When Dr. Marilyn Deutsch, clinical psychologist, met Paula Hannigan, research librarian, within minutes they knew they could complement each other and had a plan to give back to the community. Both have lupus.

Deutsch, who had been instrumental in starting the Lupus Foundation in Northeastern Pennsylvania 25 ago when she was initially diagnosed, had run traditional support groups over the years. However, says Deutsch, although the needs of those affected by lupus are the same, far less people find the time to attend support groups. Yet research has demonstrated educated patients, those with coping skills and those with support, tend to have a better prognosis … hence the group, which focuses on coping skills and education.

This group will be upbeat and not a whining session. Group members will be given homework, and articles to read. Support will come in the form of fun and interesting activities that may or may not relate directly to lupus, but will relate to better functioning.

Hannigan, who has background as a research librarian in a medical setting, will provide articles for patients and once the group gets started will provide opportunities to meet and do things outside of the traditional group. Deutsch, who has been a clinical psychologist with specialty training in disabilities, will focus on coping skills.

"I like to have patients and their families develop a 'coping tool box' so they can use a particular skill when they need it."

The group will meet at 5:30 p.m. the second Monday of each month at the Lupus Foundation of Pennsylvania, Resource Center for Autoimmune Diseases at 615 Jefferson Ave, Scranton, PA 18510. For more information call (570) 558-2008 or 1-888-99-LUPUS.