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Special Interest Groups

BSR's Special Interest Groups bring unique and unparalleled insight into rheumatology specialisms. Each group is run by individuals who manage and organise meetings, information and proposals. These groups also submit session proposals to help shape Annual Conference content.

There are a number of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) affiliated to BSR which provide informal networks for the discussion and exchange of information within their subject area.

They are, and always have been voluntary groups, set-up by one or more individuals with the understanding that they operate for the benefit of an identified interest group.

The SIGs have an invaluable role to play in providing research and educational benefits to members. There are many things that SIGs are capable of achieving, for example organising collaborative or clinical scientific research projects, rationalising therapy, organising audit etc.

If you are interested in forming a new group or require any additional information, please contact Sarah Oyebanjo.

BSR SIGs

Adolescent/Young Adult

The Adolescent/Young Adult (AYA) SIG is an opportunity for paediatric and adult health professionals caring for adolescents and young adults with rheumatological disease to meet with, listen to and learn from one another.

The AYA SIG is linked closely to the Barbara Ansell National Network for Rheumatology (BANNAR), a multidisciplinary, national network of professionals working in both paediatric and adolescent rheumatology that provides a focus for resources to improve both research into, and clinical care for, adolescents and young adults.

Group objectives:

  • Promote high quality, young person-friendly, developmentally appropriate health services, engaging and informing stakeholders across paediatric, adolescent, and adult groups

  • Understand the challenges of ensuring continuous, high-quality developmentally appropriate health care for adolescents and young adults and explore how young person friendly, developmentally appropriate services have been achieved in different centres across the UK

  • Review recent advances relevant to the care and long-term health outcomes of young people with rheumatological disease

The AYA SIG meets annually at the BSR for a planned programme of teaching. The programme is chosen in conjunction with the BANNAR membership and the meeting is coordinated by the SIG convenors. The SIG is an opportunity to present and discuss best practice and clinical research relevant to the field.

The AYA SIG does not have a formal membership. Clinicians expressing an interest in joining the group are directed to BANNAR. BANNAR meets twice yearly and has very clearly defined aims, objectives and terms of reference. Meetings are targeted at all stakeholders engaged with delivering or advancing the care of adolescents and young adults with rheumatological diagnoses.

Convenors: Dr Flora McErlane and Dr Martin Lee

Cardiovascular Comorbidities in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Cardiovascular disease is one of the main co-morbidities and a principal cause of mortality in rheumatoid arthritis. The causes for this are still not clear, but classical CVD risk factors, systemic inflammation and other factors peculiar to RA (e.g. genes and therapies) all appear to play an important role. Pharmacological and lifestyle interventions for control of these risk factors are of importance.

The group will exchange information on current research and practice work streams, facilitate the exchange of ideas and the development of collaborating small or large networks to help provide answers to specific research questions, develop, implement and evaluate relevant guidelines and practice changes to the benefit of patients with RA.

Convenor: Dr Jet Veldhuijzen van Zanten

Crystal Arthritis

The Crystal Arthritis SIG aims to provide a focus and leadership for gout and calcium pyrophosphate crystal deposition within the BSR. It ensures a high profile for crystal arthritis at Annual Conference and provides regular educational updates for rheumatologists, trainees and health professionals in rheumatology to share best practice and improve the management of these neglected conditions.

The SIG seeks to facilitate the exchange of ideas and information, promote the development of collaborative research projects, and to link to international crystal arthritis networks in Europe and the USA. Meetings are targeted at rheumatologists, GPs, nurses and AHPs.

Convenors: Dr Edward Roddy, Dr Abhishek Abhishek and Dr Kelsey Jordan

Foot and Ankle

There is a growing body of knowledge in this previously poorly understood area of practice and it is attracting rising interest. The BSR foot and ankle course is perennially oversubscribed and the growing evidence base has enabled foot-related recommendations to be included in the NICE clinical guidelines for OA and RA, and ARMA standards of care.

The Foot and Ankle SIG in rheumatology attracts a diverse range of disciplines including medical practitioners and researchers in different fields (e.g. rheumatology, orthopaedics); allied health professionals (podiatrists, physiotherapists, OTs, orthotists); bioengineers; epidemiologists and others.

