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This year we focused on expanding our education, awareness and resource library with a particular focus on healthcare providers. We have a lot of exciting projects in the works for 2020 that we can’t wait to share with you soon. While we focus on raising awareness and education about OA, we also actively promote our member organization’s causes. As we close out the year and settle into holiday tidings, we want to reflect on all we have accomplished this year.

In the beginning of the year, through a partnership with the Arthritis Foundation, we began offering a way for you to participate in the Self-Directed Walk With Ease (WWE) program at your own pace. This program is proven to reduce the pain of arthritis and can help you safely make physical activity part of your everyday life. Even if you haven’t been formally diagnosed with arthritis, WWE is a great way to learn how to incorporate walking into your life in a safe, comfortable, and effective way.

Thus far, we have reached people in over 50 states with nearly 2,000 people participating in the program. Learn more about the WWE Self-Directed program and portal at

New Tools for Healthcare Practitioners

Primary Care Toolkit- OA Care Tools

In partnership with USBJI, a stakeholder advisory panel, and other field experts, the OAAA developed the Osteoarthritis Prevention and Management in Primary Care Toolkit, a free online resource. Included is educational information for all healthcare providers to expand their knowledge of OA as well as patient-facing handouts and resources that can help empower patients to engage in self-management strategies to complement clinical care.

The toolkit is designed for family physicians, internists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical and occupational therapists, sports medicine professionals, athletic trainers, fitness professionals and other care providers who play a critical role in detecting OA early and establishing management and prevention strategies with patients that may delay pain and stiffness and retain mobility and function.

You can help us share and spread the word about this toolkit using our Media Kit and #OACareTools on social media.

OA Tools for Pharmacists and Patients

As a healthcare provider, pharmacists are perfectly poised to guide patients with arthritis or joint pain symptoms to various forms of treatment and management. Pharmacists are in an ideal position to screen patients for OA, serve as an educator and coach regarding prevention strategies, counsel patients on the safe and effective treatment options available, and triage when necessary.

We recently developed a new toolkit and CPE (continuing pharmacy education) for pharmacists along with patient friendly resources. The information conveyed in this toolkit and the self-study CPE course will give a pharmacist ideas and guidance on how to have a more active role in the detection, prevention, and treatment of OA. Check out our resources and share them with pharmacists and patients!
Endorsed by North Carolina Association of Pharmacists.     

USA Today Feature: Arthritis is Prevalent in the Military

Our very own Celena Adams shares her story about her time in service to America and how it affected her health and career. The military gave her a lot: a career, an education and a sense of duty. But it also gave her arthritis, a disease that inflames joint tissues and makes it hard to move muscles. Now, Celena is on staff with the OAAA, working to raise awareness about osteoarthritis.
Read the full story here.

A National Public Health Agenda for OA-
An Update for 2020

The 2010 National Public Health Agenda for OA or the OA Agenda, provided a blueprint of action for us and other organizations on local, state and national level.  We are currently developing the 2020 OA Agenda which will reflect progress to date and lead us on a path for the next 5-10 years. We are grateful to our partners at the Arthritis Foundation and CDC, along with our many stakeholders, for their involvement.To celebrate our success and the 10 year anniversary of the OA Agenda, we took a look back at some highlights of our progress to date in addressing the OA Agenda recommendations; successes and challenges in delivery of effective communication, programs, and resources; and future implications.

Read the full article in Clinical & Experimental Rheumatology

Exercising To Ease Pain: Taking Brisk Walks Can Help”

OAAA Program Manager, Kirsten Ambrose, and friend of the OAAA Emma Dehne, along with other experts, were featured on NPR’s Morning Edition in early September. The piece was focused on how physical activity can help release naturally occurring pain-reducing chemicals, as well as activate pain-reducing mechanisms within the body.

You can hear the segment and read the transcript here:

Full story is available here:


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. Our workgroups helped us to develop new toolkits, resources, white papers, continuing education courses and more highlighted throughout this newsletter. We also formed new interest groups like our initiative on worksite wellness.  Most recently, the weight management task group completed a review on “Exercise prescription for management of weight and osteoarthritis in young and middle-aged adults: synthesis from a systematic review” that will soon be published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders.

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 27, 2019.

On a beautiful day in Chapel Hill, NC, our Steering Committee, Workgroup members, Members-At-Large, and OAAA staff gathered to discuss new strategic initiatives, partnerships, and opportunities for growth.

Conferences and Presentations

We presented and participated at several professional, educational and policy meetings. We attend these meetings to share our resources, develop new partnerships and learn from others.

Walk With Ease Expansion Grants

We launched a hub model in which OAAA interfaces with one organization in a region and that organization manages its local offices to deliver WWE.  We have created a two-year hub contract with Elder Services of Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts; and additional hub contracts with the NC Center for Health and Wellness at UNC Asheville and South Dakota State University, and the Missouri Arthritis and Osteoporosis Program–Southwest Regional Arthritis Center at Mercy Health System. Learn more about implementing WWE in your community and other evidence-based programs in our resource library.

Our mini-grantee South Dakota State University Extension was featured on KELOLAND Living where they shared information about arthritis and Walk with Ease. They also discuss being physically active in rural communities and in winter weather. Watch:

Monthly Member Spotlights

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

January: Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) 
February: Bioventus
March: America Walks
April: North Carolina Center for Health and Wellness at UNC Asheville (NCCHW)
May: American Academy of PAs (AAPA)
June: American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)
July: American Society for Nutrition (ASN)
August: Sarah Shultz, PhD, ATC
October: The Cleveland Clinic
November: The Alliance for Balanced Pain Management (AfBPM)

Thank you!

Thanks to our hardworking workgroup members who helped us move forward and accomplish so much in 2019. 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.

Welcome new members!
Bioventus LLC
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare
Samumed, LLC
Afya (Health)International
UAMS West Central Center on Aging
American Pharmacists Association
CyMedica Orthopedics

Connect and Share

New Resource to Help People Living with Arthritis – OA Action Blog

Even though living with arthritis can be painful and challenging, there are many ways people can manage their arthritis symptoms. Learning tips and self-management strategies such as physical activity, movement, weight management, and self-management education can help people with OA live an active, fulfilling life. The OA Action Alliance works hard to ensure that people with arthritis have the access, skills, and capacity to benefit from effective and proven interventions that help manage symptoms and slow disease progression. We recently added a blog on our website to provide useful information, resources, and tools for people with OA.

Read our latest blog posts – Weight and Joint PainMyths About OsteoarthritisThe Secret to Staying Active, and more.

Many of our partner organizations like the Arthritis Foundation, the American Chronic Pain Association, and Creaky Joints also have resources and tips for people with arthritis or chronic pain. We hope you will check out all of these resources and share them widely.

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 #StandUp2OA

StandUp2OA Facebook Group 

We started our StandUp2OA Facebook group for adults with osteoarthritis, advocates and caregivers to seek support and learn more about OA. Our community has grown to almost 400 members! members. Check out the group page here.

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.

Coming Up in January….

  • Launch of our new injury prevention toolkit –  Remain in the Game: A Joint Effort
  • Weight management webinar: “Exercise prescription for osteoarthritis and weight management” CME activity (AMA PRA Category 1 Credit)

Later in the Year….

  • National Osteoarthritis Public Health Agenda Update for 2020
  • An updated Walk With Arthritis portal experience

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