JointHealth™ insight  Published December 2018

A time to give thanks, reflect on the past,
and look forward to the future

“’Tis the season” when our thoughts turn to sharing, caring and remembering; a perfect time to thank all of Arthritis Consumer Experts’ members, subscribers, research partners and supporters for their ongoing engagement and support. Together, we remain committed to helping people living with arthritis across Canada through research-based information and education.
“When you help a person living with arthritis, you are passing on the message that “you are not alone, we are with you, don’t be afraid.” That message needs to be shared not just during the holidays, but throughout the year.”
Today, arthritis is Canada’s most prevalent disease and it’s far more serious than most people realize. Approximately six million adults – one in five – have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Two-thirds are under the age of 65. Arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions are the leading cause of work disability in Canada. In other words, we are a “big deal” to the health care system and to society.

In 2019, ACE will remain focussed on helping all Canadians living, playing, working and raising families with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritis and the many other forms of the disease. As it has for the past 20 years, our work will reflect your needs and aspirations. As Canada’s largest and longest running patient-led arthritis organization, we will continue to fight for the rights of people living with the disease; to work with healthcare professionals and governments to develop services and policies that reflect a world as seen through our eyes and experiences; to inform the implementation of models of care to better help patients like us in their disease journeys; and to volunteer and work side-by-side with Canada’s brightest arthritis researchers and knowledge translators.

Over the past two weeks, you’ve graciously shared your wishes as part of ACE’s #MyArthritisWishList social media campaign – sincerest thanks for your participation in this fun and inspiring campaign. Your wishes remind us that when you live with arthritis, that means “every day, all day.” For many of us there are days with no break from pain, stiffness, depression, relationship challenges; the list is long. Yet, despite it all, we rise above from a deep reservoir of resilience.
“The worldwide arthritis community is my hero.”
Every day, I’m constantly inspired by our arthritis community, made up of people who are brave, funny, brilliant, insightful, industrious, and so many other wonderful qualities. People trying to be all that they can be, while also trying to kick arthritis to the curb.

On behalf of everyone at ACE, I wish you joy and peace this holiday season.

Cheryl Koehn
Person with rheumatoid arthritis
Founder and President of Arthritis Consumer Experts

Arthritis Consumer Experts’ Year in Review

In 2018, Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) worked to improve the lives of people living with arthritis through education, empowerment and advocacy. With help from the arthritis patient community, healthcare professionals, researchers and partner organizations, ACE submitted patient inputs to CADTH and provincial drug plans, participated in conferences, workshops and webinars, launched JointHealth™ Education Advanced Therapies, provided updates from the American College of Rheumatology and European League Against Rheumatism annual meetings, and advocated on behalf of our community with public and private health policymakers.

Thank you to our members and subscribers for making 2018 one of the best years yet! Here are the monthly highlights from this year:

ACE surveyed its members to tell us about their own experiences with arthritis health care, what they would ideally expect from the health care system, and about their own disease experiences. Read the survey results and learn how to get the most from the health care system in Getting “Patient Satisfaction” from Arthritis Health Care: What you told ACE.

ACE operates the Biosim•Exchange - Canada’s first and only patient led website dedicated to providing research-based information on biosimilar safety and effectiveness to inform consumers and patients and report on public and private health insurance formulary policy or listing decisions.

As part of its biosimilars education efforts, ACE participated in the "Biosimilars in Canada: What inflammatory arthritis patients need to know” webinar featuring Dr. John Esdaile, Scientific Director of Arthritis Research Canada, and Ms. Cheryl Koehn, Founder and President of Arthritis Consumer Experts. The webinar covered the latest information on biosimilar research and public drug plan reimbursement policy development. Read more about biosimilars.

The Arthritis Broadcast Network #CRArthritis Facebook and Twitter Live event at the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA) Annual Scientific Meeting and Arthritis Health Professions Association (AHPA) Annual Meeting conducted a total of 39 interviews and currently informed and educated more than 94,205 people.

In March, featured an article with Cheryl Koehn on her journey with rheumatoid arthritis and achieving personal goals despite living with rheumatoid arthritis for 30 years. Click here to read more (in English only).

Arthritis Broadcast Network – powered by Arthritis Consumer Experts – has been ranked #5 on the top 20 arthritis YouTube channels by Feedspot. On Feedspot’s list, ABN has the most videos and views on a Canadian channel – currently a total of 220 videos and 278,497 views!

