ACPAC – A Decade of Innovation in Arthritis Care

In 10 years, the Advanced Clinician Practitioner in Arthritis Care (ACPAC) Program has seen its reach extend from coast to coast. The hybrid academic and clinical training program has received acclaim for preparing experienced physical therapists, occupational therapists, and nurses to expand their respective practice roles in the diagnosis and management of patients with arthritis.

ACPAC’s profound and continued impact is marked by dramatically reduced wait times, increased access to care and a critical shift in attitude and process across its interprofessional cohorts.

Program Medical Director Dr. Rachel Shupak emphasizes that the benefits are deeply felt in caring for patients remotely. “One important aspect of telehealth which is not often fully appreciated is the potential cost savings to the patient, to the system and to the Ministry of Health.”

Physical therapist and alumnus Laura Passalent says the ACPAC model forges an important link between rheumatologists and therapists.

“Because we work closely with rheumatologists, we can expedite referrals so that patients get diagnosis and started on treatment sooner, which ultimately improves patient outcomes in the end.”

The ACPAC program combines online and in-person learning, delivered in episodic format over a 10-month period in Toronto. It consists of five intensive one-week sessions held on-site and off-site between October and June of each year. Now accepting applications for its 10th year, ACPAC is marking the milestone with a refreshed website and renewed ambition to continue spearheading change in the transformation of arthritis care in Canada.