Winter 2017 (Volume 27, Number 4)

Reaching Out with Arthritis Research: A Public Forum Combining Researcher Expertise and the Patient Voice

By Diane Lacaille, MD, FRCPC, MHSc

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On October 21st, 2017, the 11th annual Reaching Out with Arthritis Research (ROAR) public forum was held at the Vancouver Public Library. This public forum underscores the importance of the patient voice as it is planned, led, and delivered by the Arthritis Patient Advisory Board (APAB) of Arthritis Research Canada (ARC). This year’s event, entitled “Managing Arthritis and You,” allowed scientists from Arthritis Research Canada to share the latest arthritis research with a worldwide audience. ROAR is accessible to everyone – participants attended in-person or joined online via a live webcast. This year, participants tuned in from across the country, the United States, Thailand, and Africa.

I was honoured to be alongside five other presenters to speak on what the latest research is telling us about arthritis care and self-management. Topics ranged from the importance of exercise to patient-focused mobile applications. Presentations by Dr. Linda Li and Cheryl Koehn stressed the importance of being active with the help of activity trackers and mobile apps. Between presentations, audience members were given plenty of opportunities to be active and learn various stretches from physiotherapist Karen Tsui. Other important topics focused on patient-centered apps that help with arthritis management, such as Dr. Paul Fortin’s app designed to help manage lupus. The importance of the patient voice as partners in the research process was also given prominence in presentations by Dr. Clayon Hamilton and APAB member Kelly English, who were collaborators on a recent project that highlighted meaningful patient engagement in research.

My own presentation focused on recent research looking at mortality for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Essentially, our studies have found that mortality in RA has improved in recent years, such that for people diagnosed after the year 2000, mortality did not differ from the general population over the first five years of their disease. I also discussed the effect of RA medications on mortality. A popular feature of the public forum is the final Speakers Panel, where we take questions from the live audience and online participants. It really makes it an interactive forum, as it allows for the audience to join the dialogue and ask questions. In all, the annual Reaching Out with Arthritis Research forum is always a success – it allows us to share our work with the people it is intended for and gives the audience many real-world applications to take home and help manage arthritis. All presentations can be viewed online at Stay tuned for the next ROAR public forum in 2018!

The ROAR panel (from left to right): Dr. John Esdaile (standing), Dr. Paul Fortin, Dr. Cheryl Koehn, Dr. Diane Lacaille, Dr. Linda Li, Dr. Clayon Hamilton, and Kelly English.

Diane Lacaille, MD, FRCPC, MHSc
Division of Rheumatology,
University of British Columbia
Mary Pack Chair in Rheumatology Research,
Senior Research Scientist,
Arthritis Research Canada
Richmond, British Columbia

The access code to enter this site can be found on page 4 of the most recent issue of The Journal of the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRAJ) or at the top of the most recent CRAJ email blast you received. Healthcare professionals can also obtain the access code by sending an email to

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