The Vasculitis Foundation hosted its second regional symposium of the year on July 20-21 at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.
The meeting drew over 150 patients, family members, friends and caregivers and 12 medical experts from the vasculitis community.
The symposium began with a welcome reception at the Emory University Miller-Ward Alumni House on Friday evening. The beautiful setting provided the perfect backdrop for attendees to meet each other (many for the first time in person) and for a performance by Allison Lint, creator of the Violins-4-Vasculitis nationwide campaign.
Saturday morning’s session featured presentations by Dr. John H. Stone, Massachusetts General Hospital and Dr. Gary S. Hoffman, Cleveland Clinic. Both talks featured information on current and future treatments and set the stage for an informative day of learning and discussion.
The symposium included breakout sessions for smaller groups to provide opportunities for more in-depth discussion and questions from the audience. Dr. Hoffman gave newly diagnosed patients an excellent overview of vasculitis; Dr. Ulrich Specks, Mayo Clinic, led an extensive discussion on small vessel and ANCA-associated vasculitis; Dr. Paul Monach, Boston University, guided the session for patients with giant cell arteritis and Takayasu’s arteritis and Dr. Carol Langford, Cleveland Clinic, led the session for patients with Behcet’s, Cryoglobulinemia, Polyarteritis nodosa, central nervous system vasculitis and hepatitis-associated vasculitis.
In the afternoon session, Dr. Carol Langford and Dr. Paul Monach addressed the topics of “What is Remission” and “Vasculitis Fall-Out”. Both speakers’ presentations discussed the need for patients to be proactive and to manage their vasculitis.
Saturday afternoon breakout sessions included a special session for pediatric patients and their parents with Dr. Peter Weiser, University of Alabama; a fertility and family matters session with Dr. Megan Clowse, Duke University; a session on the results of the “The VCRC Vasculitis Illness Perception Study” with the study’s principal investigator, Dr. Peter Grayson, Boston University; and a session on Nutrition and Exercise led by Bethany Smith, RD, CSO, LD from Good Measure Meals and Kathy Lee Bishop, DPT, MS, CSS, Emory Healthwise.
The group came back together for the final presentation of the afternoon given by Dr. Iñaki Sanz. Dr. Sanz recently relocated to Emory to become Chief, Division of Rheumatology and is in the process of expanding the vasculitis program at Emory. Dr. Sanz’s presentation “B Cell Targeting and Other Biological Approaches” provided excellent insight into research efforts and ended the symposium on a positive and upbeat note.
Several of the presentations were streamlined via the Internet and will be available for viewing from the VF YouTube Education channel in the next few months. Presentations from the 2012 Chicago symposium are also available to watch on the VF YouTube Education channel.