President’s Message

​​Welcome to the APLAR website, and the portal of the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.

Dear Colleagues, Friends of APLAR, and Visitors,

I am honoured to be able to serve as APLAR President 2014-2016, and look forward to collaborating with our member Associations and their members as we jointly strive to improve the quality of life of the millions of patients with rheumatic disease who live within our region.

Having celebrated APLAR’s 50th birthday, we are proud to look back over the last half century and identify those achievements that would not have occurred without APLAR. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the future role of APLAR, so that our future clinicians will similarly be able to reflect on what would not have been without APLAR.

My Executive and I wish to reconcile the needs of members and also the opportunities offered by members to plan a pathway for the future that:​

  • Creates and fosters clinical and research training,

  • Provides leadership in delivering musculoskeletal healthcare in resource limited environments, and

  • Strengthens the International Journal of Rheumatic Disease and our Scientific

  • and Clinical Congress as vehicles for the transfer of knowledge developed within APLAR, and

  • Assists in the placing of Musculoskeletal Diseases within the Top Ten Health Priorities of individual countries.

The burden of musculoskeletal disease within the APLAR region is immense and will not remit in the foreseeable future. Regrettably, the disparity between the rheumatology healthcare supply and demand is extreme in most countries and cannot be solved by APLAR. We can however facilitate through expansion of our fellowship programme high standard training in clinical and research skills for our members. Their subsequent usage of these skills both confirms rheumatology as a discipline that improves quality of life, and most importantly provides the conduit for raising the level
of musculoskeletal skill amongst nurses and primary care doctors who care for the greatest population in our APLAR region.

Our trainees in Rheumatology are our best advertisement for the future of our discipline!

All regional Leagues for Rheumatology face the dilemma of delivery of health care with limited resources and collaboration between us will allow the delivery of brief educational interventions to achieve dissemination of basic care standards in rheumatology. The strength of Medical Education within APLAR needs to be utilised, and combined with technology to foster e-education resources to support local training initiatives. Liaison between industry and our regional Associations in delivering programmes that integrate local clinicians as ongoing tutors will be a key to sustainability.

In conjunction with the Editor-in-Chief, we must continue to enhance the role of the International Journal of Rheumatic Disease, and its globally inclusive focus on Rheumatology. Opportunities to develop skills in review and editorial processes will need to expand, and we should provide greater practical assistance to new contributors in manuscript preparation. Research mentorship needs to be nurtured so as to bring new researchers into contact with experienced researchers early in project design to enhance funding success.

Critical to our patients will be our uniting with fellow interest groups under a common banner of musculoskeletal disease to raise its priority with governments and health departments. COPCORD, Bone and Joint Decade, and the Global Burden of Disease provide us with the real facts demonstrating the personal, social, and economic impacts of
Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Disease in our communities. We need to bring this information to the forefront of government officials involved in resource planning!

In closing, please welcome the 2014-2016 APLAR Executive, whose leadership will bring about the progress that is planned by APLAR.

President Elect                       Prof Kazuhiko Yamamoto

Past President                        Prof Zhanguo Li

Vice President                        Prof LS Tam

Vice President                        Prof Debashish Danda

Treasurer                                Prof Syed Atiqul Haq

Secretary General                   Prof Worawit Louthrenoo

Deputy Secretary General      Prof Wen-Chan Tsai

Sincerely, and with thanks

Professor Kevin Pile

APLAR President