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

Demystifying Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

About the Fellows Project:

The Fellows Project aims to address the following issues:

  • Healthcare providers outside of rheumatology may only receive 90 minutes of training on lupus in medical school
  • The signs and symptoms of lupus may go unrecognized when patients go to primary care settings at the onset of illness, thereby delaying diagnosis and treatment
  • There is a shortage of rheumatologists available to offer ongoing education to PCPs

The Solution:

  • American College of Rheumatology, The Lupus Initiative (TLI) enlists rheumatology fellows-in-training to deliver an educational session about lupus. The session aims to help healthcare providers:
    • Better recognize the signs and symptoms of lupus
    • Improve timely and accurate referral to a rheumatologist for diagnosis and treatment.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this activity, learners will be able to:

  1. Identify the presenting signs and symptoms of lupus
  2. Refer a suspected case of lupus to a rheumatologist
  3. Initiate a work-up for lupus
  4. Understand lupus epidemiology, health disparities, disease characteristics and genetics

Benefits of Participating:

  • Fellows will be able to achieve multiple rheumatology-specific milestones under at least two competencies required by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, including interpersonal and communication skills and systems- based practice
  • Fellows are given the opportunity to get involved with the American College of Rheumatology and gain skills in delivering education to PCPs
  • Participating training programs receive a stipend of $4,000 to support the fellows in coordinating and hosting education sessions to reach at least 50 non- rheumatology providers at community health organizations and/or local chapters of medical associations. Program director and fellows should discuss internal use of funds
  • Select FITs may have the opportunity to present at either the FIT Educational Session at the Annual Meeting, or the Program or Division Director Forum or Conference

Target Audience and Session Format:

  • This project will reach an audience of medical students and clinical health providers, which we define as medical doctors (MD/DO), nurse practitioners, and physician assistants specifically in primary care, OB/GYN, internal medicine, and nephrology.
  • The non-rheumatology providers typically work in the following settings:
    • Emergency Department
    • Hospital
    • Primary care office
    • Multiple locations
  • Sites will have the option to hold 1-hour long virtual or in- person education sessions that focus on increasing the providers’ ability to (1) recognize the signs and symptoms of lupus, (2) know when to effectively refer a suspected lupus case to a rheumatologist, (3) know how to initiate a work-up for lupus, and (4) have increased knowledge on lupus epidemiology, health disparities, and disease characteristics.
  • The evaluation includes 10 pre and post-test questions to assess change in knowledge and 4 questions to assess self-reported change in confidence.


Please email Kate Chiseri at if you have any questions.

We value your feedback and we’re happy to answer your questions

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