ACE’s JointHealth™ Education program is an on-demand, online, education course for people with inflammatory arthritis. In May, ACE launched its JointHealth™ Education Advanced Therapies for Inflammatory Arthritis, a three-lesson course designed to help patients living with inflammatory arthritis identify when is the appropriate time to transition from conventional synthetic disease modifying medications (csDMARDs) to an advanced therapy, such as targeted synthetic DMARD or biologic DMARD, and what key questions to ask about how they are taken and how they work in the body.

Enroll now in JointHealth™ Education.

In May, ACE also won first place in the World Autoimmune Arthritis Day “virtual” race (in English only) to increase public awareness of autoimmune arthritis.

As part of its advocacy efforts, during every provincial election in Canada, ACE sends an open letter to political parties and individual candidates outlining the impact of arthritis and asks how government can improve prevention, treatment and care.

ACE surveyed the party leaders and candidates of the 2018 Ontario Provincial Election and the 2018 Quebec Provincial Election and asked for their comments and promises on models of care, arthritis education, Aboriginal arthritis care, reimbursement for inflammatory arthritis medications, and flexible work arrangements. ACE published the party and candidate responses to help voters make their choice.

Read more about arthritis issues in Ontario.

Each year, ACE holds Facebook/Twitter Live Events where ACE interviews keynote speakers, meeting attendees, and patients living with arthritis. ACE encourage the public audience to participate in the Facebook and Twitter Live events, by posting, liking, sharing or retweeting the live interviews and sending comments or questions through Facebook and Twitter during the interviews.

In June, Arthritis Consumer Experts also hosted on its Arthritis Broadcast Network the #Greek2Street Facebook and Twitter Live event at the KT Canada Scientific Meeting. ACE conducted 18 interviews and informed and educated more than 20,487 people on Twitter and Facebook.

ACE also shared the latest research news from the June 2018 European League Against Arthritis' Annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Read more about ACE’s live reports from EULAR 2018 (in English only):

ACE featured an interview with the Surrey Inflammatory Arthritis (IA) Clinic on the ArthritisBC+Me website. The first of its kind in Canada, the ArthritisBC+Me website, co-founded by ACE, which also serves as Secretariat, is designed to help patients learn about arthritis and local programs best suited to their needs.

Learn more about ArthritisBC+Me (in English only).

ACE is a regular co-investigator, collaborator or a partner in arthritis research conducted in Canada and internationally. In August, ACE recruited participants for the OPAM-IA Study, SuPRA study, and the Centre for Hip Health & Mobility’s hip and knee replacement rehabilitation study and informed the research process from start to end.

The flagships of ACE’s communications platform, JointHealth™ insight and JointHealth™ express are delivered on-line and in-print to 50,000+ ACE members and subscribers multiple times each month. They reach approximately 200,000 people through our social media channels.

The summer edition of JointHealth™ insight focused on smart design for people living with arthritis. The issue looked at how smart choices in our living environments can make arthritis experience easier, safer, and less painful, providing solutions on how to modify home or work environments.

To subscribe to JointHealth™ insight and JointHealth™ express, click here.

As part of ACE’s activities promoting Arthritis Awareness Month in Canada, it launched a print and social media campaign titled “Where is arthritis? – Everywhere.” In the September JointHealth™ insight and through Facebook and Twitter posts, the campaign provided evidence-based information on strategies to help change, overcome or manage the challenges arthritis patients face, including a guide to living well with osteoarthritis and back-to-school tips for students living with inflammatory arthritis.

ACE surveyed the party leaders and candidates of the 2018 Quebec Provincial Election and asked for their comments and promises on models of care, arthritis education, and reimbursement for inflammatory arthritis medications. ACE published the party and candidate responses to help voters make their choice.

Read more about arthritis issues in Quebec.

A guide to living with osteoarthritis: Physiotherapy was created to highlight the importance of physiotherapy in osteoarthritis treatment and learn how a physiotherapist can benefit you.

Canada’s Best Workplaces for Employees Living with Arthritis is a national campaign to help employers better understand arthritis in the workplace and recognize companies who offer exceptional work environments for their employees living with arthritis. Through a rigorous selection process using wide-ranging criteria, ACE evaluates Canadian companies that apply best arthritis practices.

In October, ACE announced the 2018 winners of Canada’s Best Workplaces for Employees Living with Arthritis award: the Government of Yukon and Université de Montreal.

ACE participated in this year’s American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting by presenting abstract posters and asking our members to submit arthritis research questions using the hashtag #AskACE, which were answered by ACE’s President, Cheryl Koehn. Read more about ACE’s support and presentation of abstract posters at ACR (in English only).

ACE also shared the latest research news from the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting: ACR News 1, ACR News 2, and ACR News 3 (in English only).

On World Arthritis Day, ACE encouraged members to share their arthritis impact statements with the hashtag #MyWorldWithArthritis.

