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A lupus awareness and educational program from the American College of Rheumatology

Get access to educational resources and training programs designed to increase awareness of lupus and its associated health disparities among medical and health professionals.


The Lupus Initiative® (TLI), a national program of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), is dedicated to improving the diagnosis, treatment, and management of lupus in populations disproportionately affected by the disease based on race, ethnicity, and gender. In order to best serve our mission, TLI has developed an array of complimentary tools, resources and multidisciplinary programs for educators and students to foster greater awareness of lupus and its associated health disparities among healthcare providers and professionals. Educational resources include vetted presentations, videos, interactive case studies and more, appropriate for teaching on health disparities, management of chronic disease, cultural competence and coordination of care. 

About Lupus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the most common form of lupus, is a chronic, inflammatory, multisystem, autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own healthy tissue causing inflammation and damage to tissue in the affected organs. Lupus can affect many parts of the body including the skin (discoid lupus), kidneys (lupus nephritis), lungs, heart, and brain. The disease is characterized by periods of flare and remission and can culminate in irreversible end-organ damage.

While an early diagnosis improves the quality of life and outcomes of a person living with lupus, receiving a lupus diagnosis can be a difficult and timely process. Lupus is sometimes called the “great imitator,” because its early signs and symptoms can look like those of other diseases. Therefore, it is vital for healthcare providers to know how to recognize, refer, diagnosis, and/or treat clinical manifestations of lupus. With proper diagnosis and treatment, the disease is now more manageable than in years past, allowing people affected by lupus to live full, productive lives.

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Take the initiative.

Learn the differences to eliminate the disparities.

Do you know the facts regarding health disparities in lupus? Explore vetted educational material to develop a well-informed knowledge on the disproportionate effects of lupus based on gender, race and ethnicity.

Health Disparities

Health disparities are the differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of disease (and other adverse health conditions) that exist among specific populations and demographics. In the case of systemic lupus erythematosus, clinical manifestations indicate a difference in disease prevalence based on race, ethnicity and gender:

  • Women between the ages of 15-45 are 9 times more likely to develop lupus than men
  • Lupus is 2-3 times more common in people of color
  • Specific racial/ethnic minorities with lupus have mortality rates at least 3 times as high as White individuals
  • People living with lupus spend an average of 4 years and see 3 physicians before the disease is diagnosed

Health disparities in lupus can have complex causes. Therefore, reducing health disparities in lupus can require broad and multidisciplinary solutions at the individual, community, healthcare system, and population levels. We work to eliminate health disparities and improve outcomes among people living with lupus by increasing the number of healthcare providers with knowledge and expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of lupus through the dissemination of our educational resources.  Take the initiative – check out our complimentary teaching and learning resources on health disparities in lupus.

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For Medical School Professors and Instructors

Get Complimentary Educational Resources

Take the initiative to increase awareness of lupus and its associated health disparities among medical school students. Visit our online educational resources library to browse complimentary presentations, case studies, short teaching videos that can be incorporated into into your teachings.

Take the initiative.

Educate frontline healthcare providers to eliminate health disparities.

The Teaching Fellows in Lupus program enlists fellows in rheumatology to deliver seminars to frontline providers on the diagnosis and treatment of lupus. The goal of the Teaching Fellows in Lupus program is to change the behavior of the frontline healthcare providers in connection with suspecting lupus and making appropriate referrals.

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