Running a support group is no easy task.

People with rheumatic diseases around the world count on support groups for education about their disease and emotional support. In scleroderma, many support group leaders feel overburdened or lack the training and resources to lead their groups effectively. To support these leaders and encourage new leaders to form their own support groups, SPIN has partnered with scleroderma support group leaders to create the SPIN-SSLED Program. This 13-week training program provides leaders with information and resources to help them feel more comfortable, confident and supported in their roles, and contribute to a more positive support group experience.



 Support Group Leader Testimonials


About the SPIN-SSLED Program

  • ​13 weekly sessions of 60-90 minutes led by a trained instructor

  • Each week tackles one aspect of leading a support group, including structuring a group meetingrecruiting new members, fostering a positive group culturesupporting yourself as a leader, and many other topics

  • Participants can attend the online videoconference sessions from the comfort of their own homes

  • Supplementary resources include:

1. A workbook that summarizes all modules.
2. An online forum where participants can discuss what they’ve learned with other participants.
3. An online Resource Centre with educational videos and support group activity ideas.

  • At the end of 13 weeks, participants receive a certificate attesting that they have successfully completed the program

SPIN SSLED Sample Certificate


Are you interested in trying the SPIN-SSLED Program?

SPIN researchers are continuing to provide the SPIN-SSLED Program training in partnership with patient organizations.

You may be eligible to join our trial if you:
1. Are a leader of a scleroderma support group or are working with/would like to work with a participating patient organization to start a support group.
2. Are at least 18 years old.
3. Have regular access to a computer and Internet connection.


If you fulfill the criteria above and are interested in trying the SPIN-SSLED Program, please contact your patient organization.

Virtual Support Group Central Database

One of the goals of the SPIN-SSLED Program is training new or current support group leaders to run virtual support groups accessible to patients from different geographical locations, especially where no in-person support group exists. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, virtual support groups are great tools to help receive emotional support and connect with other individuals living with scleroderma. Please see a list of available virtual scleroderma support groups run by SPIN-SSLED graduates below. The table will be updated periodically. If you are interested in joining one of the virtual support groups listed below, please contact the responsible person for more information. 


The SPIN-SSLED program has been funded by the Scleroderma Society of Ontario, the Canadian Institute for Outcomes in Rheumatology Care, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

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