The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has facilitated clinical research and cultivated an environment for the exchange of cutting edge scientific information between investigators in rheumatic diseases and clinicians through its annual Clinical Research Conference, a scientific symposium that occurs immediately prior to the ACR Annual Meeting at the site of the meeting. The ACR's conference and scientific meetings draws together appropriate experts who may otherwise not have an opportunity to meet. Experts whose fields are outside of rheumatology are also included to help broaden the research perspectives. The Annual Meeting is the principal mechanism for providing a forum for the exchange of ideas about research, education, patient care and socioeconomic issues. The Annual Meeting, which has continued to grow in attendance of both US and international arthritis health professionals, attracts more than 15,000 attendees. In order to emphasize the methodology of clinical research underlying rheumatic and musculoskeletal patient oriented research, the ACR has incorporated programming emphasizing clinical research into the Annual Meeting since 2004. This conference differs from similar meetings because it provides a concentrated focus on clinical research and methodology in arthritis and musculoskeletal disorders. Similar meetings are not focused on the principal problems addressed by rheumatic disease researchers. The meeting has been organized by Aryeh Fischer, MD, University of Colorado-Denver, Stephen Mathai, MD, John Hopkins University and the ACR Committee on Research (Shervin Assassi, MD, MS, University of Texas Health Science at Houston). Dr. Aryeh Fischer is an Associate Professor in the Divisions of Rheumatology and Pulmonary Medicine at the University of Colorado. His specific area of clinical and research expertise is autoimmune associated lung diseases. Stephen C. Mathai is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Mathai's clinical and research interests are in connective tissue disease related lung disease with a specific focus on scleroderma-related disease.
To foster understanding of disease and development of new therapies for patients with rheumatic diseases, this conference seeks to (1) assemble rheumatology clinicians and researchers in a scientific forum to discuss advances in the disease (2) strategize on research related to new treatments of rheumatic diseases and (3) foster mentoring of young investigators and fellows-in-training.