About the Georgia Council on Lupus Education and Awareness (GCLEA)
The Georgia Council on Lupus Education and Awareness was established by the Georgia General Assembly in 2014 to improve the lives of Georgia residents who live with lupus by improving public education and awareness, improving access to resources for patients and family members, and developing information that will inform current and future public health efforts. It is the Council’s hope that these efforts will increase appropriate and earlier diagnoses of lupus by non-rheumatologists.
The GCLEA aspires to
- develop resources that will improve the level of lupus education and awareness in healthcare providers and the general public,
- develop resources for communities that lack access to specialized lupus healthcare providers, and
- develop resources that encourage professional development and proficiency in the diagnosis, care, management, and treatment of people with lupus.
The appointed members of the GCLEA consist of Co-Chairs State Representative Kim Schofield and S. Sam Lim of Emory University and Grady Health System. Other members include Cathy Craven of the Georgia Department of Community Health, State Senator Tonya Anderson, Rana Bayakly of the Georgia Department of Public Health, and Teresa Lasseter. The GCLEA is assisted by Brandy Sylvan and Kaitlin Ward of the Georgia Department of Community Health.
About the Georgia Lupus Collaborative
The GCLEA held a Lupus and Related Autoimmune Diseases Workshop on August 30, 2019, which was designed to foster collaborations between providers, researchers, community leaders, private industry, non-profit organizations, legislators, government agencies, professional organizations, and academia in order to improve the lives of people impacted by lupus in Georgia. This workshop was made possible by funds granted by the Georgia General Assembly to the GCLEA. Forty-one attendees worked together to identify current needs in the lupus community and ways in which each of their respective organizations and institutions could collaborate to support, educate, and/or provide services to the lupus community. Organizations represented at this workshop included the Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Department of Community Health, Augusta University, Emory University School of Medicine – Division of Rheumatology, the Georgians Organized Against Lupus (GOAL) research cohort, the Arthritis Foundation, Emory University School of Medicine – Division of Nephrology, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, American College of Rheumatology, Goodwill Industries, Grady Health Systems, Emory Healthcare, Piedmont Hospital, members of the Georgia General Assembly, Georgians For a Healthy Future, the Jordan Savage Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline, and the Lupus Foundation of America, Georgia Chapter. Topics discussed included: increasing minority involvement in clinical trials; increasing awareness among non-rheumatologist service providers; creating a clearinghouse for rheumatologists who are interested in opportunities for volunteering and garnering ongoing commitments from participants towards future collaboration.
The overarching goal was to share current activities and achievements, provide perspective, create opportunities to collaborate in the future, and establish sustainable connections. One aim was to identify, among other things, projects related to lupus and related autoimmune diseases and/or identify projects that can be applied to lupus and related autoimmune disease; identify needs in the lupus community and current projects in the state’s lupus community; and identify opportunities to collaborate on current and future projects. Invitees agreed to contribute their time to these workgroups, which, combined, formulated a consortium now called the Georgia Lupus Collaborative or the Collaborative.
Participants were excited about learning more and making plans to do more to promote lupus awareness and education in Georgia and committed to remaining active with and connected to GCLEA through the Georgia Lupus Collaborative. As a result of these discussions, the GCLEA committed its support and resources to further these efforts.