The campaign brought attention to the prevalence of the disease and the different ways that it can impact the lives of individuals and had 621,000 impressions on Twitter, with 92 participants.

ACE co-presented during a Osteoarthritis Action Alliance Lunch & Learn webinar. Featuring ACE President, Cheryl Koehn and Marie Westby, Associate Member, Centre for Hip Health & Mobility on a current research study - EQUIP-ing OA Patients with Health Care Providers Through Patient Engagement in Research. Watch the webinar here.

Also in November, ACE participated in the launch event of the Women in Biz Network’s nationwide series called RA Matters at Work. The Vancouver event was moderated by ACE President, Cheryl Koehn, and featured Canadian Olympic Snowboarder Spencer O’Brien, and Associate Scientific Director and Senior Research Scientist of Rheumatology Dr. Diane Lacaille from Arthritis Research Canada.

At this year’s Arthritis Alliance of Canada’s Annual Meeting, Cheryl Koehn was presented with the “Patient for Active Engagement in Arthritis Research” award.

ACE ended the year with a social media campaign:

Close your eyes and ask yourself:
"What’s on #MyArthritisWishList?” Do you want to travel pain-free? Do you wish there were more ways to help people living with arthritis? ACE encouraged members to share their arthritis wish list using the campaign hashtag #MyArthritisWishList. Read more here.

Arthritis Consumer Experts advocates for the Canadian patient community by responding to call for patient inputs. These inputs help inform policy decisions that affect the lives of Canadians living with arthritis. ACE completed eight patient inputs in 2018.

  1. Make a list and check it twice
    • Write out the tasks that need to be accomplished during the holiday season. Consider making a schedule.
    • Categorize your list from highest to lowest priority.
    • Try to spread out activities to save energy and consider skipping the ones of lowest priority.
  2. Reduce stress while holiday shopping
    • Shopping centres are busy in December, consider buying gifts online to save time and energy or use a door-to-door delivery service.
    • Visit shopping centres during non-peak hours. If time permits, week days and mornings tend to be less crowded.
    • Consider using a backpack instead of a shoulder bag so that weight can be evenly distributed. Trolleys and suitcases can also be useful for heavier and bigger items.
    • Gift exchange with family and friends can be fun; consider doing a gift exchange where everyone brings one gift for the communal gift table. Each participant picks a gift when their name is called.
  3. Dress for success
    • A holiday party is the perfect place to showcase your fancy dress or suit and shoes, but consider bringing comfortable shoes and clothes to change into.
    • Be prepared for the weather.
  4. Support is key
    • Your family and friends are there to provide support and help. Delegate tasks, such as shopping, cooking or decorating a tree, and provide help where possible. Sharing responsibilities will help you manage pain and fatigue.
    • Arrange to have a neighbour or friend shovel snow and salt the pathways for you.
  5. Put things into perspective
    • Your health and wellbeing is a top priority. During the holidays, it may feel like there is a lot of pressure to attend events and connect with family and friends. It’s alright to decline or reschedule an event. Remind your loved ones of the challenges you face. Recognize what your body’s telling you. Suggest ways that your friends can help.

Listening to you

We hope you find this information of use. Please tell us what you think by writing to us or emailing us at Through your ongoing and active participation, ACE can make its work more relevant to all Canadians living with arthritis.

Update your email or postal address

Please let us know of any changes by contacting ACE at This will ensure that you continue to receive your free email or print copy of JointHealth™ insight.

Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE)

Who We Are

Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) operates as a non-profit and provides free research based education and information to Canadians with arthritis. We help (em)power people living with all forms of arthritis to take control of their disease and to take action in healthcare and research decision making. ACE activities are guided by its members and led by people with arthritis, scientific and medical experts on the ACE Advisory Board. To learn more about ACE, visit


Over the past 12 months, ACE received grants-in-aid from: Amgen Canada, Arthritis Research Canada, Canadian Biosimilars Forum, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Eli Lilly Canada, Hoffman-La Roche Canada Ltd., Merck Canada, Novartis, Pfizer Canada, Sandoz Canada, St. Paul’s Hospital (Vancouver), UCB Canada, and the University of British Columbia.

ACE also received unsolicited donations from its community members (people with arthritis) across Canada.

ACE thanks funders for their support to help the nearly 6 million Canadians living with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and the many other forms of the disease.


The material contained on this website is provided for general information only. This website should not be relied on to suggest a course of treatment for a particular individual or as a substitute for consultation with qualified health professionals who are familiar with your individual medical needs. Should you have any healthcare related questions, you should contact your physician. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this or any website.

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