Current activities and updates from each Workgroup

Policy & Advocacy

Invoke policymakers at all levels in all sectors (lawmakers, businesses, school officials, community leaders) to make OA a public health priority as reflected in policy decisions and funding allocations 

The primary strategies for the group currently include:
1) Developing a message platform to reach policymakers with focused recommendations and to create a Communication Plan that encompasses targeted advertising, Congressional education visits, media messages, grassroots efforts, and partnership integration;
2) Support federal, state, local and organizational policies that support OAAA goals to improve the nation’s health through evidence-based clinical and community prevention and disease control activities, including reduced joint injury, reduced obesity, improved physical activity and weight management, and expanded access to self-management education.

Workgroup accomplishments:

  • Developed an infographic highlighting the socioeconomic burden of OA in the US and potential policy actions to reduce the burden. Developing a companion table of ongoing and upcoming policy actions among our member organizations. Upon completion, both will be posted on our website and distributed broadly among our members, followers, and legislators as an educational resource for those interested in public policy.
  • Discussed developing a webinar presentation to educate OAAA member organizations on how to engage their local, state and federal legislators to make OA a public health priority
  • Working collaboratively with members of Workgroup 5 on a joint task force to establish national priorities for research on OA prevention and control strategies.

Community Engagement

Foster communities to build capacity to prevent or manage OA by disseminating information and resources about effective community interventions and supporting the implementation of those interventions led by Cheryl Der Ananian (Arizona State University)

The primary strategies for the group currently include:
1) Identify and increase access to effective, evidence-based physical activity and self-management education programs to promote early initiation of lifestyle modifications to reduce pain; such programs could be delivered in a variety of accessible and acceptable formats and settings through community and clinical linkages;
2) Promote physical activity and reduce inactivity among people with OA through implementation strategies outlined in the 2011 report, Environmental and Policy Strategies to Increase Access to Physical Activity for Adults with Arthritis;
3) Expand workplace wellness programs to include evidence-based self-management education and physical activity programs for OA, and greater use of workplace accommodations.

Workgroup accomplishments:

  • The Member Resources task group completed a major renovation and expansion of our online OAAA Resource Library pages with new navigational menus, and links to evidence-based programs, educational information or other relevant physical activity resources from our member organizations.
  • Monitoring progress of grantees from the 2015 Environmental and Policy Strategies to Increase Physical Activity Among Adults with Arthritis Small Grants program
  • Awarded 2016 Environmental and Policy Strategies to Increase Physical Activity Among Adults with Arthritis Small Grants program to Awardees include Arthritis Services of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County (NC), Catholic Charities of St. Cloud (MN), University of South Alabama, and YMCA of Greater Des Moines
  • Awarded 2017 mini-grants to expand Walk with Ease to 13 organizations.
  • Developing 3 white papers on physical activity and OA for publication in 2016-2017 including:
    • a) physical activity as a vital sign;
    • b) the impact of physical activity on arthritis; and
    • c) the economic impact of physical activity on arthritis
  • Completing a Walkability Audit to identify and reach consensus among consumers and health professionals on factors that promote or restrict physical activity in the community for people with arthritis, specifically. The audit will determine whether existing measures are sufficient or whether an arthritis-specific measure should be developed. The manuscript is currently in development.
  • Establishing 2 task forces to explore avenues to impact employee wellness programs and to develop an infographic highlighting the purpose and benefits of using our online Physical Activity Implementation Guide.

Healthcare systems and Provider Mobilization

Mobilize health systems and health care professionals to proactively identify and comprehensively address in their clinical care led by Elaine Husni (Cleveland Clinic)

The primary strategies for the group currently include:
1) Engage primary care as OAAA members (clinics/practice groups, professional organizations) and/or content experts (medical professionals);
2) Encourage partnerships to support programs/foster relations with clinical care providers (Exercise is Medicine, Walk with a Doc);
3) Provide education and training about effective evidence-based interventions and enable clinicians and clinical care systems to refer and support participation in these programs.

