I recently read a letter from the Director of a Charity I support and he noted that a flock of geese flying together can fly 70% faster than a single bird flying alone. He went on to describe the unity of the team he works with and how they accomplish so much. I immediately thought of the OAAA team that I am honored to be flying with and what our staff and volunteers are able to accomplish together.
Students and trainees have always been a valuable part of the OAAA flock and we hope we provide them opportunities for learning and growth. Our intern, Leigha Vilen worked with us for four years and graduated this past May. She evaluated implementation of our early mini grant program for her Senior Honor’s thesis and she won the undergraduate research paper contest for the Preventing Chronic Disease journal. Our summer intern Emma Morris has returned to help us with our education efforts. Through my post-doctoral fellowship mentee, Crystal Mackay, PhD, we have developed strong connections with the Arthritis Society of Canada. It has been almost a year since our CDC PHAP (Public Health Associate), Haley Hudson joined our team. She has become a vital part of our operations contributing to almost every aspect of our work but in particular, our awareness messaging, and data management for the WWE mini grant program. We are hoping another PHAP will join our flock this fall!
In addition to our trainees and amazing staff, we know the success of the OAAA is dependent on the commitment of our member organizations and volunteers. Our comprehensive new StandUp2OA campaign will help us elevate awareness of the impact of OA and what can be done in terms of prevention. I think we have the right team soar high and accomplish our vision.
Thanks to all who are helping us fly with purpose and vision!
Leigh F. Callahan, PhD
Director, Osteoarthritis Action Alliance