Impact Newsletter - December 2017


National Highlights

Our most successful Walk to date and a new brand identity help us wrap up 2017 on a high note!

Arthritis Society unveils new vision, mission and visual identity

Last month, the Arthritis Society announced a new brand. Our newly changed mission will see a focus to invest in cutting-edge research, proactive advocacy and innovative solutions, in the hopes of achieving our vision to live in a world where people are free from the devastating effects of arthritis. The relaunched website at includes extensively updated evidence-based information and expanded resources for people living with arthritis. Over time, the goal is for the Arthritis Society to be the place where greater conversation and sharing of stories happen, permitting the website to become Canada's number one meeting place to help navigate and take action against the prevalence of arthritis.

Logo transition

Thousands of Canadians got moving to help fund a cure for Arthritis

Canadians in 41 communities took part in the 8th annual Walk to Fight Arthritis in June, with over 8,000 people coming together in a show of support for the millions people who are living with the chronic pain, inflammation and mobility restrictions of Arthritis. This year, participants in the Arthritis Society's signature fundraiser raised $1.25 million, bringing the eight-year total to over $10 million to support much-needed research, programs and services.

"Freedom of movement is something we all deserve, which is why so many Canadians have come forward to show their support for the Walk to Fight Arthritis," said Janet Yale, president and CEO of The Arthritis Society. "The success of the Walk speaks to the incredible spirit and resilience of the Arthritis community. We're so grateful for their support, and we're committed to working on their behalf to create a future without Arthritis." Stay tuned for our brand new Walk to Fight Arthritis website launching in early 2018!


Research Highlights

Introducing our new Chief Science Officer

Siân BevanDr. Siân Bevan is the newly appointed Chief Science Officer for the Arthritis Society, responsible for driving the scientific research, advocacy, public policy and programs and services agenda to maximize reach and impact. Siân completed her PhD in Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto, after her undergraduate studies in Biochemistry at McGill University. Before joining the Arthritis Society, she held progressively senior roles at the Canadian Cancer Society where she was most recently the Vice-President of Research, providing scientific leadership and financial stewardship. Sian has also led research program teams at the Ontario Genomics Institute working with the scientific community, federal and provincial research funders, academic institutions and hospitals to cultivate large scale genomics projects.

For over 30 years, the Arthritis Society has provided annual funding to Arthritis Centres across Canada. As centres of clinical expertise, research and education, their role in the Canadian health care environment is to help ensure that more Canadians with arthritis receive better care. Through these funding commitments to Arthritis Centres, the Arthritis Society continues to supplement and leverage resources at medical schools and increases the profile of arthritis within universities. The Arthritis Centre grants support Arthritis Centres in providing exemplary patient care, high standards of graduate and undergraduate teaching, and excellent opportunities for clinical and basic research. This year, we are pleased to provide funding to the following centres across Canada:

  • McMaster University
  • SickKids Hospital, University of Toronto
  • Research Institute of MUHC, McGill University
  • Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University
  • University of Manitoba
  • University of Calgary
  • Dalhousie University
  • CHU de Quebec, Université Laval
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Alberta

Consumers in the Arthritis Society Research Program

Many people affected by arthritis contribute to shaping the Arthritis Society’s research programs. We have been fortunate to have several enthusiastic and dedicated consumers actively involved as expert reviewers for Arthritis Society research grants and awards. Their insights, experiences, and knowledge of living with arthritis have been integral to funding innovative research and supporting bright trainees.

Research is key to our goals related to improving health outcomes for people affected by arthritis. Greater understanding of what causes arthritis and how to manage the disease will lead to improved treatments and, ultimately, cures. Since our founding in 1948, the Arthritis Society has invested more than $200 million in basic and applied arthritis research, which has led to significant breakthroughs in diagnosis, treatments and care.

Become a reviewer for the Arthritis Society

Every Arthritis Society research investment undergoes a thorough expert review. As a reviewer, consumers evaluate research proposals for their relevance to people affected by arthritis within a panel of experts including clinicians and researchers.

