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Establishing an international awareness day for paediatric rheumatic diseases: Reflections from the inaugural World Young Rheumatic Diseases (WORD) Day 2019

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Helen Foster



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2020 The Author(s).There is a lack of awareness of paediatric rheumatic diseases (PRDs), among the public, and certain groups of healthcare professionals (HCPs), including general practitioners. To help improve international awareness and understanding of PRDs, World yOung Rheumatic Diseases (WORD) Day was established on 18 March 2019. Its aim was to raise awareness of PRDs and the importance of timely referral plus early diagnosis and access to appropriate treatment and support. A steering committee was established, and an external agency provided digital support. A social media campaign was launched in December 2018 to promote it, and analytics were used to measure its impact. Face-to-face and virtual events took place globally on or around WORD Day 2019, with 34 countries reporting events. Examples included lectures, social gatherings and media appearances. A total of 2585 and 660 individuals followed the official Facebook and Twitter accounts respectively, up until WORD Day. The official #WORDDay2019 hashtag was seen by 533,955 unique accounts on 18 March 2019 alone, with 3.3 million impressions. WORD Day 2019 was the first international campaign focused solely on PRDs. It demonstrated that despite awareness events being often resource-light, they can be implemented across a range of diverse settings. WORD Day has now become an annual global awareness event, facilitated by a growing network of patient, parent and professional community supporters.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smith EMD, Ainsworth S, Beresford MW, Buys V, Costello W, Egert Y, Foster HE, Lamot L, Prakken BJ, Scott C, Stones SR

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Pediatric Rheumatology

Year: 2020

Volume: 18

Online publication date: 11/09/2020

Acceptance date: 03/09/2020

ISSN (electronic): 1546-0096

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd


DOI: 10.1186/s12969-020-00465-2

PubMed id: 32917217