Key arthritis legislation could positively impact nation's most common cause of disability

On Wednesday, September 19, the American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Foundation will jointly brief members of Congress and their staffs about the devastating effects of arthritis and related rheumatic diseases.

During the briefing, both organizations will request Congressional support of the “Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act of 2007” (S.626/H.R. 1283).

The briefing will highlight the benefits of the legislation, including better coordination and communication of outreach and research programs and increased focus on access to care.

The “Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act of 2007,” introduced by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-Mo.); Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Charles “Chip” Pickering (R-Miss.), focuses on five key points:

  • Enhancing the CDC's public health activities related to arthritis through the full implementation of the National Arthritis Action Plan
  • Expansion intensification and coordination of activities of the National Institutes of Health with respect to research on arthritis
  • Expansion, intensification and innovation of research and public health activities related to juvenile arthritis
  • Investment in tomorrow's pediatric rheumatologists
  • General accounting office study of arthritis and the workplace

Going beyond current legislation, the program will take a look at rheumatic diseases by offering a glimpse into the lives of patients living with them and the practices of physicians treating those patients.

Neal S. Birnbaum, MD, president of the American College of Rheumatology and John H. Klippel, MD, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation agree that, “Comprehensive legislation such as the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act is unprecedented, and it is vital our leaders demonstrate their commitment to helping people suffering from arthritis and other rheumatic diseases by supporting the Act.”

“Our elected officials have the power to offer new hope to the millions of Americans and families living with arthritis. It is imperative we work together to learn more about its causes, develop innovative treatment options and eventually find a cure,” says Dr. Klippel.

Several advocates will address members of congress during the briefing:

  • Emily Smith, pediatric patient (Burke, VA)
  • Brenda Crabbs, arthritis patient (Easton, MD)
  • Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post, parent of pediatric patient (Washington, D.C.)
  • Christy Sandborg, MD, ACR board of directors (Stanford, CA)
  • Joseph Flood, MD, ACR chairman, Government Affairs Committee (Columbus, OH)
    “By urging policy makers to support this Act, we are asking them to make decisions that will positively impact the lives of these patients, including those of the children who suffer the daily pain and frustration that accompanies arthritis and other rheumatic diseases,” says Dr. Birnbaum of the importance of lobbying for the support of the Act.

To join the effort, those whose lives have been affected by arthritis or other rheumatic diseases are asked to encourage Congress to pass the “Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act of 2007” by visiting either or

The ACR is an organization of and for physicians, health professionals, and scientists that advances rheumatology through programs of education, research, advocacy and practice support that foster excellence in the care of people with or at risk for arthritis and rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.

The American College of Rheumatology, founded in 1934, is the largest professional organization of physicians, scientists, and health professionals devoted to the study and treatment of the rheumatic diseases. ACR members maintain a strong commitment to research and education, advancing the understanding of the rheumatic diseases, and discovering new therapies to treat these diseases.

The Arthritis Foundation is the leading health organization addressing the needs of some 46 million Americans living with arthritis, the nation's most common cause of disability. Founded in 1948, with headquarters in Atlanta, the Arthritis Foundation has 46 chapters and 150 community service points located throughout the country.

The Arthritis Foundation is the largest private, not-for-profit contributor to arthritis research in the world, funding more than $393 million in research grants since 1948. The foundation helps individuals take control of arthritis by providing public health education; pursuing public policy and legislation; and conducting evidence-based programs to improve the quality of life for those living with arthritis. Information is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-568-4045 or


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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