Summer 2017 (Volume 27, Number 2)

An Update from CIORA

By Janet Pope, MD, MPH, FRCPC

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The Canadian Initiative for Outcomes in Rheumatology Care (CIORA) is the third largest granting body for inflammatory arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in Canada. It is run by the CRA and funded through generous grants from multiple pharmaceutical companies. The 2017 competition results will soon be announced. As our nation has a landmark anniversary, we must appreciate the geographical vastness of people living with arthritis. Three recently funded CIORA grants are studying barriers to appropriate care (i.e., access and treatment).

One study from the 2016 grant competition (Measuring geographic variation in access to care for rheumatoid arthritis patients and related outcomes: a patient-centered approach. Barber C. and Marshall D., et al.), is studying clustering of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) from the Alberta administrative database, and is designed to determine geographic regions with disparities between RA density and health services. In other words, the researchers are looking for regional disparities between RA prevalence and the services available in the region. The work can provide solutions regarding where to place needed resources and close care gaps. It is known that seniors with RA in Ontario who live in rural areas have less access to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and less access to seeing a rheumatologist (the two seem to go hand in hand) compared to those who live in urban centres.1

Another CIORA grant, funded in 2016, is about understanding barriers to self-management in underserved populations (Understanding the barriers to self-management support for underserved populations living with arthritis and co-morbidities and developing patient-derived tools for healthcare policy and practice. Lacaille D, et al.). Studying the roadblocks in access to appropriate care (including self-management) can lead to solutions in providing care in under-serviced areas.

A third funded grant (Assessing the provision, patterns, and costs of waiting for rheumatology care: a step towards optimizing the care of rheumatic diseases. Kuriya B. and Bernatsky S., et al.) is delving into access for rheumatology care by studying wait times and the costs of waiting, such as delay in receiving appropriate DMARDs, failure to achieve remission, etc.

These funded projects are complementary to research, done by Dr. Cheryl Barnabe, demonstrating the burden of rheumatic diseases and outcomes in the First Nations population.2,3 She has been funded by CIORA providing her with protected time to conduct her relevant and important research.

The highlighted studies will help us treat our patients in the vast landmass of Canada. We celebrate our universal health care system, but it exists in reality only if there is appropriate access and treatment for all Canadians living with chronic rheumatic diseases.

2017 CRA Abstract Winners

Best Abstract on SLE Research by a Trainee - Ian Watson Award
Ms. Rebecca Gole
University of Manitoba
Supervisor: Dr. Christine Peschken

Best Abstract on Clinical or Epidemiology Research by a Trainee - Phil Rosen Award
Ms. Bailey Russell
University of Toronto
Supervisor: Dr. Christian Pagnoux

Best Abstract on Basic Science Research by a Trainee
Dr. Shirine Usmani
University of Toronto
Supervisor: Dr. Nigil Haroon

Best Abstract for Research by an Undergraduate Student
Ms. Carol Dou
University of British Columbia
Supervisors: Dr. Linda Li and Dr. John Esdaile

Best Abstract on Adult Research by Young Faculty Award
Dr. Claire Barber
University of Calgary
Supervisor: n/a

Best Abstract on Research by a Rheumatology Resident
Dr. Dania Basodan
McGill University
Supervisor: Dr. Rosie Scuccimarri

Best Abstract by a Medical Student
Ms. Audrea Chen
University of British Columbia
Supervisor: Dr. Kim Morishita

Best Abstract by a Post-Graduate Resident
Dr. Kun Huang
University of British Columbia
Supervisor: Dr. Antonio Avina-Zubieta.

Best Abstract by a Post-Graduate Research Trainee
Dr. Ryan Lewinson
University of Calgary
Supervisor: Dr. Cheryl Barnabe

CRA: Call for Abstracts

You are invited to submit abstracts for presentations during the 2018 CRA Annual Scientific Meeting and AHPA Annual Meeting! Deadline for submissions is October 16, 2017. Details will be available at


1. Widdifield J, Bernatsky S, Paterson JM, et al. Quality care in seniors with new-onset rheumatoid arthritis: A Canadian perspective. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken) 2011 Jan; 63(1):53-7.

2. Barnabe C, Jones CA, Bernatsky S, et al. Inflammatory Arthritis Prevalence and Health Services Use in the First Nations and Non-First Nations Populations of Alberta, Canada. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken) 2017 Apr; 69(4):467-474.

3. Barnabe C, Hemmelgarn B, Jones CA, et al. Imbalance of prevalence and specialty care for osteoarthritis for first nations people in Alberta, Canada. J Rheumatol 2015 Feb; 42(2):323-8.

Janet Pope, MD, MPH, FRCPC
Professor of Medicine, Division Head,
Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine,
St. Joseph's Health Care
Western University
London, Ontario