BSR has a number of Special Interest Groups, which bring unique and unparalleled insight into different areas of rheumatology.

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.

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.

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 Erin Taylor.

Adolescent/young adult SIG

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).

This SIG aims to promote high quality, young person-friendly, developmentally appropriate health services and understand the challenges of ensuring this care is continually provided. The group also explores how young person friendly, developmentally appropriate services have been achieved in different centres across the UK and reviews recent advances relevant to the care and long-term health outcomes of young people with rheumatological disease.

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. The group meets annually for a planned programme of teaching, chosen in conjunction with the BANNAR membership. The meeting is coordinated by the SIG convenors.

B-cells and B-cell targeted therapies SIG

This SIG provides an opportunity to meet, learn with and increase collaboration between adult and paediatric and adolescent rheumatologists and scientists with a special interest in B-cells and B-cell targeted therapies. One of the group’s aims is to educate the community regarding up-to-date knowledge on these therapies, their current use, and ongoing research projects, given that optimal use of B-cell targeted therapies and their long-term safety is still not well established.

There is a large potential for the development of more effective and/or safer B-cell targeted therapies for the treatment of autoimmune rheumatic diseases as new drugs continue to be developed in particular for the treatment of malignancies of B-cell origin. This SIG works to contribute to writing Best Practice guidelines in this area and establish collaborations with other specialities including haematologists, clinical immunologists and infectious disease specialists to contribute to safer use of these therapies and to possible development of new therapies.

Convenors: Dr Maria Leandro, Dr Venkat Reddy and Dr Edward Vital

Cardiovascular comorbidities in rheumatoid arthritis SIG

The Cardiovascular comorbidities in rheumatoid arthritis SIG works to exchange information on current research and practice work streams, facilitates 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.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the main co-morbidities and a principal cause of mortality in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). 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

Convenor: Dr Jet Veldhuijzen van Zanten

Crystal arthritis SIG

The Crystal Arthritis SIG aims to provide a focus and leadership for gout and calcium pyrophosphate crystal deposition. It ensures a high profile for crystal arthritis at BSR 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

Education SIG

The Education SIG works closely with the BSR Education Committee to build a multidisciplinary network of people with an interest in medical education and promote sharing of ideas and good practice. The group’s objectives are to highlight areas of good practice, encourage people to get involved in developing our eLearning platform and to update clinicians in the field of clinical reasoning both with regards to their own clinical practice and how they can incorporate it into their teaching.

Convenors: Dr David Coady and Dr Pippa Watson

Ethnicity SIG

The purpose of this SIG is to advance knowledge and understanding about rheumatological conditions and patient care for patients of minority ethnic groups. The group considers ethnic variations in perception, awareness and acceptance of conditions, explores patient education needs in minority ethnic groups and the development of patient education material in local languages, and promotes local resources for patient information and support.

Convenor: Arumugam Moorthy

Foot and ankle SIG

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

There's a growing body of knowledge in this previously poorly understood area of practice and it is attracting rising interest. The objectives of this group are to identify areas of common concern and devise strategies for their solution, provide opportunities for the development of collaborative research projects, a forum for discussion of ongoing work and developing consensus-based statements or standards, work in evolution or the development of new ideas.

The group convenes an annual meeting of the group and other interested parties.

Convenors:  Dr Edward Roddy and Dr Lindsey Cherry

Giant Cell Arteritis and Polymyalgia Rheumatica SIG

The Giant Cell Arteritis and Polymyalgia Rheumatica SIG is a supportive and inclusive community that promoting good clinical practice, research and service design for clinicians, researchers, trainees and students to improve outcomes for patients with GCA or PMR.

The group aims to encourage and inspire interest in GCA and PMR, present and discuss research in the field, promote networking, and liaise with relevant groups and organisations.

Convenors: Dr Chetan Mukhtyar, Dr Sarah Mackie, Dr Max Yates and Dr Fiona Coath. Please contact: gcapmrsig@outlook.com

Heritable disorders of connective tissue SIG

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 our Annual Conference and ACR's, and to support regional meetings on a regular basis.

Convenor: Dr Philip Bull

Hyperinflammation SIG

The Hyperinflammation SIG aims to highlight the crucial role that rheumatologists play in the management of complex inflammatory disease and hyperinflammatory syndromes across the life course.

The group plans to use its network to focus on the particular skills and expertise needed to manage haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis and other hyperinflammatory syndromes through a programme of education and training. The SIG will work to improve patient management through the development of a national network of MDTs which in turn facilitate multi-centre research.

