Steering Committee Leadership

Laura L. Payne, PhD

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.

Jeffrey B. Driban, PhD, ATC, CSCS

Vice Chair, OAAA Steering Committee
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).

Steering Committee Members

Cheryl Der Ananian, PhD, MS

Chair, Community Engagement Working Group
Representative of Arizona State University


Dr. Der Ananian is an Associate Professor in the Exercise Science and Health Promotion Program in the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University. She completed her post-doctoral fellowship training at the University of Illinois through the Gerontological Public Health Training Program. She received her PhD from University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health.

Dr. Der Ananian primary research interests involve the promotion of physical activity for older adults with an emphasis on utilizing physical activity as a secondary prevention strategy for chronic illnesses including arthritis and heart disease. Much of her research focuses on community-based physical activity interventions for older adults. She also does research in the area of translation and dissemination of evidence-based physical activity programs.

She has recently taken on the new role in the OAAA as the leader of the Community Engagement Working Group (Group 2).


Mike Pursel, RPh, MBA, CHP

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).


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.