We would like to invite interested individuals living with arthritis to participate in future review panels for Arthritis Society grant competitions.

If you are interested in becoming a consumer reviewer, or would like more information about research reviews at the Arthritis Society, please contact us at

As a national organization, the Arthritis Society is pleased to present our highlights from across the country in 2017. From British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador, we've been busy advocating and fundraising for people with arthritis.



British Columbia & Yukon Highlights

In advance of the provincial election last May in BC, the Arthritis Society launch a first-of-its-kind toolkit to encourage people with Arthritis to share their stories about what the government and health system could do to help make their lives easier. We created a website full of resources and tools to help people reach their local candidates, including a compilation of their contact information. We were thrilled with the amount of people who had questions, comments, and expressed their concerns in their local ridings.

People using the Election Toolkit made great use of our sample social media posts and email templates that we offered, with many sharing the Facebook and email responses they received from the various candidates around the province. Views of the BC website increased by 50% after the Election Toolkit was launched, indicating that our community finds it to be a helpful resource.

The Arthritis Connects Symposium was hosted earlier this year with the goal of delivering relevant information to British Columbians and providing a space for dialogue on arthritis issues. The first of four symposiums took place in Penticton at the end of September and there was a great turnout both in-person and online to hear about Access to Care and Pain Management - which were the two themes. In addition to a panel discussion, the Penticton Arthritis Connects Symposium featured rheumatologist Dr. Michelle Teo, who spoke about the nurse led care model and Dr. Caroline MacCallum, who provided information about medical cannabis as a form of pain management. The Symposiums aim to address community-specific, arthritis issues with the goal of helping people improve their knowledge of arthritis symptoms, treatment and management as well as community-based resources. Another goal is to encourage dialogue between participants and speakers to discuss up-to-date arthritis issues and to inform decision-making pertaining to the community.

It has been identified that there is a greater need for more rheumatologists outside of the Lower Mainland, particularly in the Interior region of the province. For example, in Kelowna, in addition to there being a shortage of general practitioners, the current rheumatologists are no longer able to accept new referrals due to the sheer number of people living with arthritis in the region. As such, fellows are now conducting four-week clinical rotations in Kelowna. They have the opportunity to work clinically with rheumatologists in the community in both out-patient clinics and with in-patient consultations. This fellows rotation was initiated by the Arthritis Society – BC & Yukon Division, and successfully introduced doctors to other practices in the region.


Prairie/Northwest Territory/Nunavut

An exciting new partnership developed between the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health at the University of Calgary and the Arthritis Society Alberta & Northwest Territory Division. The annual Wood Forum and the Arthritis Society's annual fall forum where held together on October 28 at the Red and White Club at McMahon Stadium. This combined event attracted an enthusiastic crowd of 400 participants who were treated to a full day of bone and joint health education. One of our honoured guests was Janet Yale, President and CEO of the Society who spoke before the assembled crowd and participated in the Question and Answer panel discussion at the end of the day.

In Saskatchewan, the Walk to Fight Arthritis set fundraising records. In Regina, there were 40% fewer participants than anticipated, yet they surpassed their fundraising goal by 51%. In Saskatoon, they met 95% of their participant goal and exceeded their fundraising goal by 78%. The success of these events in Saskatchewan, especially in Saskatoon where the Walk is still new, speaks to the commitment and passion of Arthritis supporters and lays a solid foundation for 2018.

In Manitoba, the Knowledge is Power Arthritis Symposium was held October 21 at the Canad Inns Destination Polo Park. Nearly 250 participants attended the half-day Arthritis education forum and resource fair. Speakers included rheumatologist Dr. Timothy McCarthy, physiotherapist Brenda Tittlemier, registered dietitian Jessica Wylychenko and pharmacist Scott Groen. This event was one of the most well attended education forums ever presented by the Arthritis Society in Winnipeg and feedback from participants was overwhelming positive.


