Rise in arthritis spurs call for more rheumatologists

January 31, 2014

Arthritis Society investments designed to attract next generation of rheumatologists

In a report released today, the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences drew attention to the urgent and growing need for more rheumatologists to meet the needs of the rising number of people with arthritis.

As many as 1 million Canadians will need to see a rheumatologist at some point in their lives – and at present there are fewer than 350 rheumatologists in the country. Further complicating the matter is the fact that many of these specialists are due to retire within the next decade.

Tremendous advances have been made in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in the past 20 years. The introduction of biologics and other treatment options has radically improved quality of life for people living with inflammatory diseases, but those treatments are most effective if the disease is identified early and intervention begins before serious damage to the joints can occur.

“If wait times to see a rheumatologist get longer, more people will be forced to live with unnecessary and debilitating pain, inflammation and irreversible joint damage,” said Janet Yale, president and CEO of The Arthritis Society. “It doesn’t have to be that way.”

The Arthritis Society is working with members of the Canadian arthritis community to invest in the recruitment and development of the next generation of rheumatologists.

“We spend up to $1 million per year providing a wide range of programs such as grants, knowledge transfer projects and young professionals’ workshops,” explained Yale. “Our goal is to attract Canada’s best and brightest medical students to the field of rheumatology, and help ensure that Canadians living with arthritis will continue to be supported by a community of clinicians and researchers that is truly world-class.”

ABOUT THE ARTHRITIS SOCIETY

The Arthritis Society has been setting lives in motion for over 65 years. Dedicated to a vision of living well while creating a future without arthritis, The Society is Canada’s principal health charity providing education, programs and support to the over 4.6 million Canadians living with arthritis. Since its founding in 1948, The Society has been the largest non‐government funder of arthritis research in Canada, investing more than $185 million in projects that have led to breakthroughs in the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with arthritis. The Arthritis Society is accredited under Imagine Canada’s Standards Program. For more information and to make a donation, visit www.arthritis.ca.

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For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Douglas Emerson
National Manager, Communications – The Arthritis Society
tel: 416-979-7228 x3348
cell: 647-706-0440
email: demerson@arthritis.ca