ACR Convergence 2022 preview

5 minute read

Members of the Australian rheumatology community tell us about the sessions they’re looking forward to and what they hope to get out of the conference.

Members of the Australian rheumatology community tell us about the sessions they’re looking forward to and what they hope to get out of the conference.

The scientific sessions, abstracts and poster presentations kick off from Saturday 12 November US Eastern Time, which is very early morning on Sunday 13 November AEDT.

But before that there is the advance programming, including the Global Rheumatology Summit on Thursday 10 November, which will take place entirely online.  

The summit covers the core issues of rheumatology through a global lens, including disease types, trainee career development and how-tos, and how access to care affects patient outcomes.

One of the sessions is a global look at strategies to improve health and reduce resource waste, featuring an interview and Q&A with Professor Rachelle Buchbinder of Monash University (14:15 ET; Friday 06:15 AEDT).

Professor Buchbinder told Rheumatology Republic she’ll be talking about addressing waste and low value health care, and also about her book, Hippocrasy, co-written with Professor Ian Harris.

On Friday 11 November are the pre-meeting courses and community hubs, with 21 hubs designed to connect peers with similar research or clinical interests.

Looking at the program from the allied health perspective, What’s cooking in the OA kitchen? (Friday 18:00 ET; Saturday 10:00 AEDT) caught the eye of physiotherapist and Rheumatology Republic editorial board member Sarah Comensoli.

“Osteoarthritis affects a lot of my patients, so it’s always good to make sure you are still promoting the most up-to-date evidence-based research. Are there any new treatments on the market? Are there any other things I can inform patients on to help them manage osteoarthritis?”

Communicating to osteoporotic patients was also on her list. The session took place before the conference proper (Monday 31 October) and is now available to stream.

“Osteoporosis can be tricky, because it’s a condition that often doesn’t have any symptoms at all,” said Ms Comensoli.

“When there’s no pain, the motivation around taking medication and doing some of the things that are required can be tricky. It can definitely impact just how we communicate the importance and the options that are available to prevent fracture and falls.”

Moving on to the main scientific program, some new patients meant Ms Comensoli was drawn to the session Dignity and respect: how to welcome and care for gender diverse patients in your practice (Saturday 12:00 ET; Sunday 04:00 AEDT).

“Just this year I’ve had my first transgender patients, or people that are gender diverse, and it has presented challenges in the consultation in terms how I navigate this. It certainly didn’t happen in any of my training, and I just haven’t seen much continuing education for health professionals around that. So that’s really great to see that dealt with at a conference level,” she said.

Rheumatologist and fellow Rheumatology Republic editorial board member, Dr Shikta Dey, also had Dignity and respect on her list, along with Plenary I on the Saturday (11:00 ET; Sunday 03:00 AEDT).

“I’m interested to hear more about rituximab versus cyclophosphamide in connective tissue disease related interstitial lung disease, and also cancer screening in idiopathic inflammatory myopathies,” she said, adding that the Year in Review is “always a hit” (Saturday 10:00 ET; Sunday 02:00 AEDT).

Rheumatology Republic editorial board member Associate Professor Helen Keen is delighted with this year’s program.

“Diseases of unmet need are getting a lot of attention this year at ACR, which is fantastic to see. Hopefully this will translate into better outcomes for people with these diseases,” she said.

“I’m particularly keen to see the avacopan studies and sarilumab in polymyalgia rheumatica. And there are several osteoarthritis RCT studies, one of which is the really nice Australian study of a genicular nerve block.”

Professor Michael Shanahan, who’s presenting the genicular nerve block study in the Ignite talks poster sessions, is very much looking forward to the meeting after its three-year hiatus.

“The ACR Convergence is magnificent. And it’ll be interesting this year because it’s hybrid. When you’ve got 20,000 people going to a meeting with maybe eight or 10 sessions running at once, it’s like a smorgasbord,” he said.

He says he tends to focus on sessions that might fill knowledge gaps.

“If I’ve had some patients that I was really scratching my head about, I would try to attend a session that might help me get some answers to improve my care for those patients.

“I also love attending the ACR to get inspiration for research ideas and to talk with international friends and colleagues.”

Our coverage of ACR

Rheumatology Republic be delivering daily e-newsletters over the three main days of the conference, with more to follow in subsequent weeks.

Among our reporters are Dr Bonnia Liu, Dr Sadia Islam and Dr Maxine Isbel, who will be providing highlights from the day.

Meanwhile, Dr Julian Segan will be capturing the spirit of the conference via podcast as he catches up with some of the presenters and other attendees in Philadelphia.

Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatology Republic editor-in-chief, and RR journalists will be providing additional coverage of sessions from each day.

And don’t forget our free webinar on Tuesday 22 November, The ACR abstracts that will change practice, with Professor Ranjeny Thomas Associate Professor Alberta Hoi, Associate Professor Peter Wong and Professor Peter Nash.

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