Steering Committee Leadership


Thomas Trojian, MD, CAQSM, FACSM

Chair, OAAA Steering Committee
Representative of the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine (AMSSM)

Dr. Trojian is a sports medicine physician practicing in Philadelphia. He is board certified in sports medicine and family medicine, with a special interest in injury prevention (especially anterior cruciate ligament injuries), sports ultrasound use in the guided treatment of injuries and concussion prevention. Dr. Trojian has served as team physician for men’s and women’s collegiate team sports and is currently the lead physician for Drexel Athletics. He has also provided athletic team coverage for high school and professional level sports teams. He is a devoted educator, currently as a faculty member in the Dept. of Family, Community & Preventive Medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine, and director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship program.

Dr. Trojian has extensive experience providing guidance on rule changes and state legislation on injury prevention. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine (AMSSM). His experience as a practicing sports medicine physician and educator and as representative of the AMSSM were assets in his role as the OAAA Injury Prevention work group chair where he has led efforts to develop effective injury prevention strategies to prevent the onset of OA, including educational brochures of injury prevention strategies for professional and lay public audiences. He is currently leading an effort to develop a lower extremity injury prevention resource library and best practices guide for young athletes. Dr. Trojian is extremely well positioned to lead the OAAA Steering Committee.

Laura L. Payne, PhD

Vice Chair, OAAA Steering Committee
Representative of the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA)

Laura Payne is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Her work emphasizes ways people with chronic disease use valued leisure activities to enhance health and well-being, and how chronic disease impacts peoples’ engagement in leisure. As an Extension Specialist, her goal is to improve the health and well-being of Illinois residents through translational research, education, and training in health (promotion & behavior change) and local park and recreation planning that results in the delivery of quality and sustainable (i.e., financial, operational) community recreation, parks and wellness programs/services. She has developed and directed several statewide translational research and outreach programs such as the Illinois Rural Recreation Development Project (IRRDP), Illinois Senior Wellness Initiative (ISWI), and Take Charge of Your Health: Live Well Be Well.

Dr. Payne has been involved with the OAAA as a representative of the National Recreation and Park Association. She is the former Physical Activity Work Group Chair and was directly involved with the development of the 2011 report Environmental and Policy Strategies to Increase Physical Activity Among Adults with Arthritis. She has remained active in OAAA efforts as a member of the physical activity working group and reviewer for the small grants program. Dr. Payne looks forward to continuing her involvement as a leader of the OAAA Steering Committee.

Steering Committee Members

Mari Brick, MA

Chair, Policy & Advocacy Working Group
Representative of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD)

Mari Brick is a public health consultant for the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD). She also serves as Associate Director of the Quality and Technical Assistance Center-NY at the University of Albany. She earned her BA in Social Work from Siena College and her MA in Social Policy from Empire State College. Her experience is in program implementation, training, and program fidelity measures for evidence-based programs. She is a Certifying T-Trainer in several of the Stanford Self-Management Programs.

Mari serves on the steering committee of the Chronic Osteoarthritis Management Initiative (COAMI) and has contributed her expertise to the OAAA as a member of the Physical Activity working group and as a reviewer for the Small Grants Program. Mari will work with our member organizations to advance the mission of the OAAA and to educate our policymakers about OA as Chair of the Policy & Advocacy Working Group (Group 1).

Dina Jones, PhD, PT

Chair, Community Engagement Working Group

Dr. Jones is a physical therapist and a chronic disease epidemiologist with post-doctoral fellowship training in rheumatology.  All of her education and training were conducted at the University of Pittsburgh.  Dr. Jones is currently a Professor at West Virginia University with appointments in the Department of Orthopaedics, Division of Physical Therapy, and the Injury Control Research Center.

Dr. Jones’ research focuses on implementing and evaluating large-scale, evidence-based community-delivered physical activity, fall-prevention, and self-management interventions in older adults in rural West Virginia.  She has conducted two, large-scale exercise interventions that reached over 500 older adults in 14 counties in West Virginia.  Her research has been supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Arthritis Foundation, the Foundation for Physical Therapy, the American College of Rheumatology, and the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health.  Dr. Jones serves on several national committees including the American College of Rheumatology Research Committee and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals’ Research Subcommittee. She has been actively involved in the OAAA as the leader of the Community Engagement Working Group (Group 2).


Amanda Nelson, MD, MSCR, RhMSUS

Chair, Healthcare Systems & Provider Mobilization Working Group
Representative of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the North Carolina Rheumatology Association (NCRA)

Dr. Nelson is an Assistant Professor in the UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center. As a rheumatologist, she maintains clinical practice and research interests. Her early academic pursuit of Studio Art (in which she earned a BA with Distinction) has allowed her to excel in the field of rheumatology with special interest in the use of radiologic imaging and ultrasound to identify risk factors for OA and direct causes of musculoskeletal symptoms by studying bone shape and hip joint function. She understands both the challenges and best strategies for managing OA from her experience working directly with patients in clinical care and in research.

Dr. Nelson represents the American College of Rheumatology and the North Carolina Rheumatology Associates. She has previously served as the Chair of the OAAA Weight Management Work Group and is interested in aligning her experience and expertise with  the Healthcare Systems & Provider Mobilization Working Group (Group 3) efforts to impact clinical care for OA.


