The Ehlers-Danlos Society Centers and Networks of Excellence Program

Global Centers and Networks of Excellence Vision: Multi-Disciplinary Team Care around the world

The Ehlers-Danlos Society is committed to increasing the availability of clinical services for people living with EDS and HSD, decreasing the diagnostic odyssey, and standardizing communication and care for those impacted by EDS and HSD.

Toward that end, our aim is to develop a network of Excellence for EDS and HSD around the globe. This will be a first step toward the goal of developing a network of Centers that will assist thousands of people worldwide, and alleviate their pain and symptoms.

“We know that around the world, what is desperately needed is early diagnosis, validation, and effective multidisciplinary care. We look forward to making this a reality. Our aim is that no matter where you live, you have access to a multidisciplinary team approach,” explained Lara Bloom, President, and CEO for The Ehlers-Danlos Society.

Building a bridge between hope and reality

“We set a goal to learn about how multidisciplinary clinics work around the world, to enable us to use the gathered information as a guideline for developing the EDS and HSD Centers of Excellence,” described Dr. Clair Francomano, Professor, Medical and Molecular Genetics, Indiana University School of Medicine. “Although only a small number of multidisciplinary clinics exist for EDS and HSD worldwide, we were fortunate to collect invaluable qualitative data from prominent physicians and clinics in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.” Alongside the in-person clinic services, we will encourage telehealth services, which have proved to be essential during the COVID-19 global pandemic and have shown the opportunity to significantly increase access to care.

“We want to think past bricks and mortar. We know that in each country and region, centers may look different based on the resources and clinical set-up, and we want this framework to function for all,” detailed Lara Bloom.

The Ehlers-Danlos Society’s Centers and Networks of Excellence program will ensure critical standards of care with each center required to meet clinical, research, professional education, and patient care criteria. Geographical, financial, and cultural considerations will advance the highest standards of care to improve the lives of people living with EDS, HSD, and related conditions worldwide.

“We want the goal to be long-term care, for both the physical and the psychological aspects of living with these conditions. Both are essential to ensure that people living with EDS and HSD are offered the best chance at a good quality of life that everyone so richly deserves. We know that is more than diagnosis and tests, it’s the language used, it’s the tone. It’s about someone feeling believed and validated.” said Lara Bloom, President, and CEO, The Ehlers-Danlos Society.

The Ehlers-Danlos Society C.A.R.E. Model 

Care 

Each Center or Network will commit to providing exceptional care to the community through listening, validating and offering care and management options through:

  • Offering multidisciplinary care, either at a Center or as part of a Network.
  • Committing to diagnosing using only the 2017 internationally peer-reviewed criteria, management, and care guidelines.
  • Acknowledging the same commitment for any future updated work that replaces the 2017 guidelines.
  • Facilitating a patient-centered approach, including administration of patient feedback surveys, questionnaires and other care assessments.
  • Addressing the broad spectrum of symptoms and treatment options including comorbidities.

Access

CNEs will provide needed access to EDS and HSD healthcare professionals across geographies, specialties, and referral pathways. Each CNE will be inclusive and work with the Society’s DEI policies to ensure that care reaches underserved communities by:

  • Offering telehealth in all geographies where it is possible.
  • Occupying physical spaces with disability access and the ability to offer adaptations when needed.
  • Engaging in collaborative resource sharing and networking to improve patients’ access to care.

Research 

Contribution to EDS and HSD research is fundamental to the CNE program mission. CNEs will contribute to research generation and dissemination of research findings in partnership with the Ehlers-Danlos Society and other collaborators through:

  • Enabling processes for each patient to engage in research activities.
  • Opportunity to sign up to the DICE Global Registry.
  • Assessing patient interest in future study or survey participation.
  • Conducting research where possible, whether clinical trial or investigator-initiated.
  • Showing a commitment to contribute to published collaborative research in peer-reviewed journals or equivalent processes.

