Background Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex yet low prevalence disease. Without a community of lupus specialists to establish consensus and guide best practices, rheumatologists have limited opportunities to develop skills and maintain competence in SLE care.
Objectives The objectives of this initiative were to 1) create an independent community of physicians interested in the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management of patients with SLE and related conditions; 2) share insights and practical guidance for implementing evidence-based care; 3) develop needs-driven continuing medical education (CME) relevant to different levels of clinical expertise; 4) promote collaboration models with publishers to create space for dialogue and community building; and 5) involve patient advocacy groups to steer physician education and incorporate the patient voice into educational activities.
Methods The Lupus Academy (http://lupus-academy.org) was established in 2011 as an independent CME initiative led by a Steering Committee of international experts in SLE. Educational activities are designed around unmet clinical needs identified by the Steering Committee, learner survey data, and feedback from patient advocacy groups (including Lupus Europe).
Results As of February 2017, the Lupus Academy has grown to a global community of >2,500 committed learners with an interest in SLE. The Steering Committee has guided the development and delivery of 5 2.5-day annual meetings; 4 1-day regional meetings; a meeting toolkit for learner-advocates to host meetings in their home regions; and 3 e-learning courses, with 2 additional courses in production. The 5th Annual Meeting of the Lupus Academy (6–8 May 2016) hosted 101 attendees from Europe, North and South America, and Asia. Learners reported that the learning objectives of the meeting were met (Figure). An assessment of educational effectiveness demonstrated improvements in clinical knowledge and competence (Moore's Outcomes Levels 3/4) as a result of meeting participation: 67% of learners reported a commitment to implementing changes in clinical practice, 11% reported that the educational content reinforced their current practice, and 20% reported a willingness to modify their current practice with additional training.
The most recent regional meeting, the Lupus Academy Middle East Summit Conference (9–10 December 2016), hosted 153 attendees from 13 countries representing diverse specialities: rheumatology (53%), internal medicine (13%), nephrology (11%), clinical immunology (5%), and other (18%). The majority of learners agreed or strongly agreed that the meeting provided an effective platform for the discussion of new ideas in SLE (96%) and challenged the current thinking around lupus care (96%).
Conclusions The Lupus Academy serves as an effective model for building a consortium-led, evidence-based educational resource and community of practice for rheumatologists, other physicians with an interest in SLE, and patient advocacy groups.
Ball J, Cervera R, Elzebroek N, Levy RA, Pozniak E. Developing an appropriately supported CME-accredited programme in Europe. J Euro CME. 2013;2:37–44.
Acknowledgements Lupus Academy Steering Committee (http://lupus-academy.org/home/lupus-academy-steering-committee/).
Disclosure of Interest R. Cervera Consultant for: GSK, UCB, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Celgene, R. Furie Grant/research support from: AstraZeneca, BiogenIdec, BMS, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Celgene, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, Medimmune, Pfizer, Sanofi, Takeda, UCB, Consultant for: Anthera, AstraZeneca, Baxalta, BiogenIdec, BMS, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Celgene, Eli Lilly, Eisai, EMD Merck, Estrela (Janssen), GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, Medimmune, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi, UCB, Z. Amoura Grant/research support from: GSK, Amgen, BMS, Actelion, Roche, Teva, Lilly, Consultant for: GSK, Amgen, BMS, Lilly, A. Jacobson: None declared, E. Pozniak: None declared