What You Can Expect at the American College of Rheumatology Convergence 2021

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Convergence 2021, being held virtually between November 3 and 10, will include new sessions and presentations on data from rheumatology research and clinical practice.

The following article is a part of conference coverage from the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Convergence 2021, being held virtually from November 3 to 10, 2021. The team at Rheumatology Advisor will be reporting on the latest news and research conducted by leading experts in rheumatology. Check back for more from the ACR Convergence 2021.


The all-virtual American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Convergence 2021 will be held from November 3 to 10, with early access to the meeting starting on November 1.

This will be the second year that the annual meeting will be offered as an enhanced virtual experience, including a full lineup of rheumatology educational and industry sessions, abstracts, poster presentations, plenary and scientific sessions, and more. The conference will be showcasing the high-quality work of trainees, researchers, and rheumatologists involved in the study and management of rheumatic diseases.

In addition, the Association of Rheumatology Professionals (ARP) will be highlighting various topics of interest, including diversity and inclusion, patient-physician relationships, and mental health in rheumatology, along with a keynote address by Christine Grady, PhD, MSN, of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the ethical issues in COVID-19 vaccination.

What makes the ACR Convergence unique from other rheumatology meetings is its size, number of participants, and the diverse range of topics covered in the field.    

Although there was a strong desire to return to an in-person format annual meeting, it was not feasible this year. The chair of the Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC), Sharon L. Kolasinski, MD, FACR, noted that the ACR Convergence 2020 had the highest attendance compared with previous ACR annual meetings.

Incorporating feedback collected from last year’s conference, organizers say that the ACR Convergence 2021 will be more accessible to all attendees, with superior quality audio and video transmission. Registered participants will also have on-demand access to all sessions until March 11, 2022.

Don’t Miss These Sessions!

For the first time, there will be a program held on November 3, 2021 called the Global Rheumatology Summit, which will have experts come together to address and discuss critical topics in rheumatology.

Basic and clinical research topics, based on the intersection between SARS-CoV-2 and rheumatology, will be presented together on November 4 and 5, 2021. Conference co-chairs, Randy Cron, MD, PhD, and Mariana Kaplan MD, will moderate 6 interesting sessions, with remarks from a lineup of international experts. The opening lecture is scheduled to be given by Philip R. Krause, MD, of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the status of COVID-19 vaccination.

On Friday, November 5, 2021, at 9:00 AM EST, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in the Radiology Bootcamp, which will focus on the selection of appropriate imaging modalities in rheumatic diseases.

The Opening Keynote Lecture will take place on Friday, November 5, 2021, at 2:40 PM EST. Award-winning journalist Seema Yasmin, MD, will address the audience on the topic of “The Covidization of Rheumatology: What Will or Won’t Change Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

One of the featured sessions also on the same day at 3:30 PM EST will be the Year-in-Review, conducted by Michael Brenner, MD, and Karen H. Costenbader, MD, MPH, who will provide an overview of important research and breakthrough studies in rheumatology during 2020.

There will be 3 plenary sessions this year between 10:30 AM and 12:00 PM EST everyday on November 6, 7, and 8, 2021. Experts will present their data findings on a wide range of topics, including safety and efficacy of risankizumab in psoriatic arthritis; lupus nephritis mortality trends; cardiovascular risk events in rheumatoid arthritis; lupus disease activity on flare risk after hydroxychloroquine maintenance; and VEXAS syndrome.

As always, the Great Debate — being held on Saturday, November 6, 2021, at 9:00 AM EST — promises to be engaging and the highlight of the meeting. This year’s topic is “Enhancing Lupus Nephritis Therapy: Is Your Next Step Belimumab or Voclosporin?” Michelle A. Petri, MD, MPH, and Brad H. Rovin, MD, will each be sharing their perspectives.

Of note, Ryan Jessee, MD, a member of the ACR’s Government Affairs Committee (GAC), will moderate the annual advocacy update (Make Your Voice Count) on Sunday, November 7, 2021, at 11:00 AM EST. He noted the importance of this session by saying, “Advocacy is in the background for most providers in practice.”

Puja Khanna, MD, MPH, FACR, will moderate the Patient Perspectives event, to be held on November 7 from 3:30 PM, with 4 abstract presenters talking about their efforts and research throughout the year. Further, new to ACR Convergence 2021 is a digital poster session dedicated to patient perspectives that will be available throughout the meeting.

The ACR Review Course on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, will include a full day of 8 lectures to serve as updates for providers. 

Overall, Dr Kolasinski noted that their “top priority [was] to deliver the highest quality, most current content in rheumatology to the widest audience possible.”


Visit Rheumatology Advisor’s conference section for complete coverage of ACR Convergence 2021.



1. American College of Rheumatology. Annual Meeting. Accessed October 27, 2021. https://www.rheumatology.org/Annual-Meeting

2. ACR Convergence Today. ACR Convergence 2021: where the rheumatology community comes together. Published online October 22, 2021. Accessed October 27, 2021. https://www.acrconvergencetoday.org/acr-convergence-2021-where-the-rheumatology-community-comes-together/

3. ACR Convergence Today. Plan your daily experience at ACR Convergence. Published online August 25, 2021. Accessed October 27, 2021. https://www.acrconvergencetoday.org/plan-your-daily-experience-at-acr-convergence/

4. ACR Convergence Today. ARP program features timely topics for interprofessional rheumatology team. Published online October 22, 2021. Accessed October 28, 2021. https://www.acrconvergencetoday.org/arp-program-features-timely-topics-for-interprofessional-rheumatology-team

5. ACR Convergence Today. ACR advocacy efforts advance despite pandemic. Published online August 24, 2021. Accessed October 28, 2021. https://www.acrconvergencetoday.org/acr-advocacy-efforts-advance-despite-pandemic/

6. ACR Convergence Today. Basic and Clinical Research Conference days combine under COVID-19 theme. Published online October 29, 2021. Accessed October 29, 2021. https://www.acrconvergencetoday.org/basic-and-clinical-research-conference-days-combine-under-covid-19-theme

7. ACR Convergence Today. Patient Perspectives program brings more voices to rheumatology care. Published online October 29, 2021. Accessed October 29, 2021. https://www.acrconvergencetoday.org/expanded-patient-perspectives-program-brings-more-needed-voices-to-the-rheumatology-care-table