Meet the Asia Pacific’s young rheumatologists

4 minute read

Education, research, leadership development and social activities are the four pillars of the AYR

As an organisation, the APLAR Young Rheumatologists (AYR) was first conceptualised in 2016.

The purpose of AYR has been to provide a conductive and nurturing environment within APLAR for young rheumatologists to network and collaborate in education, research and social activities.

AYR also aims to encourage young rheumatologists in the Asia Pacific region to participate in all APLAR activities and to nurture future leaders of the organisation. 

The AYR working group, represented by 22 countries, first met in October 2017, at the Dubai APLAR congress with 17 young rheumatologists in attendance.

The interim board of AYR consisting of nine members was appointed in June 2018 and includes: Chairperson Dr Yew Kuang Cheng (Singapore); Vice Chairs Prof Yukinori Okada (Japan) and Dr Jiuliang Zhao (China); Secretary Dr Babur Salim (Pakistan); Treasurer Dr Geraldine Zamora Racaza (Philippines); Educational Chairpersons Dr Ghita Harifi (UAE) and Dr Priscilla Wong (Hong Kong); Webmasters Dr Himantha Atukorale (Sri Lanka) and Dr Padmanabha Shenoy (India).

The AYR board oversees tasks such as international collaboration, social media, membership recruitment drives and AYR symposia. Our organisation has gradually grown, with a membership drive being initiated at the 2018 APLAR Congress in Taiwan.

Education, research, leadership development and social activities are the four pillars of AYR.

Any trainee or consultant aged 40 years or younger can join our team with the approval of their respective member national organisations.

All AYR members are offered free access to APLAR educational resources including the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.

Young rheumatologists can also apply to hold positions on the AYR board and make use of research/clinical fellowships/travel grants to attend APLAR and focused meetings.

The annual APLAR congress offers a concessionary registration fee for all AYR members. 

The AYR is planning the first ever symposium in collaboration with the Australian Rheumatology Association during this year’s APLAR Congress in Brisbane. This session will cover various themes relevant to rheumatology, and will be the first of its kind.

AYR has developed a working relationship with its EULAR counterpart (EMEUNET). The APLAR and EULAR collaboration looks set to provide further opportunities for young rheumatologists in both these organisations.

For example, it appears AYR members will soon be able to access the online educational resource, the APLAR – European School of Rheumatology program (ESOR) at a subsidised rate.  ESOR covers 50 illustrated topics and more than 300 hours of online learning.

Also in the pipeline is the opportunity for AYR members to be attached to a EULAR Centre of Excellence, via the EULAR-APLAR exchange program.

Our young rheumatologists hail from communities which are culturally rich and diverse. Similarly the variety of rheumatological ailments seen in these patients is enormous which makes our task of managing and treating both challenging and exciting.

Practising rheumatology in the current era, with almost instant access to online resources and support, has helped us appreciate the diversity of both our cultures and specialty.

There is a surge of interest in social networking media such as blogs, micro blogs (Twitter), social networking sites (Facebook) and content sharing sites like YouTube. We have identified the benefits of social media in creating a community among young rheumatologists despite spanning a 10 hour global time zone.

The APLAR Facebook and Twitter platforms are a rich source of updates on the latest happenings within the league of associations.

AYR derives its strength from its members. The interest and enthusiasm among AYR members is both motivating and inspiring. 

We would urge all young rheumatologists to join us and expand their networks of knowledge and research.

Meet your colleagues across the continents and take advantage of the opportunities AYR can offer you.

We are the APLAR Young Rheumatologists. We speak rheumatology in more than 77 languages. And we are looking to provide quality rheumatology care to one half of the globe, both now and decades into the future.

Himantha Atukorale is webmaster for APLAR Young Rheumatologists and is based in Sri Lanka

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