Mike Pursel, RPh, MBA, CHP

Vice Chair, Healthcare Systems & Provider Mobilization Working Group
Representative of Sanofi Biosurgery

Mr. Pursel is Director, Field Medical and Advocacy Relations in the Medical Affairs division of Sanofi Biosurgery US.

As a Vice Chair of the OAAA Healthcare Systems & Provider Mobilization Working Group (Group 3), Mr. Pursel will expand the group’s reach to pharmacies as an avenue for impacting healthcare systems and multidisciplinary models of care.


Daniel Pinto, PT, PhD

Chair, Individual Engagement and Education Working Group
Representative of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Dept. of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences

Dr. Pinto, PT, PhD joined Northwestern University in 2010 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine. He currently holds a second appointment in the Center for Healthcare Studies, Institute for Public Health and Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine and is a member of the Health Economics Program. He completed his PhD training at the University of Otago, New Zealand with a focus on health services research and health economics in the field of rehabilitation. He is a recipient of the Northwestern University-Patient-centered Intervention and Engagement Training (NU-PATIENT) K12 grant using discrete choice experiments to quantify preferences for physical activity in individuals with knee pain. Dr. Pinto serves as an editorial board member for Physiotherapy Practice and Research and serves on the International Editorial Review Board for the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. He is a board certified specialist in orthopedic physical therapy and is Residency and Fellowship trained in orthopedic physical therapy and manual physical therapy respectively.

In his role as Chair of the Individual Engagement and Education Work Group (Group 4), Dr. Pinto is well positioned to identify and implement communication strategies to educate individuals about ways in which to manage OA as well as engaging individuals with resources and opportunities provided by the OA Action Alliance.


Penney Cowan

Vice Chair, Individual Engagement and Education Working Group
Representative of the American Chronic Pain Association

Penney Cowan is the founder and executive director of the American Chronic Pain Association.  Over the past 35 years, Ms. Cowan has been an outspoken advocate and consumer representative for pain issues, contributed to numerous books, videos and Websites, and consulted on the development of several pain management programs.  Ms. Cowan is a recognized speaker advocating a multi-disciplinary approach to pain management.

Previously, she served as Consumer Representative for the FDA/CDER Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee (AADPAC); Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRCC) of the National Institute of Health; and Co-chair of the National Pain Strategies Public Education and Communication Working Group, part of the IPRCC. Most recently she was elected as a Board Member of the International Alliance of Patient Organizations. Ms. Cowan is the author of Patient or Person, Living with Chronic Pain. She has also written all manuals and materials used by the American Chronic Pain Association. She successfully established September as Pain Awareness Month in 2002 with her Partners for Understanding Pain campaign, which raised awareness about the need to better understand, assess, and treat pain. More than 80 partner organizations joined the campaign.

Ms. Cowan has been an advocate and consumer representative for pain issues and received numerous awards from organizations, such as the Institute for Public Service, American Pain Society, and American Academy of Pain Medicine. She served on the Steering Committee of Osteoarthritis Alliance and co-chair of Self-Management Working Group, 2010 to 2012. We welcome her ongoing commitment to the OAAA as Co-Chair of the Individual Engagement and Education Work Group (Group 4).

Jeffrey B. Driban, PhD, ATC, CSCS

Chair, OA Prevention Working Group
Representative of the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) and the Athletic Trainers’ OA Consortium (ATOAC)

Dr. Driban is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Rheumatology at Tufts University School of Medicine and a member of the Special and Scientific Staff at Tufts Medical Center. The goal of his research is to explore novel biochemical and imaging markers to gain a better understanding of osteoarthritis and potential disease phenotypes.

Dr. Driban received his Bachelors of Science in Athletic Training from the University of Delaware. He received a Masters of Education and Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology with an Emphasis in Athletic Training from Temple University. In January 2010, he began a post-doctoral research fellowship in the Division of Rheumatology at Tufts Medical Center where he continued his osteoarthritis focus and learned new magnetic resonance imaging assessment strategies. Dr. Driban also aims to raise awareness about osteoarthritis and promote primary and secondary prevention strategies for physically active individuals as the Chair of the Executive Committee for the Athletic Trainers’ Osteoarthritis Consortium and by serving as the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s representative in the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance.

Most recently, Dr. Driban has contributed his expertise to the OAAA Injury Prevention Working Group and its task group effort to develop a lower extremity injury prevention resource library and best practices guide. Dr. Driban looks to continue these efforts and explore new avenues to prevent OA on the OA Prevention Working Group (Group 5).

Stephen P. Messier, PhD

Vice Chair, OA Prevention Working Group
Representative of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI)

Steve Messier has been at Wake Forest University for 34 years. He is the Director of the J.B. Snow Biomechanics Laboratory and continues to teach undergraduate biomechanics and human gross anatomy as well as graduate biomechanics.

Steve has 26 years of clinical research trial experience concerning osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee; his team of clinicians and researchers are recognized for their research regarding the effects of weight loss and exercise upon knee OA pain, functionality, strength and gait. As a representative from the Osteoarthritis Research Society International, Steve is an excellent addition to the OA Prevention Working Group (Group 5) to explore efforts to prevent OA through weight management strategies.

Steve and his wife Vicky have 4 children between the ages of 30 and 35 years and 3 grandchildren. His passions are his family, his work, running, and the Boston Red Sox.

In addition to the leadership roles highlighted above, our Steering Committee also includes Honorary Co-Chairs.