ARA seeks higher profile and greater autonomy in new Strategic Plan

A higher public profile and less dependence on industry sponsorship are two of 26 key aims in the Australian Rheumatology Association’s new Strategic Plan.

Published in the wake of the recent annual meeting, the ARA’s Strategic Plan for 2018-2020 includes goals of increasing the profile of rheumatologists nationally and internationally both in media and in engagement with government.

The plan also envisages a new brand identity for the ARA and embracing other groups such as the Australian Paediatric Rheumatology Group (APRG) and Rheumatology Health Professionals Association (RHPA) to become groups of the ARA.

A key activity over the next two year will also be to finalise the Rheumatology Workforce Survey to better inform government and other stakeholders.

And with a focus on younger members, the ARA aims to help develop an Early Career Rheumatologists Group for graduates with less than five years experience.

In terms of finance, the ARA’s plan calls for exploration of new and more diverse  income streams, and to re-evaluate reliance on funding from the pharmaceutical industry.

This might include sponsorship from non-pharma industries such as insurance, and automative companies, it suggests. Non-pharma sources of funding for research are also a priority over the next few years, it adds.

But the ARA will continue in its role of advocating for patients with rheumatic diseases and to collaborate with other groups such as Arthritis Australia to develop advocacy on policies such as positions such as patients taking DMARDs, the plan  states.

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