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This was a big year for the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance. We launched our StandUp2OA campaign, expanded the dissemination (or delivery) of Walk With Ease to organizations in 19 states, revamped our website to be more user-friendly and more!  We have a lot of exciting projects in the works for 2019 that we can’t wait to share with you soon. As we close out the year and settle into holiday tidings, we want to reflect on all we have accomplished this year.

The StandUp2OA campaign raises awareness about osteoarthritis (OA) prevention by promoting the proven strategies of weight management and injury prevention. The campaign includes shareable messages, resources, and action steps for people to increase their own and others’ awareness about the major impact of OA on individuals and the nation as a whole, and why this matters, and also encourages people to share how they #StandUp2OAConferences

Wall Street Journal 

In April, The Wall Street Journal featured the article “Many in Middle Age Have Arthritis—They Just Don’t Know It” and cited our StandUp2OA campaign. “People worry that exercise is going to exacerbate their arthritis, when it’s exactly the opposite,” says Dr. Leigh Callahan. This article also quotes OAAA Medical Adviser, Dr. Amanda Nelson, and Honorary Co-Chair, Dianne Rosenbluth.

New Tools for Healthcare Practitioners

We have received special funding to develop two new tools for healthcare providers. One project funded from National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) will provide tools and resources to educate pharmacists about OA and how they can counsel patients. The second project, grant funded from Pfizer, will be a healthcare provider education and a resource toolkit.

If you want to contribute to these projects or help to develop another, contact us to join a working group.

Conferences and Presentations

We were proud to present at this year’s Aging in America Conference hosted by the American Society on Aging on March 26-29th in San Francisco, CA. We shared the hard work of our fellow CDC grantees in promoting widespread implementation and
long-term sustainability of arthritis-appropriate, evidence-based interventions like Walk With Ease and Enhance Fitness. Heather Hodge, Y-USA; Lesha Spencer-Brown, NRPA; Mary Altpeter, OAAA; Mari Brick, NACDD.


Other presentations made about implementing arthritis-appropriate evidence-based interventions included: 

  • National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) 2018 Building Momentum: The Future of Aging Well
  • Healthy Aging NC Eastern Region Meeting: Connecting great resources in the state
  • OAAA Director, Dr. Leigh Callahan, presented at CDC providing an overview and updates of the Alliance.

Did you catch us in attendance at these conferences in addition to our presentations?

  • Obesity Action Coalition’s Your Weight Matters National Convention
  • American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ACR/ARHP)
  • Movement is Life Caucus
  • Osteoarthritis Research Society International  (OARSI)

Blog Feature with NCOA!

In July, Dr. Mary Altpeter, OAAA Program Manager for Walk With Ease (WWE), published a blog article on the NCOA website entitled “How Walking Can Ease Arthritis Symptoms.” This article talks about the benefits of the WWE program and how to teach people to be physically active. Check out the blog post here.

NATA Statement on OA

The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) released position statement on the important role athletic trainers have in preventing and treating osteoarthritis. The statement was co-authored by members of the OAAA Injury Prevention task group. Read more!

NATA also added a Chronic Injury page to their educational Health Topics web pages and includes resources from the OAAA Injury Prevention task group.

Special thanks to the American Council on Exercise (ACE) for helping us develop this infographic on benefits and barriers to physical activity for adults with arthritis. Learn how you can promote environmental and policy strategies for increasing access to physical activity via our online Physical Activity Implementation Guide.


Walk With Ease Expansion Grants

As our first round of Walk With Ease Expansion Mini-Grantees wrapped up, our second round got started. These organizations will be implementing a variety of strategies to overcome barriers, reach community members with arthritis, and engage them in the Walk with Ease program. Learn more about implementing WWE in your community and other evidence-based programs in our resource library.



This Fall we released a video about the Self-Directed Walk With Ease Program with words of encouragement from past participants and details on where you can go to sign up. More resources to come in 2019 related to Walk With Ease! 














The OAAA’s leadership strength is drawn from a group of nationally and internationally recognized experts in OA, public health, academic research, patient advocacy and more, who serve on the steering committee and workgroups. In January, we elected new Steering Committee and workgroup leaders. We were proud to welcome Laura Payne, representing the National Recreation and Parks Association, and Jeff Driban, representing NATA, as Chair and Vice Chair. Under their leadership, we have grown and expanded in new directions, and 2019 looks to be an exciting year ahead.

We are grateful for the time and effort that all of our new and long-standing Steering Committee members contribute to the OAAA. Their dedication is vital to our collective success in addressing OA across the nation. Learn more about our Steering Committee members.

OAAA Strategic Planning Meeting on September 19, 2018.


Welcome Aboard!





We welcomed 4 new staff members this Fall pictured from top left to bottom right: Celena Adams-Locke, Public Health Associate; Julie Upchurch, Program Assistant; Mounica Boggola, Student Intern; Katie Huffman, Program Assistant. Read more about our new staff on our About Us page.

Congrats to our student intern who won the Preventing Chronic Disease – PCD 2018 Student Research Paper Contest!
Read about her award-winning paper on Camino Con Gusto, an effective walking program created for Latino adults
with arthritis:

You can also listen to Preventing Chronic Disease – PCD Sound Bites podcast that features an interview with Leigha Vilen

Monthly Member Spotlights

Each month we highlight the great work done by one of our 100 member organizations.

January: American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM)
February: National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA)
March: UNC Wellness Centers
April: The American Council on Exercise (ACE)
May: Haywood Regional Medical Center
June: Aberdeen Centre for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Health
July: American Society for Nutrition (ASN)
August: Joint Academy
September: National Alliance for Hispanic Health
October: The Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP)
November: Triangle Multisport
December: American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)

Education and Awareness

While we focus on raising awareness and education for OA, we also actively promote our member organization’s causes.


Thank you! 

Thanks to our hardworking workgroup members who helped us move forward and accomplish so much in 2018. Our workgroup members are all volunteers with expertise in the area of interest of the workgroup and/or represent partnering organizations that focus on the area of interest.

You can read highlights of the workgroups’ activities on our website. 

Connect and Share

New Website 

Our website redesign included new navigation, home page, search bar, and refreshed content. We hope this redesign will enable you to engage with our great information and resources better than ever.

Eat lunch. Learn about OA. 

On the third Wednesday of every month we hold our Lunch and Learn webinar series. Our experts this year covered topics from physical activity, evidence-based programs, health disparities and more! You can view all of our webinars on our YouTube channel.

Are you following us on social media?

We have expanded our social media networks this year to Instagram, Pinterest and a new online health support community, HealthUnlocked.

Be sure to follow us and share our resources with your networks as well!

Coming Up in January….

Big announcement coming in early January!
(Hint: It’s related to Walk WIth Ease!)

Lunch and Learn Webinar with Matthew Smith, PhD, January 16th, 12pm ET. He will be presenting on Chronic Disease Self-Management Programs (CDSMP) in the workplace. Register here

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