Pilot Program Brings Foundation Resources to Underserved Communities

The Arthritis Foundation is implementing diversity, equity and inclusion programming across the organization and in communities.

Sept. 14, 2023

While arthritis treatments have advanced since the Arthritis Foundation was founded in 1948, inequities in care continue to exist. These disparities can be based on a person’s socioeconomic status, limited access to care, language barriers, and cultural and racial differences between a patient and their health care provider. Disparities lead to poor patient outcomes and prevent people with arthritis from improving their quality of life. According to research from the National Institutes of Health, African Americans, Hispanic individuals, and Military and Veteran service members experience disproportionate arthritis and quality of life issues.   

To further strengthen our fight for every person with arthritis to enjoy a better quality of life, the Arthritis Foundation is implementing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programming across the organization, from our commitment to attracting medical students from underrepresented minority groups to the rheumatology field and supporting them through grants and fellowships to resources for arthritis patients of color. We also are partnering with community organizations serving the African American, Hispanic, and military service member communities in several states and Washington, D.C. to pilot test free arthritis awareness and education programs that provide quality health education and culturally relevant and accessible support. 

Combining our partners’ deep understanding of — and connections to — our intended audiences with the Foundation’s patient education and support programs will benefit the demographic groups, expand each organization’s capacity to serve them, and raise awareness of the Foundation’s resources and programs among underserved communities.  

Our Partners and Programs
Florida: Orlando Health 
Indiana: Mexican Consulate/Eskenzi Hospital 
Washington, D.C.: Prince Georges County Parks & Recreation Dept. 
Boston: Disabled American Veterans Massachusetts 
New Jersey: New Jersey Veterans Network
Ohio: Veterans Memorial Museum

Program offerings include webinars on arthritis topics that directly impact the community such as an online panel discussion held in partnership with Orlando Health. During this online event, Spanish-speaking subject matter experts will discuss exercise and healthy habits, complementary pain management, medications and surgical options. In November, Disabled American Veterans in Massachusetts will offer a webinar addressing the connection between chronic illness and mental health. Attendees will learn strategies to improve overall emotional well-being and help dial back pain.

Free, in-person arthritis education events will also be held. These in-person events will include partnerships with The Mexican Consulate/Eskenzi Hospital in Indiana, Parks & Recreation departments in Prince Georges County in Maryland, the New Jersey Veterans Network in New Jersey and Ohio’s Veterans Memorial Museum. The in-person events will feature health care experts from the community who provide tools and resources to not only manage your disease, but to also set goals and talk to your health care professional about your arthritis. These sessions also give attendees the opportunity to connect with people facing similar challenges, and to find and share solutions.

Learn more about our diversity equity and inclusion commitment

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