Core activities of EMEUNET

Communication and interaction

The development of the EMEUNET website was one of the first tasks of the group, underlying the importance of providing a viable means of communication and increased visibility of EMEUNET. The website represents a central resource towards establishing a network by facilitating communication and interaction of young rheumatology professionals. The mailing list provides an important and effective medium to facilitate communication between young European rheumatologists. Educational, research and grant opportunities, as well as particularly relevant news and events are publicized on the website. Furthermore, the website has an educational purpose, with clinical and research links to relevant websites.

All the news and essential information can also be found on the EMEUNET facebook page. In addition, EMEUNET posts regularly educational and scientific content on Twitter, where almost fifteen hundred followers engage with the tweets Our social media platforms represent popular sites for networking, exchanging information, sharing ideas and opinions, as well as participating in educational quizzes and various learning activities. Earlier this year we launched our first Twitter Journal Club in collaboration with the EULAR School of Rheumatology, a brand new initiative giving the opportunity to openly discuss scientific papers with key authors and other colleagues across the world. Finally, we have recently also embarked on our EMEUNET LinkedIn platform, so can also be found there.

At the annual EULAR Congress an EMEUNET Booth is set up as well as social events organized to facilitate networking at the Annual EULAR and ACR Meetings. Newsletters are regularly prepared and circulated within EMEUNET.

Education and Mentoring

EMEUNET is engaged in several educational activities, in particular in conjunction with the School of Rheumatology and with ESCET, the EULAR Standing Committee on Education and Training, but also with other standing committees.

EMEUNET working group members are eligible to propose sessions to the scientific committee of the EULAR meetings, in particular to ESCET for the “The Young Rheumatologist” track of the EULAR congress. These sessions are then in principle chaired by the respective EMEUNET members.

An advanced Epidemiology Course was organized, as a joint venture between EULAR and EMEUNET, for the first time in 2012 and has been held annually since then, and the first edition of an Immunology Course was in April 2016.

A mentoring process on how to review articles was set up together with the Editor of Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (ARD) and more recently the Editor of Rheumatic &  Musculoskeletal Diseases (RMD Open). This is a unique initiative with the aim of
training young researchers to become good reviewers and improve their skills in research, ultimately leading to a higher educational and research level.

Since the ACR 2013 meeting, leaders in the field get together with a selected group of EMEUNET members to discuss projects and career plans. This type of informal mentoring is organized regularly at EULAR and ACR meetings ever since.

In 2014, EULAR made it mandatory to involve two members of EMEUNET when forming a task force to develop EULAR recommendations, thereby giving these EMEUNET members an invaluable learning opportunity.

Contact with and understanding of EULAR

A major limitation for many young people who are interested in contributing to and moving things forward within EULAR is the lack of understanding on how an organisation like EULAR works and functions. To address this need, members within the EMEUNET Working Group have the opportunity to observe the work of the various Standing Committees of EULAR, gaining valuable insight into the practices of EULAR as well as possibly providing an active voice for the young rheumatologist there. The role of these EMEUNET observers has been discussed with and approved by the parent organisation.The EMEUNET steering committee has a sit in the EULAR ExCom meeting, the Chair also in the EULAR Scientific Committee and several working group members have an active participation in the School of Rheumatology. 

Needs of young rheumatologists

A first survey has been performed in 2009 on the needs of young rheumatologists (Gaujoux-Viala, Ann Rheum Dis. 2012) and was followed by a second survey on mentoring within EULAR countries in 2012 (Frank-Bertoncelj, Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2014) In another project differences and similarities in rheumatology specialty training programmes across European countries have been identified. (Sivera F, et al. Ann Rheum Dis. 2015). Recently, a survey conducted on educational needs of young rheumatologists and researchers confirmed that EULAR's training opportunities are well appreciated among young clinicians and physician researchers in rheumatology (Beyer C, et al RMD Open 2016).Furthermore, a survey by EMEUNET on social media showed the latter to be more popular than generally perceived for professional purposes among young rheumatologists (Nikiphorou E, et al Ann Rheum Dis 2016).

Other projects

Many other projects can be and will be promoted within EMEUNET – if you have suggestions, contact the working group! Ideas are always welcome from any rheumatologist, clinical or basic scientist in rheumatology and carefully considered, especially when well-conceived and enthusiastically delivered. The benefits of sharing your ideas are multiple, including being given the opportunity to consolidate these ideas further with support from EMEUNET and to be directly involved in their development and execution.