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 the University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health.

Dr. Der Ananian’s 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 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.

M. Elaine Husni, MD, MPH

Vice Chair, Healthcare Systems & Provider Mobilization Working Group

Representative of Cleveland Clinic

Dr. Husni is Vice Chair of Rheumatic and Immunologic Diseases and Director of the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Center within the Orthopedic and Rheumatologic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Husni is also an Assistant Professor at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Husni’s research interests include examining health outcomes of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and osteoarthritis, specifically in the area of comorbidities. She leads the Cardiometabolic Outcome Measures in Psoriatic Arthritis Study (COMPASS), a longitudinal biobank and observation cohort comparing psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis with a focus on cardiovascular health. 

She is involved in numerous clinical trials and served on the Executive Committee of the PRECISION trial which examined the cardiovascular risk of 3 commonly used NSAIDs in more than 23,000 patients with OA and RA. She is currently Director of Musculoskeletal Outcomes research and the fellow’s research committee for the Rheumatology Department. She is on the medical and scientific committee for the Arthritis Foundation of the Northeastern Ohio Chapter. She is also on the board of directors for the National Psoriasis Foundation. We welcome her expertise as Vice Chair of OAAA Healthcare Systems & Provider Mobilization Working Group.


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).


Members-At-Large serve as field experts or community representatives with full voting privileges and participate in activities identified or delegated by the Steering Committee.


Troy Ross

President and CEO of Mid-America Healthcare Coalition

Troy Ross is a veteran sales and marketing executive with a significant track record of building and aligning teams to achieve dramatic bottom-line results. He is experienced at building consensus and inspiring mutually beneficial action among multiple diverse healthcare stakeholders, including employers, hospitals, health plans, physicians and medical groups, universities, public health, governmental units and pharmaceutical companies. Troy’s broad, 20+ year career in pharmaceutical sales and marketing spans product launch and lifecycle management, enterprise strategy development and execution. As the OAAA seeks to build connections with large employers in the business and industry sector, Troy’s extensive experience and industry insight will enable us to expand our reach and impact through a broad network and to explore avenues to impact health and wellness policies and practices among employers.


Tina Thornhill, PharmD, FASCP, BCGP

Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Professional Education in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at Campbell University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences

Tina Thornhill worked as a clinical pharmacy specialist in geriatrics for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center before joining the faculty at Campbell University in 1996. She served as a pharmacy preceptor in geriatric medicine for over 19 years at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center where she spent 12 years as the clinical pharmacist for the Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation and Acquired Brain Injury Units. She teaches in the areas of geriatrics, neurology, and rheumatology to pharmacy, nurse practitioner, and physician assistant students. Tina brings a keen understanding of providers who are on the front lines of arthritis care and management including their needs and interests in arthritis education and their ability to educate patients. As we explore opportunities to reach and educate health professionals, Tina’s knowledge and experience as a clinical pharmacist and educator will be extremely beneficial.


Michael McBrayer

Senior Vice President of Global Business and Professional Relations for DJO Global

Michael McBrayer joined DJO Global in 1986 where he began as the manager for the athletic division before evolving through DJO’s sales force to his current role as a company leader. Among many notable accomplishments, Michael developed the first ACL knee brace without undergarment, the first postoperative shoulder brace, and the first custom knee brace without a cast mold. In his community, Michael has served as a member of the San Diego Arthritis Board and as Chairman of the Tri-City Hospital Corporate Council. Michael has long participated as a Member-at-Large for the OAAA lending insight and expertise to the Alliance in expanding its membership and actively contributing to strategic planning and development. We are grateful for Michael’s prior contributions and look forward to his ongoing involvement.


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