Osteoarthritis awareness is very important to the American College of Rheumatology because our membership sees these individuals with this disease every day. Everyday we have individuals who come to our offices who have pain, who are disabled, who are unable to do their activities of daily living. They are suffering and we as physicians need to try and deal with that problem as effectively as possible. But we need an active population who are involved with their care so they understand the components that are necessary to really make themselves better because no matter how good a rheumatologist is, unless they can convince a patient to do what is in their best interest, we will not have a healthier society.
I believe by attending the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance meeting, there will be a greater opportunity to see what organizations in the country are trying to deal with this very important health problem. We rheumatologist are very interested in this problem, but obviously we as physicians can’t take care of this problem alone. We need all aspects of professional fields, from physical therapists to people who deal with the aging population. All those various groups are very important in dealing with this problem, and I hope after this meeting is completed those relationships will be made so we have a greater opportunity together to take care of this public health problem.I hope that greater awareness of osteoarthritis with the public will end up with a healthier population. We are faced with really an epidemic. There’s an epidemic of osteoarthritis in our population, and our population is going to need to understand that they are going to need to be active in their care. And I hope, by the end of this conference, that we will have measures by which we can go out and educate the public so they can get healthier with this problem.