Convenors: Dr Jessica Manson, Dr Rachel Tattersall

Infections in rheumatology SIG

Rheumatology has many pertinent infections-related issues. Immunosuppressant agents including the biologic therapies have transformed the management of various rheumatological conditions; however, infections in immunocompromised patients is a major concern. The Infections in Rheumatology SIG aims to provide a focused forum for clinical, educational and research purposes.

The aims of the SIG are to provide a forum for those interested in infections in rheumatology, offer rheumatologists an opportunity to broaden their knowledge and keep abreast of the latest developments, establish close links with national experts in the fields of microbiology, infectious diseases, orthopaedics, musculoskeletal radiology and nuclear medicine and to promote collaborative research and form close links with our biologics registers and contribute to the development of clinical guidelines.

Convenors: Dr Graham Raftery and Dr Muddassir Shaikh

Lung and rheumatic disease SIG

An association between Connective Tissue Diseases (CTD) and interstitial lung disease (ILD) is well established. This group aims to share new developments in ILD diagnosis and management. This SIG is for professionals interested in the management of patients with ILD complicating CTDs. Members are active contributors to groups developing guidelines across the UK, Europe and worldwide.

Convenor: Dr Clive Kelly, Mark Garton, Gouri Koduri

Myositis SIG

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. 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 has links with the European myositis research group EUMYONET and the international group IMACs and collaborates with them on various research projects.

The SIG meets twice a year to present recent research advances, plan future research projects and discuss clinical cases/issues.

Convenors: Prof Hector Chinoy and Dr Patrick Gordon

Osteoarthritis SIG

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of joint disease worldwide and it continues to gain increased attention due to its clinical burden. This SIG aims to share new developments in OA. It's targeted at members with an interest in advancing research in this area. The objectives of the group are to promote development and dissemination of relevant guidelines and research, as well as public information about OA, to implement changes of best clinical practice and determine future directions of research in OA.

Convenor: Nidhi Sofat

Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Disease SIG

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 and ensures that this key specialist area maintains a high profile at BSR Annual Conference. The role of the group also includes coordinating responses 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 Zoe Paskins and Prof Kassim Javaid

Physical activity SIG

This sport and exercise medicine SIG focuses on the latest evidence surrounding physical activity and the importance of promoting and delivering interventions amongst patients with rheumatological conditions. 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, but prescription is currently underutilised in the NHS and amongst rheumatology patients.

The aims of this SIG are to focus on the latest evidence on the benefits of physical activity related to OA and MSK pain and demonstrate models of care where physical activity has been incorporated into patient pathways to inspire clinicians to consider how they can integrate these concepts into their own practice. The group also explores effective strategies in consultations to motivate patients to be more active. In turn, it aims to generate awareness, to enable 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

Pregnancy and rheumatic diseases SIG

The Pregnancy and Rheumatic Diseases SIG aims to improve the quality of care and management of rheumatic disease pre-conception, through pregnancy and postnatally through providing educational updates for rheumatologists, trainees and health professionals, updates on the interplay between rheumatic diseases and pregnancy, sharing current research and best practice.

Convenors: Dr Iona ThorneDr Ian Giles and Maria Mouyis

Quality improvement SIG

The quality improvement SIG aims to support all members of the paediatric and adult rheumatology MDT to gain confidence and expertise in using QI methodology, with the ultimate aim of improving patient care and clinician experience. We provide a number of educational opportunities including formal QI methodology courses and more informal QI drop-in clinics, where anyone working in rheumatology is welcome to join us to discuss QI projects and learn from others.

We have produced a number of resources available on the BSR website and e-learning platform, ranging from an update on QI tools to exemplar projects from across the MDT. 

We aim to expand our growing network of QI experts and enthusiasts and to provide new approaches to the challenges faced in clinical practice. We try to embed QI methodology aligned, where possible, to local trust priorities and national projects. Please get in touch with any of the convenors if you would like to hear more and be added to our mailing list.

Convenors: Dr Jo Ledingham, Dr Lizzy MacPhie, Dr Charlotte SharpDr Gavin Cleary and Dr Flora McErlane

Rheumatoid arthritis SIG

The core members of this group are all involved in Rheumatoid Arthritis (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.

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

The group holds a two-hour session yearly with invited speakers and encourage participation from rheumatologists, scientists and health professionals. Meetings are targeted at rheumatologists, scientists, health professionals and patient support groups.

