American College of Rheumatology Rolls Out Lupus Education for Providers & Patients in more than 25 States Nationwide

ATLANTA, Oct. 28, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded the American College of Rheumatology’s (ACR) The Lupus Initiative (TLI) with a five-year grant to support the development of a national, grassroots program targeting primary care providers, persons with undiagnosed Lupus and rheumatology health care providers. The program will have three components:Immediate dissemination of educational and training materials currently available on Lupus to state and local organizations throughout the country,Development of a general awareness campaign to help the public identify signs and symptoms of Lupus and seek medical care, andDevelopment of community-tailored activities that will be piloted in select communities during the first year of the initiative.“Not only is Lupus often misdiagnosed, but patients commonly see at least three providers before diagnosis, many of whom are primary and emergency care providers who haven’t received significant training in diagnosing Lupus,” said Sheryl McCalla, TLI Project Director and ACR Senior Director, Collaborative Initiatives. “These providers may have received an average of 90 minutes of training on Lupus in the first and second years of medical school combined. This often contributes to delays in timely and accurate diagnosis, both of which are critical to helping patients manage and live with this condition. We are hoping to change that by educating both the public and providers on what to look for and the best steps to take when they suspect Lupus.”Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system produces antibodies to cells within a person’s own body, leading to widespread inflammation and tissue damage. While the disorder can occur within any gender or ethnicity, women are affected eight times more often than men, and people of color are affected in higher numbers than whites, especially African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos and American Indian/Alaska Native populations. Additionally, women are often affected between age 15 – 40 during their prime years for education, career advancement and childbearing. And people of color with Lupus are more likely to suffer from comorbidities such as depression, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in additional to high prevalence and mortality rates.“While there has been much progress in improving the management of lupus over the past decade, we still have much work to do to improve early detection, particularly among racial minorities, who experience strong disparities in prevalence and mortality”, said John W. Robitscher, MPH, CEO of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors. “We eagerly look forward to working with the American College of Rheumatology on this important project.”Established in 2009, TLI has received multiple awards from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop educational resources for medical providers and for persons with lupus and their families and caregivers to assist them in the recognition, diagnosis, treatment, and management of lupus. Most recently, the ACR was awarded a grant by the Office of Minority Health (OMH) to expand its educational resources for providers. The ACR also played an active role in the development of the CDC’s National Public Health Agenda for Lupus.About The Lups InitiativeThe Lupus Initiative is a multi-faceted education program led by the American College of Rheumatology that provides medical professionals, educators, and students with evidence-based programs and easy-to-use educational resources to ensure the early and accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and management of patients with lupus, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status, so that they may potentially lead healthier lives.The Lupus Initiative is funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through its Office of Minority Health. The Lupus Initiative is guided by experts in medicine, public health, academia, research, patient advocacy, and health disparities. For more information about The Lupus Initiative, visit the ACRThe American College of Rheumatology is an international medical society representing over 9,400 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals with a mission to Advance Rheumatology! In doing so, the ACR offers education, research, advocacy and practice management support to help its members continue their innovative work and provide quality patient care. Rheumatologists are experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of more than 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases. For more information, visit the National Association of Chronic Disease DirectorsThe National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) is a nonprofit public health organization committed to serve the chronic disease practitioners in each state and U.S. jurisdiction. Founded in 1988, NACDD connects more than 6,000 chronic disease professionals to advocate for preventive policies and programs, encourage knowledge sharing and develop partnerships for health promotion. NACDD is a national leader in mobilizing efforts to reduce chronic diseases and their associated risk factors through state and community-based prevention strategies. Visit for more information about national and state chronic disease prevention and control programs.Jocelyn Givens
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