In 2012, the Society undertook a review of all its mission activities with the purpose of increasing reach, impact and relevancy for people with arthritis. Consultations with the community and survey results clearly pointed to one common issue of importance to Canadians with arthritis – pain. This inspired the Society to launch the SHARE THE PAIN initiative which sought to gather the opinions and needs of people with arthritis. The result was overwhelming. 40,000 visitors came to the site and shared 1,600 personal stories regarding their journey with arthritis. Analysis of these stories confirmed for The Society that the pain of arthritis is a major issue for Canadians and more must be done.
In response, the Society launched the ERASE THE PAIN
initiative: a major 5-year fund raising campaign designed to address the common needs of people living with arthritis. The campaign has identified an aggressive target of $25 Million to be raised to support this initiative under the banner Cure
Cure($10 Million target):
- Cracking the Code - support research focused on alleviating the pain of arthritis.
- The Off Switch - support research aimed at discovering the causes and cure for arthritis.
Care($10 Million target):
- 5,000 in Five - boost the number of health professionals trained to deal with arthritis on the front lines of care by at least 5,000 over the next five years.
- Closing the Gap - increase the number of rheumatologists to deliver effective care to an additional 350,000 Canadians.
Community ($5 Million target):
- Community Central - create one home for Canadians living with arthritis that will serve as a combined online community centre, referral board and resource library.
As the research strategy was in its third year, it was appropriate to review the results and impacts of the program so that modifications could be made if necessary. The Society took this opportunity to survey its donor database to better understand the types of research that the Society should fund. Over 4,600 respondents participated in the survey and ranked the following areas of high importance:
- Finding the cure for arthritis or slowing down its progression/severity
- Prevention of arthritis
- Joint-related pain and fatigue
On July 16, 2014, the Society's Scientific Advisory Committee and representatives of those living with arthritis reviewed the results of the survey and the performance of the current research program. Through its deliberations, the group made the following recommendations:
1. Refer to Table 2 in the appendix for a schedule of Strategic Research Themes relevant to future SOG competitions.
- The current three themes should be modified into two themes which would be offered on alternating years1.
- Pain should be embedded as a priority within both of the new themes.
- Medical Cannabis for the relief of pain should be included as a strategic research priority.