The ACPAC Program provides an opportunity to lead transformation of arthritis and musculoskeletal care in Ontario and beyond

Now accepting applications for the 2024-2025 ACPAC Program. Visit the Admissions Page for further details.
Completion of either of the two courses below, offered by the Mary Pack Arthritis Centre or The Arthritis Society, is highly recommended prior to application:

  1. The Mary Pack Arthritis Centre (ACE) offers a hybrid course "An Introduction to the Assessment and Management of Rheumatic Diseases". Those with interest in applying to the ACPAC Program are strongly encouraged to apply for the virtual component of the ACE Hybrid Course. Please note: ACE is not offering this course in 2024.
    More information available here.
  2. The Arthritis Society is offering Clinical Practice Skills for Inflammatory Arthritis (CPSIA) course. CPSIA is a professional development program offered through Arthritis Society Canada that has evolved with the evidence and the learning needs of today’s interdisciplinary team. The program progressively develops the participants’ clinical practice skills in a hybrid environment through a blend of interactive online and in-person experiential learning activities. Registration closes May 15th, 2024 (or earlier, if all spots are filled) for the course in June 2024. For registration details, please visit the website at Please email any questions to

For inquiries about the ACPAC Program, please contact us at


The Advanced Clinician Practitioner in Arthritis Care (ACPAC) Program is a unique post-licensure academic and clinical educational program. It prepares select and experienced physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, and chiropractors for extended practice roles by providing advanced training in the diagnosis and management of patients with arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions.

The ACPAC program was developed in response to:

  • A well-recognized need for an enhanced interprofessional approach to care that allows more efficient management of a growing population of patients with arthritis (inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis)
  • A progressive decline in number of traditional arthritis care specialists resulting in inappropriate wait times for care
  • A need to retain and more appropriately utilize existing health professionals with expertise in the musculoskeletal field to improve wait times and efficiency of arthritis and musculoskeletal care.

The aim is to further develop a relevant human health resource to improve access to specialist care. ACPAC-trained extended role practitioners (ERPs) are important contributors to development of innovative models of arthritis and musculoskeletal care across clinical settings in Ontario and beyond.

This innovative, interprofessional program is hosted in Toronto, Canada by the University Health Network in collaboration with Mount Sinai Hospital, The Hospital for Sick Children and other healthcare institutions. It is a competency-based certificate program offered at the post-licensure level in association with the Office of Continuing Professional Development, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.

'Without the help of the ACPAC program-trained practitioners, managing the demand for rheumatology services in Northwestern Ontario would be impossible.'

-Dr. Wes Fidler
View more testimonials

ACPAC-Trained ERP Workforce in Canada

Recent Publications

An Advanced Clinician Practitioner in Arthritis Care (ACPAC) Maintains a Positive Patient Experience While Increasing Capacity in Rheumatology Community Care
Ahluwalia V., Inrig T., Larsen T., Shupak R., Papneja T., Karasik A., Kennedy C., Lundon K.
ACR Open Rheumatology
Download PDF Here
Measuring Advanced/Extended Practice Roles in Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Care in Canada
Lundon K., Inrig T., Paton M., Shupak R., Kennedy C., McGlynn M., Barber C.
ACR Open Rheumatology
Download PDF Here
The Effect of Triage Assessments on Identifying Inflammatory Arthritis and Reducing Rheumatology Wait Times in Ontario
Vandana Ahluwalia, Sydney Lineker, Raquel Sweezie, Mary J. Bell, Tetyana Kendzerska, Jessica Widdifield, Claire Bombardier and the Allied Health Rheumatology Triage Investigators
The Journal of Rheumatology March 1 2020, 47 (3) 461-467;
Advancing Early Identification of Axial Spondyloarthritis: An Interobserver Comparison of Extended Role Practitioners and Rheumatologists
Passalent L., Hawke C., Lawson D. O., Omar, A., Alnaqbi, K. A., Wallis, D., Steinhart, H., Silverberg M., Wolman, S., Derzko-Dzulynsky, L., Haroon, N., Inman, R.D. 2019.
The Journal of Rheumatology
An advanced clinician practitioner in arthritis care can improve access to rheumatology care in community-based practice.
Ahluwalia, V., Larsen, T., Kennedy, C., Inrig, T., Lundon, K. 2019.
Published in The Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare.
View Paper

Objective: To facilitate access and improve wait times to a rheumatologist's consultation, this study aimed to 1) determine the ability of an advanced clinician practitioner in arthritis care (ACPAC)-trained extended role practitioner (ERP) to triage patients with suspected inflammatory arthritis (IA) for priority assessment by a rheumatologist and 2) determine the impact of an ERP on access-to-care as measured by time-to-rheumatologist-assessment and time-to-treatment-decision.

Materials and methods: A community-based ACPAC-trained ERP triaged new referrals for suspected IA. Patients with suspected IA were booked to see the rheumatologist on a priority basis. Diagnostic accuracy of the ERP to correctly identify priority patients; the level of agreement between ERP and rheumatologist (Kappa coefficient and percent agreement); and the time-to-treatment-decision for confirmed cases of IA were investigated. Retrospective chart review then compared time-to-rheumatologist-assessment and time-to-treatment-decision in the solo-rheumatologist versus the ERP-triage model.

Results: One hundred twenty-one patients were triaged. The ERP designated 54 patients for priority assessment. The rheumatologist confirmed IA in 49/54 (90.7% positive predictive value [PPV]). Of the 121 patients, 67 patients were designated as nonpriority by the ERP, and none were determined to have IA by the rheumatologist (100% negative predictive value [NPV]). Excellent agreement was found between the ERP and the rheumatologist (Kappa coefficient 0.92, 95% CI: 0.84–0.99). In the ERP-triage model, time-from-referral-to-treatment-decision for patients with IA was 73.7 days (SD 40.4, range 12–183) compared with 124.6 days (SD 61.7, range 26–359) in the solo-rheumatologist model (40% reduction in time-to-treatment-decision).

Conclusion: A well-trained and experienced ERP can shorten the time-to-Rheumatologist assessment and time-to-treatment-decision for patients with suspected IA.

Keywords: rheumatology, health services accessibility, interprofessional relations, community health services, integrated delivery systems