Group objectives:

  • Convene an annual meeting of the group and interested parties

  • Identify areas of common concern and devise strategies for their solution

  • Provide opportunities for the development of collaborative research projects

  • Provide a forum for discussion of ongoing work, work in evolution or the development of new ideas

  • Provide a forum for developing consensus-based statements or standards.

Convenors: Dr Anthony Redmond, Dr Edward Roddy and Dr Lindsey Cherry

Heritable Disorders of Connective Tissue

This SIG covers all hypermobility, vasculopathy, and bone-related connective tissue disorders including Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, Marfan syndrome, Osteogenesis imperfecta and their allied conditions.

The group welcomes participation from all those interested in complex multi-system disease, clinical genetics, rehabilitation, and pain management. It aims to hold meetings in association with BSR and ACR conferences, and support regional meetings on a regular basis.

Convenor: Dr Alan Hakim

Lung and rheumatic disease

An association between positive rheumatoid factor and interstitial lung disease (ILD) in rheumatoid arthritis is well established. This group aims to share new developments in ILD and bronchiectasis.

This SIG is for professionals interested in the management of patients with interstitial lung disease complicating rheumatic disorders.

Convenor: Dr Clive Kelly

Musculoskeletal Pain

MSK pain challenges healthcare professionals and systems. This SIG is a forum for clinicians who wish to improve treatment and services for patients with chronic MSK pain. It is also a forum to meet other Health Care Professionals interested in chronic pain.

Projects that the SIG is contributing towards include the National Pain Research strategy in conjunction with the NIHR, Wellcome and ARUK as well as leading the development of the BSR approved Persistent Pain in Inflammatory Arthritis.

Meetings are targeted at clinicians including Allied Health Professionals who have a professional interest in the management of pain and researchers interested in networking with other professionals within the rheumatology community.

Convenor: Dr Nick Shenker

Myositis

The UK myonet is an open group of physicians, scientists and others interested in the advancement of our understanding of the pathology and management of the idiopathic inflammatory myopathies.

The group is multidisciplinary, including paediatricians, respiratory physicians, dermatologists and neurologists in addition to rheumatologists. It meets twice a year to present recent research advances, plan future research projects and discuss clinical cases/issues. It has links with the European myositis research group EUMYONET and the international group IMACs and collaborates with them on various research projects.

This group represents a great opportunity to be kept up to date with advances in myositis as it occurs, and to get involved in research in the area.

Convenors: Dr Hector Chinoy and Dr Patrick Gordon

Osteoporosis

The Osteoporosis SIG aims to provide a regular update for general rheumatologists on topical issues in osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease. In addition, it highlights the importance of osteoporosis to the BSR and ensures that this key specialist area maintains a high profile at Annual Conference.

Its role also includes coordinating the BSR’s response to new policy documents in the field of osteoporosis, including NICE guidance, ensuring that the views of practicing rheumatologists with an interest in osteoporosis are taken into account.

Meetings are targeted at rheumatologists, trainees, nurse specialists and allied health professionals working in the field of bone health.

Convenors: Dr Tehseen Ahmed and Dr Sarah Hardcastle

Physical activity

Physical activity has been shown to be an effective intervention for patients with a variety of rheumatology conditions to improve challenging symptoms including fatigue, stiffness and pain.

Furthermore, it has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer, depression and cardiovascular disease in the general population.

Physical activity prescription is currently underutilised in the NHS and amongst rheumatology patients. Many healthcare settings have limited resources and healthcare professionals lack confidence when discussing it with patients.

This sport and exercise medicine specialist interest group focuses on the latest evidence surrounding physical activity and the importance of promoting and delivering interventions amongst patients with rheumatological conditions.

Group objectives:

  • Focus on the latest evidence on the benefits of physical activity related to osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal pain

  • Demonstrate models of care where physical activity has been incorporated into patient pathways and inspire clinicians to consider how they can integrate these concepts into their own practice

  • Explore effective strategies in consultations to motivate patients to be more active. In turn, it aims to generate awareness, positive discussion and future strategies to inspire patients

  • Promotion, education, dissemination and utilisation of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine Inflammatory Rheumatic Disease Moving Medicine Module for Health Professionals to use with patients.

