The JA Alliance is a virtual community connected through the Arthritis Foundation website. Members include parents, volunteers, health professionals and anyone who is affected by juvenile arthritis. We’re here to provide the resources and opportunities for you to learn, connect and share with others.
JA Alliance Priorities
The Arthritis Foundation has a 60-year history of helping children, teens and adults with arthritis. Dr. John Klippel, president and CEO, has designated juvenile arthritis (JA) one of the organization’s top three priorities. Our commitment is to improve the health of children with JA, educate them and their families, provide programs and services, amplify the voice of children with arthritis, and ensure progress in arthritis research.
To lead the JA Alliance’s activities, we have established the Juvenile Arthritis Alliance Leadership Group (JAALG), which provides input on the Foundation’s strategic direction for children with JA and their families. The group includes parents of children with JA, young adults with JA, and health care professionals with expertise in caring for children and families living with the disease. Members are nominated from local and regional Arthritis Foundation offices, based on their volunteer leadership and dedication to children with JA. The JAALG focuses on four major areas that are key to the Foundation’s mission: Consumer Health, Research, Public Policy and Public Health Policy.
The Arthritis Foundation wants to ensure that all people with arthritis have access to the knowledge, skills and resources they need to be proactive in improving their health and quality of life. For children and families living with JA, this means providing quality, developmentally appropriate education, programs and services – such as brochures, books, newsletters, online tools and information, educational events, conferences, camps, workshops and family days.
The Arthritis Foundation is driving a strategic research agenda to guide and accelerate progress toward prevention of and a cure for JA. One key strategy, in our effort to define the highest standard of care for JA, involves working closely with the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA) and others on comparative research studies. We aim to:
- Provide the evidence for best treatments;
- Identify short- and long-term risks of patients; and
- Understand the biologic basis of disease activity and response to therapy.
Nationally, the Arthritis Foundation is leading the way to establish federal, state and local policies that strengthen arthritis prevention, promote greater innovation and investment, and improve access to quality care. We will accomplish this by assisting in development and implementation of federal and state public health policies and practices; being a leading advocate for significant increases in federally funded arthritis research; and promoting policies that improve access to quality care for people with arthritis.
Public Health Policy
Reducing arthritis-related disparities in health and health care is another top Arthritis Foundation objective, which is crucial to achieving our broader goals. There are numerous populations in society that experience disparities in their health and their access to health care due to race, culture, economic status, geographic location and other factors. The Foundation is dedicated to closing those gaps.
The American Juvenile Arthritis Organization (AJAO) was formed in 1981 as a council of the Arthritis Foundation, serving as an advocate for – and working to improve the quality of life of – children with rheumatic diseases and their families. To more fully represent people with arthritis in the leadership of the Foundation, we created patient alliances, and the AJAO became the Juvenile Arthritis Alliance (JAA). Enthusiastically approved by the Arthritis Foundation board of directors in 2006, this important step intensified our focus on the 300,000 children with the disease, expanding our commitment to JA throughout the Foundation nationwide.