AbbVie Supports Educational Initiatives in Latin America to Impact Standards of Care and Research for Rheumatic Diseases

AbbVie Supports Educational Initiatives in Latin America to Impact Standards of Care and Research for Rheumatic Diseases

- Master's Program for Spondyloarthritis Helps Specialists Broaden Skillset

- Ultrasound Courses Improve Understanding of Emerging Technology for the Management of Rheumatic Diseases

PUNTA DEL ESTE, Uruguay, March 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- AbbVie today announced its support for two educational initiatives aiming to impact standards of care and research for rheumatic diseases at the XVIII Pan-American League of Associations for Rheumatology (PANLAR) Congress. The company is providing scholarships for a master's degree program in spondyloarthritis (SpA) which will provide specialized training for more than 20 board-certified rheumatologists across Latin America. Additionally, AbbVie is sponsoring four ultrasound courses through PANLAR to help further understanding of this emerging technology for use in the diagnosis and monitoring of rheumatic diseases.

"We recognize that providing ongoing education and training opportunities are key for enriching the knowledge base for rheumatologists in Latin America, which may improve care for patients," stated John Reveille, MD, President, PANLAR. "We're encouraged by AbbVie's commitment to supporting this group of specialists and impacting the standard of care for SpA and all rheumatic diseases through educational programming."

Universidad Europea de Madrid Spondyloarthritis Master's Degree Program
SpA continues to be an area of focus for clinical research in Latin America. Existing research suggests that many individuals living with spondyloarthropathies, such as psoriatic arthritis and axial SpA, may go undiagnosed for years.[i],[ii]

The master's degree program aims to help address the need for more specialized training for rheumatologists in SpA and was initially launched three years ago in Madrid. AbbVie is providing scholarships to Latin American physicians for the 18-month course to further impact the standards of care while also broadening the skillset of experts in SpA in Latin America where there is currently a shortage of experts in this subfield of rheumatology.

The Universidad Europea de Madrid selects board-certified rheumatologists who have exemplified a passion for SpA and an interest in furthering research in the field. Numerous experts in the Latin American SpA community will serve as program advisors for students during the course, final project and in research efforts following the program.

SpA is the name for a group of rheumatic diseases that cause arthritis and share common clinical, radiographic and genetic features.[iii] SpA can be categorized according to which part of the body is mainly affected – axial (spine) or peripheral (arms and legs).[iv]

To learn more information about the master's degree program in SpA, including the 2015 application process, visit

Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Training Courses
Rheumatoid arthritis, one of several types of rheumatic diseases, causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints, [v] and can sometimes lead to permanent structural damage. Although conventional radiography has been considered the standard for imaging in RA, significant advances have been made within the field over the past few decades to further detect the presence of inflammation.[vi]   

In an effort to increase understanding of this emerging technology, AbbVie is sponsoring four ultrasound courses, offered at the basic, intermediate and advanced levels, as well a course with a focus on pediatric patients. The courses will be held immediately leading up to the PANLAR Congress on 15-16 March at the Centro de Convenciones Hotel Conrad and will be led by Lucio Ventura, M.D., Instituto Nacional de Rehabilitación, Mexico and Santiago Ruta, MD, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Argentina .

"The role of ultrasound and MRI in diagnosis continues to evolve as demonstrated in the recent evidence-based recommendations developed by the EULAR taskforce,[vi]" said Luis Nudelman, Regional Medical Affairs Head, Latin America, AbbVie. "With these courses, rheumatologists gain important practice in ultrasonography in addition to their knowledge in conventional radiography, which has been considered the gold standard for imaging.[vi]"

AbbVie Clinical Research School
In addition to the initiatives above, the AbbVie Clinical Research School is a medically-driven comprehensive educational program offering tailored tutorials, including classroom and virtual sessions, for healthcare providers across the globe with the support of renowned institutions, such as Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia.

Recently, as part of this initiative, approximately 60 healthcare providers affiliated with the Centres of Excellence across Latin America gathered in Sao Paulo and Bogota to learn new techniques for medical writing.

About AbbVie's Support for Disease Awareness and Education Programs
AbbVie is committed to holistically impacting the standards of care in rheumatology. As part of the company's commitment to patients, AbbVie provides or supports several disease awareness programs to educate multiple stakeholder groups about rheumatic diseases and their impact, including RA: Join the Fight, Targeted Ultrasound Initiative, Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Training, Universidad Europa de Madrid Spondyloarthritis Master's Degree program and MRI Workshops and Perspectives: Art, Inflammation and Me (for immune-mediated inflammatory diseases). Through expertise and deep understanding of these diseases, AbbVie aims to meet the health needs of people and societies around the globe.

About AbbVie
AbbVie is a global, research-based biopharmaceutical company formed in 2013 following separation from Abbott Laboratories.  The company's mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to develop and market advanced therapies that address some of the world's most complex and serious diseases.  AbbVie employs approximately 25,000 people worldwide and markets medicines in more than 170 countries.  For further information on the company and its people, portfolio and commitments, please visit  Follow @abbvie on Twitter or view careers on our Facebook or LinkedIn page.

[i] Rudwaleit, M., et al. (2005) "The challenge of diagnosis and classification in early ankylosing spondylitis: Do we need new criteria?" Arthritis & Rheumatism. 52(4): 1000–1008.
[ii] Spira, A. (2010) "MRI Findings in Psoriatic Arthritis of the Hands." American Journal of Roentgenology. 2010;195: 1187-1193.
[iii] Buschiazzo, E, et al, (2011) "Epidemiology of Spondyloarthritis in Argentina." American Journal of Medical Sciences. 341(4): 289-292.
[iv] Poddubnyy, D. (2013) Axial spondyloarthritis: is there a treatment of choice? Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2013 February; 5(1): 45–54.
[v] Brennan, F. McInnes, I. (2008) "Evidence That Cytokines Play a Role in Rheumatoid Arthritis." Journal of Clinical Investigation. 118(11):3537–3545.
[vi] Colebatch, A. N. et al. (2013) "EULAR Recommendations for the Use of Imaging of the Joints in the Clinical Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis." Annals of Rheumatic Diseases. 72:804–814.