficiency is required; for the PANLAR exchange - Spanish proficiency is required)
  4. Able to obtain a travel visa for the exchange

Application Requirements

All candidates must provide the following:

  1. CV, photograph, and brief biography (300 words or less) for publication
  2. Personal statement that includes:
    • How the exchange will support the applicant’s career plans
    • What the applicant will bring to the program
    • What the applicant hopes to gain through the experience to bring back to his/her home institution
  3. Area(s) of special interest (at least one)
  4. Letter of recommendation from Program Director/Supervisor that includes a formal statement about the applicant’s:
    • Professionalism
    • Scholarly ability
    • Proficiency in the language of the host country
  5. Ranking of top two choices for host institution

How to Apply

The deadline to apply was May 1, 2017 at 5:00 PM (17:00 ET).

Selection Process

ACR to PANLAR
Candidates will be vetted and ranked by the ACR’s Committee on Training and Workforce (COTW) and the three top-ranked applicants’ data for PANLAR will be shared with members of the PANLAR Science and Education Committee for final selection of an award recipient to go abroad. If the award recipient is unable to participate, the next person in the PANLAR Science and Education Committee’s rankings for final selection will be invited.

ACR to IRA
Candidates will be vetted and ranked by the ACR’s Committee on Training and Workforce (COTW) and the three top-ranked applicants’ data for IRA will be shared with IRA for final selection of an award recipient to go abroad. If the award recipient is unable to participate, the next person in the IRA selection committee’s rankings for final selection will be invited.

IRA to ACR
Candidates will be vetted and ranked by an IRA selection committee and the three top-ranked applicants’ data will be shared with the ACR’s Committee on Training and Workforce (COTW) for final selection of an award recipient to come to US. If the award recipient is unable to participate, the next person in the COTW’s rankings for final selection will be invited.

PANLAR to ACR
Candidates will be vetted and ranked by the PANLAR Science and Education Committee and the three top-ranked applicants’ data will be shared with members of the ACR’s Committee on Training and Workforce (COTW) for final selection of an award recipient to come to US. If the award recipient is unable to participate, the next person in COTW’s ranking for final selection will be invited.

Accepting the Award

Upon notification, award recipients must sign an acceptance letter and agree to the terms of the award, which will include but may not be limited to:

  • Submission of Annual Meeting registration details and pre-conference course selection. ACR will handle registering all award recipients for the 2017 ACR Annual Meeting.
  • Participation in the four-week exchange fellowship
  • Attendance and participation in the 2017 ACR Annual Meeting in San Diego, California
  • Submission of receipts for reimbursable expenses and banking information for wire transfer, if applicable
  • Completion of program evaluation that includes a brief reflective report

FAQs for 2017 Applicants

How much is the stipend and what does it cover?
Each fellow will receive a stipend of up to $6,000 USD.

What expenses can I use the stipend to cover?

  • Food, lodging, ground transportation, and miscellaneous living expenses for the duration of the exchange (at the host institution through the ACR Annual Meeting in San Diego)
  • Airfare to host city, from host city to San Diego (to attend Annual Meeting), and from San Diego to home city
  • In India, lodging for the visiting fellow can be secured for considerably less than in most US cities. For this reason, we anticipate reimbursable expenses the fellow visiting India will be less than $6,000.

How and when will I receive the stipend?
ACR must reimburse expenses, validated by receipts, or withhold 30% of the funds for taxes. To avoid the 30% withholding, fellows will be asked to submit to the ACR receipts of up to $3,000 USD. Once all receipts and banking information for the wire transfer have been submitted, funds will be transferred.

Who pays for my housing during the four-week observership?
Arrangements for housing at/near the host institution are reserved and paid for by award recipient.

Who pays for my hotel during the ACR Annual Meeting?
Hotel accommodations for the ACR Annual Meeting are reserved and paid for by the ACR

  • Guest(s) may join the award recipient at Annual Meeting
  • If a room with separate beds is needed, please inform the ACR staff liaison as soon as possible

Who handles my registration for the ACR Annual Meeting?
ACR will handle the award recipient’s meeting registration and fees to attend the 2017 ACR Annual Meeting. Registration details and choice of pre-conference course must be submitted by the registration deadline in the award notification email. 

Host Institutions

Key Dates 2017

May 1 - Application deadline

May 22 - Award recipients notified

May 29 - Award acceptances due

May 31 - ACR initial outreach to award recipients

October 1 - Exchange fellowship begins (lasts four weeks)

November 2 - Arrive in San Diego for ACR Annual Meeting

November 3 - 8 - ACR Annual Meeting

November 9, 2017 - Depart San Diego

December 15 - Evaluation and report due

Program Duration

After a four-week training activity at an academic institution in the US, India, or Argentina from early October through November 1, 2017, award recipients will attend the 2017 ACR Annual Meeting in San Diego, California from November 3 - 8, 2017.

Hotel accommodations for the meeting will be reserved from November 2 - 9, 2017. Hotel accommodations for the ACR Annual Meeting are arranged and paid for by the ACR and will not use funds from the stipend.

Information for Hosts/Mentors

Each Host will identify a contact person to serve as the primary liaison for ACR and the award recipient in program administration. This person will be asked to provide:

  • Institutional requirements and all key deadlines for academic visitors, not limited to:
    • Proof of health insurance, immunization, etc.
    • Visa stipulations
    • Any necessary applications/malpractice coverage, etc.
  • A list of visitor privileges/activities that will or will not be allowed at host institution
  • Preferred dates for the start/end of the exchange observership
  • Names, contact information, and roles of all key personnel involved in the exchange program at the host institution
  • Available housing options/information at the host institution campus or in the local area and clear guidance on who will be making housing arrangements (if someone other than the award recipient)
  • Arrival time and physical address for the fellow’s first day

Each Host will identify and recruit clinical and/or research mentors for the award recipient. The exchange host/mentor can fill one or both of these roles, as appropriate.

  • The research mentor should be encouraged to establish communication with the fellow that could continue after the end of the month-long stay

Acceptance to host/mentor an exchange award recipient not guarantee placement of a visiting fellow. Final placements will be made giving preference to the following:

  • Confirmed participation of clinical and/or research mentor whose area of interest is closely aligned with that of award recipient
  • Applicant rankings

Each host/institution selected will receive a maximum of one exchange participant for an observership; not all accepted institutions will be selected to host a participant in the 2017 program.

Interested in hosting in 2018? Send an email with the following information to lamaker@rheumatology.org.

  • Name of host and institution, city, and state
  • Areas of expertise for potential clinical and/or research mentors at host institution
  • Brief description of institution and its areas of excellence (250 words maximum)
  • Fellows’ clinical and didactic schedule during exchange period (October 2018)