Spring 2016

Over 400 CARRA members, research associates, parents, patients, Arthritis Foundation leaders, representatives from the Lupus Foundation of America, Cure JM, and NIAMS, and pharma colleagues attended the CARRA Annual Meeting in Toronto, April 14-17. It was the most well-attended CARRA meeting to date!

The meeting program received highly positive evaluations from attendees. Our thanks go out to the planning committee, including Stacy Ardoin, Suzanne Li, Peter Blier, and Kelly Mieszkalski, for their hard work.  They meeting provided many opportunities for discussion, workgroup collaborations, organizational and research updates, networking, and fun with old and new friends. Patient families in attendance helped add a sense of focus and energy to many of the meetings.  We are now rested and ready to start working on the 2017 and 2018 meetings!

In the 2016 elections, members elected Rob Fuhlbrigge as CARRA Vice Chair, Emily von Scheven as Finance Chair/Treasurer, Peter Chira as Finance Committee member, Pam Weiss as JIA Committee Chair, and Sarah Ringold as JIA Committee Vice Chair.  Mark Connelly was re-elected as Pain Committee Chair. New members of the Elections Committee are Mara Becker, Deborah Levy, Kabita Nanda, and Melissa Tesher. We look forward to working with the newly elected leadership team! Thank you to those who participated on our slate of candidates. Over 55% of our membership voted in the election.

On behalf of the CARRA Steering Committee, I am particularly pleased to announce the first round of small grant awardees.  One of CARRA’s longstanding goals has been to offer grants, and it is exciting to see this goal fulfilled. You ca view the list of projects here.  At the annual meeting, we alerted everyone to additional internal funding opportunities. CARRA will fund up to five $10,000 grants to support statistical analyses for presentations and publications this year on a rolling basis. In addition, CARRA will also award two $50,000 grants for collaborative projects. The RFP will be available early this summer with applications due in October.  Awards will be announced at the CARRA breakfast at ACR. Applications for 2017 cycle of small grants will be available around Labor Day. Watch the newsletter for how to apply.

The CARRA Registry Committee is pleased to announce the inaugural Registry Fellows for 2016-2017. Starting July 1, Mary Beth Son, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Sarah Ringold, MD, Co-director of the Clinical Research at the Center for Clinical and Translational Research, University of Washington, will serve as Registry Fellows. In this role, Drs. Son and Ringold will support the Registry strategy and operations as CARRA expands the Registry to include additional diseases, implements new comparative effectiveness treatment studies, designs reports, and develops publications. For more information about the Registry Fellows, click here. Applications for the 2017-2018 year will be available in spring 2017.

The SC and exec committee are engaged in many activities, most importantly a membership survey to gauge how and where CARRA can improve member services. Please look out for this. We hope to hear from the majority of members to guide future changes to make CARRA best meet everybody’s needs. Keep an eye on the CARRA website for new content and the implementation of a new members-only section, we hope by the end of the summer. Of course, you can plan on the annual CARRA breakfast meeting at ACR and plans for the 2017 CARRA/PRYSM meeting in Houston is well under way.

I’ll be transitioning my role as President to Yuki Kimura over the next eight weeks, but I will remain actively involved in registry activities, clinical trials, and the CARRA executive committee. It has been a privilege to help direct CARRA’s progress over the past three years, and I look forward to the continued growth and development of the organization. I know the organization remains in terrific hands.

Laura Schanberg, MD