Gilead launches free training program for early-career rheumatologists

5 minute read

Australian early-career rheumatologists can now apply for fully funded places in the new Rheumatology Training Academy launched by biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences.

Australian early-career rheumatologists can now apply for fully funded places in the new Rheumatology Training Academy launched by biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences.

An international committee of rheumatology experts, including Australia’s Professor Stephen Hall, have given input on the program content and will act as trainers in the year-long course.

Rheumatology Republic spoke to Associate Director Medical Affairs at Gilead Sciences Danielle Croall to find out more.

RR: What does the program offer?

DC: The Rheumatology Training Academy is a 12-month educational programme for certified rheumatologists with at least three years’ experience in actively treating patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in routine clinical practice and is open to rheumatologists from Europe, Australia, Canada and Japan.

This one-year training program is funded by Gilead Sciences with direction from the Steering Committee of leading independent expert rheumatologists, and provides education about communication and leadership, research excellence, scientific understanding, future innovations in rheumatology and collaboration and networking.

RR: Who is eligible to apply, and how many positions are open for Aussie rheumatologists?

DC: To participate in the Rheumatology Training Academy, applicants must:

Have the ability to actively participate in the programme in English

  1. Be a certified rheumatologist with ≥3 years’ specialisation experience in rheumatology
  2. Have experience in actively treating patients with RA in routine clinical practice
  3. Participate or have an interest in research and data collection within the rheumatology field


  1. Have experience in peer-review publications through co-authorship on ≥2 peer-review publications or ≥2 congress presentations at national/international congresses

RR: What prompted the development of this program? What is it trying to address?

DC: Based on the years of experience in working with younger peers, our steering committee members recognized areas of their unmet educational needs. Guided by that, our programme is tailored to provide education on specific topics which are not available as part of standard educational process for the experts of this seniority level.

Tailored in a very innovative way, through different formats of trainings: webinars, podcasts, e-learnings, preceptorships etc., this program offers to each participant interaction and close collaboration with leading experts from the steering committee, who are delighted to support them in advancing their careers.

RR: What makes it different from other programs available?

DC: Innovative formats of trainings, content based on the latest advancements in rheumatology, tailored according to specific needs of the targeted group of physicians. It offers great opportunity for close collaboration with leading steering committee experts as well as with attendees from Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan.

RR: What do you expect to come out of this?

DC: The learning objectives of the program are:

  • To gain knowledge and understanding of complex facets of RA treatment and future research directions in RA
  • To develop key skills (practical and clinical) associated with expert rheumatologists at the highest international level, via sharing of best practice, cross-centre collaboration and mentoring
  • To gain insights into the role of leading rheumatology experts in the field, including clinical research, service optimisation and clinical best practice.

RR: Will this be an ongoing program, or this year only?

DC: This is a long-term project, which will evolve after the first year in projects with more narrowed, specific educational focus for the experts in inflammatory rheumatic diseases.

RR: Will there be any ongoing requirements or involvement for participants?

DC: The curriculum will offer a variety of formats and involvement, offering face-to-face opportunities (when restrictions allow), on-the-go content and online eLearning, delivered by the steering committee and additional specialist experts. The content will vary in frequency from monthly to every two months.

RR: Who developed the content?

DC: The programme has been developed and funded by Gilead Sciences, with direction from a steering committee of leading independent expert rheumatologists including Prof. Stephen Hall from Australia. The expert steering committee is guiding Gilead in the development of each segment of the program, and they will be acting as trainers throughout this one-year program.

RR: What will the group sections be like?

DC: The educational curriculum is being developed with the steering committee to provide high-quality scientific and expert guidance across a diverse range of topics including future innovations, research excellence, scientific understanding, communication and collaborations and networking. Attendees will be working in small groups in order to have opportunity to more closely interact with steering committee.

RR: Who are the experienced rheumatologists involved, and how much time will they be dedicating to it?

DC: The following rheumatologists are involved in the development of the program and will be acting as trainers:

Prof. Stephen Hall (Australia), Dr. Janet Pope (Canada), Prof. Laure Gossec (France), Prof. Hedrick Schulze-Koops (Germany), Dr. Francessca Romana Spinelli (Italy), Prof. Kunihiro Yamaoka (Japan), Prof. Willem Lems (Netherlands), Dr Alejandro Balsa (Spain) and Prof. Douglas Veale (UK). Additionally, we will have some guest speakers and trainers with specific expertise involved in order to ensure high level quality of training.

RR: How do you apply, and what are the cut-off dates?

DC: Applications can be submitted via

In order to complete the application submission, applicants need to include a copy of their CV and a reference letter/letter of recommendation from their department head on institution-headed paper (if possible).

How much does it cost? Are there any sponsored places or alternative payment options available for those who can’t afford it?

DC: The program, along with any required travel expenses for face to face meetings (pending COVID-19 restrictions), is funded by Gilead Sciences at no cost to participants, in line with local regulation in the country of participants origin.

RR: Anything else you’d like to add?

DC: Through our long-term Galapagos partnership and pipeline, Gilead are here to bring a lasting impact for people living with, and those treating inflammatory disease. Gilead will continue to tackle things differently, challenge the status quo and bring innovation to an area where many people remain in pain. We believe that this program and the steering committee of senior rheumatology experts will provide valuable educational support to rheumatologists and support ongoing improvement to patient care.

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