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Health Professionals Committee: key activities 2002–3
  1. Nora Price
  1. Chairperson

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    In June 2002 the committee adopted a strategic plan, which set out the following aims for the committee:

    • To promote high quality evidence based practice in therapeutic intervention to ensure that people with arthritis and rheumatism in Europe receive the best possible care

    • To promote the unique role of health professionals within the rheumatology multidisciplinary team, including clinicians and people with arthritis and rheumatism

    • To support health professionals working in the field of rheumatology and their organisations and networks in Europe

    • To facilitate the sharing of information, skills, and resources between health professionals in Europe.

    • To give a voice to health professionals in rheumatology in Europe through a strong, representative, and effective committee.


    Since July 2002, the committee and secretariat have worked on a number of key year 1 strategic objectives to meet these aims, including:

    • Launching an allied health professionals research scheme. This has been an overwhelming success, with over 20 applications received in the first round. The award was given to Gillian Gilworth for her project “Cross-cultural adaptation of RA work instability scale”.

    • Evaluating and monitoring the scheme. As part of our commitment to monitoring and evaluating our work, a full evaluation was carried out, and each entrant questioned about the scheme and the application process. The results were reviewed by a working group in Lisbon so that future schemes can be improved.

    • Developing a high quality programme for the EULAR Congress. A full programme was developed for the EULAR Congress in Lisbon and work has already begun early on the programme for Berlin.

    • Developing the research agenda. In response to the great interest in the research award scheme, and as part of the second year of our strategic plan, the committee has focused on the research needs of allied health professionals in the rheumatology community. This was discussed at the EULAR Congress in June 2003.

    • Publishing two newsletters a year. The first of these was distributed in December 2002 and a newsheet was prepared for the EULAR Congress.

    • Launching a travel bursary/educational visit scheme. This scheme has started and a grant awarded for an educational visit to the Netherlands. Initial interest has been less than was expected, and a working group met during the Lisbon EULAR Congress to discuss how to develop the scheme and to raise awareness.

    • Electing a new Chair. Jaana Hirvonen, Finland, has been elected Chair of the Committee.

    • Developing and expanding the allied health professionals network in Europe. A wider email distribution list has been created so that information on EULAR activities can be circulated directly to health professionals around Europe, raising the profile of EULAR and the committee, and ensuring that as many health professionals as possible benefit from these opportunities. For example, 95% of applicants for the research prize were non-committee members.

    • Increasing representation on the committee. Countries which currently have no representative have been contacted and invited to nominate a representative. Any countries currently unrepresented are invited to contact the secretariat.

    • Improving governance and management of the committee. Job descriptions have been developed for key roles on the committee. Working groups also met in Lisbon to evaluate the outcome of 2002 activities, including the Research and Educational Visit award schemes, as part of our commitment to monitoring our activities against the strategic plan.

    • Publishing and circulating the strategic plan. The plan has now been widely circulated to health professionals in Europe, where it has been well received.

    • Ongoing administration. ARMA continues to provide a management and administrative service for the committee through email and paper mailings.