Scleroderma Support Group Leader EDucation Program

The SPIN - Scleroderma Support Group Leader EDucation Program Trial (SPIN-SSLED)

Many people living with scleroderma, a rare autoimmune connective tissue disease, attend support groups to help them cope with the disease. Support groups provide a safe environment where people facing a similar challenge can come together to share disease-related experiences and exchange practical and emotional support. This is especially important for rare diseases such as scleroderma as organized support services can be limited. However, many people with scleroderma do not have access to scleroderma support groups, and many support groups that are initiated are not sustained due to a number of obstacles. Leaders of these support groups play a particularly important role. They are responsible for a wide range of tasks including administrative details that go into planning meetings, facilitating effective and meaningful discussions, managing any issues that may arise in group dynamics, balancing their own needs with the needs of the group and many more. The Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network (SPIN) team has worked with patient organizations and an advisory team of scleroderma support group leaders to develop the Support group Leader EDucation (SPIN-SSLED) Program for scleroderma support group leaders with the goals of (1) providing information and resources to leaders to help them feel more comfortable, confident and supported in their roles and (2) to provide people with the skills they need to establish scleroderma support groups where none exist. The SPIN-SSLED Trial will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the SPIN-SSLED Program on scleroderma support group leaders' self-efficacy (primary outcome) in carrying out their leader tasks (which is defined as their perceived ability to carry out actions needed to be successful in support group leadership), burnout and emotional well-being.

No pharmaceutical medication involved
Patients and healthy individuals accepted


The SPIN-SSLED Program is a 3-month-long (13 sessions) group training program designed to be delivered via videoconferencing to provide information and skills to improve leader support group leaders' confidence and self-efficacy to carry out their leadership roles and reduce the burden on them of leading a support group. Each session is about 90 minutes long and covers one of the 13 modules of the program. Module topics includes: (1) The Leader's Role; (2) Starting a Support Group; (3) Structuri more on

The Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network - Scleroderma Support Group Leader EDucation Program Trial (SPIN-SSLED)