Workgroup accomplishments:

  • Working with the Chronic OA Management Initiative (COAMI), to develop a Memorandum of Understanding with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) organization to have OA as an integral part of the Exercise is Medicine® global health initiative.
  • Collaborating with the Walk with a Doc (WWAD) program:
    • Hosting walks in Chapel Hill, NC. Workgroup chair, Amanda Nelson, is the first rheumatologist to host a chapter.
    • Contributed 5 mini-lectures about OA to the Walk with a Doc Walk Topics resource library on the basics of OA, arthritis and walking, myths about OA, public health messages for OA, and falls prevention. We also provided our existing brochure on Weight Gain and Joint Point. Walk with A Doc was extremely excited to receive our lecturettes and designated “Arthritis” as a standalone topic in their Walk Topics library.
    • OAAA is working with a Component 1 CDC-DP16-1606 grantee the National Recreation and Parks Association, in an effort to connect Walk with a Doc and Walk with Ease. The Chapel Hill WWAD chapter will be serving as a pilot site for this initiative.
    • Developed OA Toolkit for Pharmacists with ideas and guidance on how to assume a more active role in the detection, prevention, and treatment of OA.
    • Developed OA Care Tools – a guide for all primary care providers with educational information for primary care 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 OAAA and Walk With a Doc program were featured in the May issue of The Rheumatologist, a journal that goes to all members of the American College of Rheumatology as well as the Chapel Hill Magazine March 2017 issue.

Individual Engagement and Education

Engage individuals with OA, their family/friends, and caregivers with strategies to minimize disease progression and optimize quality of life through effective clinical and self-management strategies led by Daniel Pinto (Feinberg School of Medicine Northwestern University) and Penney Cowan (American Chronic Pain Association)

The primary strategies for the group currently include:
1) Improve access to self-management education through community and clinical linkages to promote early initiation of lifestyle modifications to reduce pain.
2) Ensure that effective evidence-based interventions to improve OA outcomes are available in a variety of community-based settings, and that supportive polices and environments are available to all.
3) Implement existing guidelines and expand existing campaigns to increase physical activity, reduce inactivity among people with OA and promote a culture of good health.

Workgroup accomplishments:

  • Participate in the American College of Rheumatology’s (ACR) inaugural Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month with a strong social media effort including two #RheumChat twitter chats with ACR Simple Tasks on “Living Well with Rheumatic Disease” and “The Importance of Medical Research.”
  • Twitter chats are a great way for us to connect with patients, practitioners, and the media to share our resources and obtain new followers. We have participated in the following chats:
    • 2016: #rheumchat (Jun, Sept, Dec), #ABCDrBchat.
    • 2017: #NPHWchat, #rheumchat (Jan, Feb)
  • Group 4 has begun to plan for health messaging activities defined in the CDC funded Component 1 grant. Group leaders and OAAA staff have explored potential options for pilot testing of messages through member organizations with existing databases of subscribers (American Chronic Pain Association, Arthritis Foundation).

OA Prevention

Prevent the onset of OA in people through effective injury prevention and weight management strategies led by Jeffrey Driban (ATOAC) and Steve Messier (OARSI)

The primary strategies for the group currently include:
1) Establish national priorities for research on OA prevention and control strategies;
2) Promote widespread implementation of activity-specific rules and policies for organized sports, recreation and school athletics to prevent joint injuries that can lead to OA (e.g., neuromuscular condition programs, breakaway bases);
3) Promote dialogue on the connection between weight management and osteoarthritis.

Workgroup accomplishments:

  • Developed an infographic based on our Consensus Opinion for Best Practice Features of Lower Limb Injury Prevention Programs (LLIPP)  illustrating the importance of LLIPP for future OA prevention and current sports injury prevention directed toward youth athletes, coaches, and parent.
  • Established a joint task force with members of Group 1 to push forward key research priorities outlined in the OA Agenda. Developing a statement of need for research funding targeting primary, secondary and tertiary OA prevention; identifying stakeholders to fund and/or administer such grant programs.
  • is currently developing an online and mobile platform lower limb injury toolkit to promote the Consensus Opinion on these core components;
  • Published an article titled “Connecting Osteoarthritis and Obesity” the Obesity Action Coalition’s Your Weight Matters Magazine published in the Summer 2016 issue. The patient advocacy magazine reaches more than 52,000 readers.
  • organized a symposium titled “Osteoarthritis (OA) and Obesity: A key connection” at the 2015 Obesity Society Conference;
  • Accepted as a level 2 partner for Obesity Week 2017