Education 

CNEs will demonstrate an ongoing commitment to continuing education through EDS ECHO, and will also integrate educational approaches into Center or Network operations by:

  • Attending the annual CNE meeting to teach and learn.
  • A demonstrated commitment to community education.
  • Multidisciplinary case discussions and a commitment to clinical training.
  • Where possible, providing training opportunities for students and healthcare professionals.

Application Schedule 

January -April: Applications open
April -June: Applications reviewed by Committee
July: Decisions sent to applicants
July– October: Applications open
October-December: Applications reviewed by Committee
December: Decisions sent to applicants 

When will the Centers & Networks open? Are any currently operating?

More information will be available after our launch at The Ehlers-Danlos Society International Scientific Symposium in Rome September, 2022 about how to apply to join the program. The initial Centers and networks in the first phases of the program will be announced in January 2023. 

What is a Center?

Centers of Excellence are physical locations, usually housed within one organization such as a hospital, university, or clinic. Multidisciplinary and Specialty Centers of Excellence provide direct patient care in their respective areas, and are staffed by experts in EDS, HSD and/or their comorbidities. Research Centers of Excellence do not provide clinical care, but do conduct research specific to the EDS/HSD community.  

What is a Network?

Networks of Excellence are composed of two or more collaborating organizations that refer between each other and may share resources. Since they may operate in more than one physical space, Networks of Excellence usually share a geographical area or telehealth infrastructure. Multidisciplinary and Specialty Networks of Excellence provide direct patient care in their respective areas. Research Networks of Excellence do not provide clinical care, but do conduct research specific to the EDS/HSD community.

What are the benefits of becoming a Center or Network?

The Centers & Networks of Excellence Program offers a variety of benefits, including:

  • International recognition of expertise in EDS/HSD
  • Mentoring and programmatic support
  • Opportunities for multi-site collaborative research
  • Access to the latest educational material for patients
  • Networking and referral pathways
  • EDS ECHO programming designed exclusively for Centers & Networks of Excellence

What are the criteria to join?

To be designated as a Center or Network of Excellence, applicants must meet minimum and supplementary criteria. We will be announcing the criteria soon.

Can anyone apply?

Yes, all groups who meet the criteria are welcome to apply. 

Can I apply at any time?

There will be two application cycles each year:

January -April: Applications open
April -June: Applications reviewed by Committee
July: Decisions sent to applicants
July– October: Applications open
October-December: Applications reviewed by Committee
December: Decisions sent to applicants 

How do I apply?

We are not currently accepting applications, but application materials will be available shortly before the start of the next application cycle. In the meantime, we encourage you to review the criteria and register your interest using the link below.

Follow this link to access the CNE Interest Form. 

What is the difference between Centers & Networks? Can I participate in more than one?

One organization may not use the same staff to be a center AND a network, but centers and networks in similar geographical areas may choose to collaborate and/or establish referral pathways.  

What languages are currently supported?

Applications should be submitted in English where possible, but will be accepted in any language.

Note: At present, the CNE EDS ECHO program is only available in English. Translation and/or other language offerings may be available in the future.  

Can any country apply?

There are currently no restrictions on what countries may apply. Each group, regardless of country, will need to meet the criteria. 

Is funding available?

Although funding is not available at this time, there are stipends for one delegate per group to attend the CNE Annual Conference.

Who reviews applications?

All applications that meet the criteria are reviewed carefully by a committee of experts in EDS and HSD, comorbidities, and community members.

How long is designation as a Center or Network valid?

Designation lasts for one year. To retain designation, Centers or Networks will participate in a review process.

More information about designation and re-designation will be available in the application packet sent out prior to the application cycle opening.  

When will I hear about my application?

All applicants will receive confirmation of their application submission. After the application cycle closes, the committee will review and reach a decision. Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision to accept or decline in July (cycle 1) or December (cycle 2).  

My question wasn’t covered here. Who do I contact?

Please email CNE@ehlers-danlos.com for additional questions. You can also check our webpage for program information and updates.

For more information about becoming a Center or Network of Excellence please register your interest below.

To support this program, please click the button below or contact cne@ehlers-danlos.com

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