Meetings are targeted at all healthcare professionals working with rheumatology patients including doctors, physiotherapists, specialist nurses and occupational therapists. It will also be of interest to patient representatives.

Convenors: Dr Ralph Smith and Dr Julia Newton

Rheumatoid Arthritis Outcomes

The core members of this group are all involved in RA longitudinal cohorts and/or have major research interests in qualifying, quantifying and predicting different outcomes in RA. This covers clinical, functional, radiological, laboratory, comorbid and morbid, therapeutic, genetic, psychosocial and socio-economic aspects.

Discussions centre around: current status of these cohorts and how these can be harnessed in deliberations with funding bodies, clinical affairs of BSR, & NICE; relevant and current findings in outcome research; the need for future clinical studies.

The group holds a two-hour session yearly at BSR SIG meetings with invited speakers and encourage participation from rheumatologists, scientists and health professionals.

Meetings are targeted at rheumatologists, scientists, health professionals & patient support groups.

Convenor: Dr Adam Young

Sjögren's Syndrome

The Sjögren's SIG aims to educate clinicians on the presentation & diagnosis of Sjögren's syndrome; its oral, ocular and systemic manifestations and optimal clinical management.

The SIG will update clinicians on advances in diagnosis and treatment and promote and coordinate collaborative research into Sjögren's syndrome.

Meetings are targeted at trainees and consultant rheumatologists, allied health professionals and rheumatology specialist nurses.

Convenor: Dr Nurhan Sutcliffe

Spondyloarthritis

The Spondyloarthritis (SpA) SIG covers issues relating to the group of conditions, including ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis. This SIG aims to keep all members up to date with a broad range of topics including early detection, assessment and new therapies. It also covers research, guidelines and nationally relevant issues such as NICE guidelines and commissioning.

The group meet once a year at the BSR and also aims to keep all members updated via email during the rest of the year. The SIG will create the opportunity for networking and development of collaborations. The field of SpA is evolving rapidly, and members will find this SIG an invaluable way of keeping up to date.

Meetings are multidisciplinary and it welcomes input from all health professionals as well as patient groups.

Group objectives:

  • Update SIG members on upcoming initiatives, educational events, clinical trials

  • Submission of proposals to the Heberden Committee for SpA related topics at BSR educational events

  • Work in collaboration on behalf of BSR with partner organisations e.g. BRITPAC, BRITSPA, NASS, ASAS, GRAPPA

  • Increase awareness and participation in BSR related activities including registries e.g. NEIAA audit, BSRBR PSA registry.

Convenors: Dr Antoni Chan and Dr Bruce Kirkham

Ultrasound

The Ultrasound SIG formed with a view to increasing awareness of the benefits of Ultrasonography in Rheumatology practice. This dynamic group has grown over time, supporting the development and improvement of BSR ultrasound courses.

It meets annually at the Annual Conference, but has lots of informal contact through the year, sharing ideas around training needs and ways to increase appropriate use in practice.

Group objectives:

  • Support the use of ultrasound (US) in rheumatology

  • Raise awareness of the benefits of US in day to day practice, with a view to introducing elements of US practice into the training curriculum

  • Coordinate educational programmes for US, developing standardised training programmes and learning outcomes

  • Use the SIG as conduit for collaborative research

  • Develop local centres of excellence, and specialist skills (within SIG)

Convenor: Dr Ismael Atchia

Vasculitis

Vasculitis SIG is a cross-specialty group focusing on the systemic vasculitides and related diseases. It promotes knowledge of and participation in studies of these uncommon and potentially life-threatening conditions. It reviews current and future planned studies and present evidence of work in progress.

It seeks active audience participation in the meetings as well as looking for centres to partner with them in many projects, which by their nature, usually require multi-centre involvement.

The SIG wants members to join and get involved in activities at all levels, from learning about vasculitis and what SIG members do, to providing feedback on presentations through active discussion, and perhaps to take part in some projects as collaborative ventures.

Convenor: Prof Raashid Luqmani