Partnership supports lupus education

Staff report

COLUMBUS — Rama Consulting Group Inc, Metro Health Medical Center and the Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Ohio Chapter Inc. have announced their partnership to work on a statewide lupus education initiative for health professionals.

This project has been confirmed by the Ohio Department of Health and is being funded for $250,000.

Sen. Sandra Williams, D-Cleveland, District 21, is a lupus advocate who knows, firsthand, the effects of living with lupus. It was mostly her efforts that secured funding for lupus in the state of Ohio. In 2016, the Ohio Department of Health offered a competitive contract opportunity for a comprehensive Ohio Lupus Needs Assessment in response to the Amended Substitute House Bill 64. Recommendations from the needs assessment outlined the need for health-provider training.

Key findings of the needs assessment revealed:

• The complexity of lupus makes it extremely difficult to diagnose and treat because symptoms are individual and mimic other diseases.

• Lupus subject-matter experts are needed to promote lupus education curricula to primary care physicians, emergency room doctors, social workers, nurses, mental health professionals and community health workers.

• There is a lack of awareness in communities regarding lupus.

• Existing data systems need to be coordinated to develop a better epidemiological profile of lupus.

The objective of this project is to enhance the ability of at least 300 health professionals throughout Ohio to diagnose, treat and manage Ohioans with lupus. Through the recommendations in the needs assessment, the Ohio Department of Health has determined that the midstream recommendations of training healthcare professionals will have a positive impact on identifying and successfully treating people living with lupus.

Specific activities include:

• Develop continuing education curricula and target this education to a broader range of “early responders” and support services.

• Promote lupus education curricula to primary care physicians, emergency room doctors, social workers, nurses, mental health professionals, and community health workers.

• Collaborate with various medical boards and professional associations to promote lupus curricula for continuing education credits.

• Encourage participation in these curricula by offering the credits at a free or reduced cost.

Collectively both projects have been the largest awards for education ever in the state of Ohio for lupus.

Staff report