Convenor: Elena Nikiphorou

Rheumatology in low and middle income countries SIG

This SIG promotes and supports research, training and service provision in low-and-middle-income countries. The objectives of the group are to promote rheumatology in low-and-middle-income countries, review advances in research related to rheumatology in low and middle-income countries and develop new projects through collaboration, exchange information and ideas regarding projects focused on training and service provision and provide opportunities for collaboration in this and to set up an online database for collaborative projects.

Convenors: Professor Robert MootsDr Mwidimi Ndosi, Dr Zoe Rutter-Locher and Dr Fred Otieno

Scleroderma SIG

The Scleroderma SIG aims to provide updates on recent clinical trials and increase understanding of current assessment of scleroderma vascular disease. The group aims to continue to foster close links with other relevant groups such as Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK (SRUK) and UK Scleroderma Study Group (UKSSG), provide guidance about investigation and treatment of systemic sclerosis, highlight key challenges and opportunities in trial design and disease assessment and consider barriers that must be overcome to support successful clinical trial programmes for cutaneous vascular manifestations of systemic sclerosis.

Meetings are targeted at people who have a clinical and research interest in scleroderma.

Convenor: Prof Chris Denton

Sjögren's syndrome SIG

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 updates 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 Elizabeth Price

Specialised commissioning in rheumatology SIG

This SIG aims to provide expert clinical advice and leadership to develop national commissioning polices and products, including facilitating implementation of NHS England’s specialised commissioning proposals, updating clinicians regarding NHS England’s specialised services including rheumatology, and sharing good practice.

Meetings are targeted at consultants, clinical nurse specialists and health professionals who provide a specialised rheumatology service.

Convenors: Dr Frances Hall 

Spondyloarthritis SIG

The Spondyloarthritis (SpA) SIG covers issues relating to the group of conditions, including Axial Spondyloarthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA). This SIG aims to keep the community up to date with a broad range of topics including early detection, assessment and new therapies.

The principal aims of the group are to update SIG members on upcoming initiatives, educational events and research; work in collaboration with partner organisations; increase awareness and participation in BSR activities including registries and audit, and contributing to research, guidelines and nationally relevant issues such as NICE guidelines.

Meetings are multidisciplinary and it welcomes input from all health professionals as well as patient groups. The group meets once a year at the BSR Annual Conference and also aims to keep all members updated via email during the rest of the year.

Convenors: Dr Ben Thompson and Dr Bruce Kirkman 

Sustainability SIG

The Sustainability SIG aims to create a new momentum around sustainability in rheumatology and provide an opportunity for members to explore and understand the close links between the climate crisis and health. The NHS has committed to reach net zero carbon emissions; this SIG will help place rheumatology at the forefront of this by acting as a focal point to explore and define what this means in practice, and set out the pathway towards a model of high quality and low carbon rheumatology care.

The group will equip members with knowledge on net zero healthcare and how to work towards it, and aims to build a multidisciplinary network to share learning and facilitate collaboration between those interested in driving sustainable quality improvement within the speciality.

Convenors: Kieran Sandhu and Kalveer Flora

Telemedicine and remote monitoring SIG

The telemedicine and remote monitoring SIG provides a mechanism to share and disseminate best practice and experiences, as well as identifying important clinical and research priorities for this rapidly developing field. The group aims to provide a forum to facilitate the meeting of individuals with a special interest in telemedicine and remote monitoring in rheumatology.

The core objectives are to gather and share best practice and advances in telemedicine and relevant digital technologies in clinical practice and research (including issues and process of remote consent), to enhance rheumatology patient care, and develop educational materials and training sessions for the effective implementation of telemedicine and digital technologies into rheumatological healthcare settings.

The group works to identify barriers to patient and clinician uptake and identify methods to minimise barriers to uptake (including identifying strategies to avoid digital exclusion) and involve patients and patient representatives to ensure that the SIG agenda and priority setting remains aligned with both patients and healthcare professionals’ requirements.

Convenors: Alexander Oldroyd, James Bateman, Philip Hamann

Ultrasound SIG

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 our ultrasound courses.

The main aims of the group are to 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 and develop local centres of excellence, and specialist skills.

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

Convenor: Dr Ismael Atchia

Vasculitis SIG

The 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.


Work and health SIG

This SIG aims to provide an opportunity for all those interested in health and work research, clinical practice and for dissemination of best practice in this field. The main aims of the SIG are to provide a forum for communication, information sharing and collaboration, continue to develop a body of literature about musculoskeletal interventions that enhance work participation and increase awareness of the importance of work as a health outcome.