Ontario Highlights

The GLAD Canada program is an evidence based education and progressive neuromuscular exercise intervention proven to help people with hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA) reduce the progression of their symptoms and improve their function and quality of life. A three-month pilot of the GLAD program was offered in the summer of 2017 in London, Ontario as a collaborative effort between the Arthritis Society's Arthritis Rehabilitation and Education Program (AREP) and The Canadian Center for Activity and Aging (CCAA). The program was offered to a limited number of clients at no cost. Participants engaged in a six-week program that consisted of twice weekly supervised group exercise sessions and two 90-minute education sessions. Classes focused on education of OA signs and symptoms; current available evidence based treatment; self-management strategies; rationale for the role of exercise with OA and functional coping strategies. A trained physiotherapist monitored individual clients' statuses and their program progressed at their own pace based on results. All ten participants completed the program. Overall test results revealed improved outcomes and all clients were enthusiastic throughout the program. The Arthritis Society is examining results and determining how it can be integrated with our current AREP programs and partnerships in the communities we serve.

On August 26, 2017 the second annual camp for children with arthritis in Ontario, Camp Cambria, came to a successful conclusion. This year 134 children attended the five-day camp session, an increase over 100 children last year. From boating to swimming, archery to rock climbing, ropes to arts and crafts, the camp program was much like what kids experience at other summer camps, modified as necessary to accommodate their conditions. It gave each camper a taste of a quintessential summer experience in Ontario – and a chance to just be a kid. Each day also included an educational component so kids and teens learn how best to manage their arthritis. However, ask a child about the best part of camp, and they will tell you it's the friends they've made - friends just like them - who are living with arthritis. Knowing you are not alone in the fight is what makes Camp Cambria so important to children with arthritis.


Quebec Highlights

Quebec Forum on Arthritis has been held annually since 2014 for people living with arthritis and health professionals. Each of these unprecedented major events offered seminars and interactive workshops as well as vendors fair. In total, 3,790 people took part in the four events, and the feedback received from participants has been overwhelming positive – they clearly appreciated having this opportunity to explore issues of arthritis together as a community.

The Hand in Hand Program is an innovative program that encourages people living with arthritis to play an active role in the management of their disease. The objective is to lend a helping hand to people with arthritis and their loved ones to improve their quality of life. Hand in Hand promotes disease management through treatment, reduces absenteeism at school and at work, contributes to job continuation in adults, helps break down isolation, and reduces depression. Initially created to meet the needs of young people living with arthritis and their loved ones, the program evolved rapidly, and two streams were added, one for teenagers and another for adults. Hand in Hand is offered in Montréal, Québec City, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières.


Atlantic Highlights

In February, we hosted the 25th annual Celebrity Roast honouring Academy Award-winning Michael Donovan, Executive Chairman at DHX Media, and hosted by Mark Critch of This Hour has 22 Minutes raised $200,000 bringing the Arthritis Society's 25-year total to over $2.7 million!

Camp JoinTogether, a 6-day overnight camp in Nova Scotia for Maritime children living with arthritis, welcomed 94 campers in July - our largest camp to date! Children from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI living with arthritis made new friends and learned not to define or limit themselves by their disease for the 6th summer in a supportive and safe environment.

Our Nova Scotia Division, supported by Pfizer Canada, collaborated with EastLink TV and healthcare professionals to produce a 13-week television series welcoming health-specialists to discuss their areas of expertise to improve the quality of life of Canadians with arthritis. Aging Well is available to all Eastlink served communities in Atlantic Canada, making expert knowledge accessible and available from the comfort of home!


Thank you

To our wonderful donors, volunteers, and sponsors throughout the year, we thank you. Everything we do in support of the millions of Canadians with arthritis is possible because of your contributions. Across the country, we are proud to represent the national voice of people with arthritis.

Janet Yale Signature

Janet Yale
President and CEO

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