About Us

Current Projects

The Lupus Initiative has several exciting projects underway to advance the goal of raising lupus awareness and eliminating the associated health disparities.

The ACR is currently developing a program to educate non-rheumatology providers who serve American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities about recognizing the signs and symptoms of lupus, the risks of lupus for those communities and making appropriate referrals to specialists.

In July 2018, ACR recieved $375,000 in funds from a two-year OMH grant to develop a program related to clinical trials that will focus on minority recruitment. Using a different approach from MIMICT, the Community Health Worker Lupus Clinical Trials Training (LuCTT) program will promote the recruitment and enrollment of minority populations affected by lupus into clinical trials by making use of community health workers (CHW) as referral sources. The LuCTT program model will include multiple interconnected components that will be used by state, local, and community organizations to host regional CHW training summits on lupus clinical trial recruitment support.

ACR has partnered with Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY and local CHW networks for implementation of specific aspects of the LuCTT program. Irene Blanco, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine – Rheumatology and Associate Dean of Diversity Enhancement at Albert Einstein College of Medicine serves as LuCTT project lead and will provide the vital support necessary to ensure cohesiveness in preparation and planning of content development, implementation, evaluation, dissemination and publication.

The Playbook Project is a localized grassroots lupus awareness campaign initiative that provides turnkey grassroots activities to student organizations at four-year colleges and universities.

The Playbook is a step by step implementation guide that provides student organizations with detailed activities to interact with, personalize and spread the key messages of the national lupus awareness campaign in their respective communities.

Access the Playbook >

Promotora programs connect low-income, at-risk Latinos with health and social services, provide health education, and empower clients with positive coping skills. The success of promotora programs stems from their cultural competency. Promotoras are trusted members of the community who reach out as peers to overcome language barriers and distrust of the medical system in the United States.

The ACR provides lupus education to promotoras (Latina community health workers). In addition to this education, we provide promotoras with lupus awareness materials to distribute to their clients. Contact us for more information.

ACR will utilize $500,000 in funding from a two-year OMH grant to develop, evaluate, and disseminate modifications of the ACR’s current model for the Materials to Increase Minority Involvement in Clinical Trials (MIMICT) program model developed in 2017 with OMH grant funding to increase minority participation in lupus clinical trials. The initial MIMICT program helped clinical trials sites and providers to work together to deliver accurate, trusted, and understandable information to people with lupus so that they can make informed decisions about participation in clinical trials. Over the next two years, ACR will expand and modify MIMICT by broadening the pool of providers and patients to which it applies.

The ACR has partnered with two of its member-experts to apply their distinct experiences and resources for the benefit of MIMICT. Dr. Saira Z. Sheikh, MD, Assistant Professor, Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology, University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and Allen Anandarajah, MD, MS, Associate Professor, Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology, University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Sheikh will harness UNC’s collective expertise in developing clinical trials education programs for minorities to the benefit of MIMICT.

Visit MIMICT website >

The ACR and the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) have partnered to create the “Be Fierce. Take Control.TM” national awareness campaign is designed to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of lupus, and ultimately reduce the time to diagnosis by educating and empowering young African American and Latino women ages 18-25, who are most at-risk for developing the disease.

The campaign uses social media, digital advertising, influencer video content created by a company founded by Aston Kutcher – featuring the NY Sharks professional women’s football team and NY Shark’s assistant coach, Collette Smith who was recently named as the first African American NFL coach and the second female NFL in history.

Visit the campaign website HERE.

The ACR Small Group Provider Sessions aim to reduce health disparities and time to lupus diagnosis for impacted populations. We work to achieve this by educating providers and improving referral connections.

The ACR Small Group Provider Sessions consist of live meetings held at rural Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) between rheumatologists and rural healthcare providers. The rheumatologist delivers a presentation on lupus followed by time for networking and relationship building. Contact us for more information.

In previous years, the ACR has worked with state organizations to develop road maps for increasing lupus awareness and knowledge within their respective states. Currently, the ACR is partnering with the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD), Georgia Council on Lupus Education and Awareness (GCLEA) and the Big Bend Rural Health Network to implement at least one action item from the plan.