Hello, patient advocates! Dr. Angus Worthing here, chair of the American College of Rheumatology’s Government Affairs Committee.

September is right around the corner, which means the ACR is ramping up for Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month (RDAM)! Join us as we again come together as “Hundreds of Diseases, One Voice” to improve the public’s understanding of rheumatic diseases and advance the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans living with rheumatic diseases.

This year, we’re teaming up with former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw, who will serve as the official spokesperson for RDAM 2017. As someone who lives with rheumatoid arthritis and who benefited from early intervention by a rheumatologist, Terry is reminding everyone that “You don’t have to be an athlete to have sore joints!” Watch and share the public service announcement below and be sure to take the ACR’s Joint IQ quiz for a chance to win a #12 Pittsburgh Steelers jersey signed by Terry Bradshaw himself!

 

How You Can Participate in RDAM

We encourage all of our patient advocates to get involved with this year’s RDAM activities. Our communications toolkit is a great place to start. The toolkit contains a number of resources to help you advocate, including a sample blog post and social media content. You can also follow the conversation on social media using the hashtag #RDAM!

Be sure to also visit our Action Center, where you can submit a letter to your newspaper editor about RDAM and send letters to Members of Congress about policy issues that affect people living with rheumatic diseases. This month, we’re asking lawmakers to expand patient access to specialty drugs, limit insurers’ use of “step therapy” practices, and repeal Medicare’s therapy caps so that millions of beneficiaries don’t lose access to vital rehabilitation services.

More than 54 million Americans live with painful and debilitating rheumatic diseases. Together, we can raise awareness about the healthcare challenges they face and advocate for policy change that will truly make a difference!

Until next time,
Dr. Angus Worthing
@AngusWorthing