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“The mission of the Bone and Joint Decade is to improve the quality of life for people throughout the world with musculoskeletal conditions and to advance the understanding, prevention, and treatment of these conditions,” said Joshua J. Jacobs, MD, current president of the United States Bone and Joint Decade (USBJD).

AAOS Now

Published 10/1/2009
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Maureen Leahy

Musculoskeletal diseases and their impact: Easing the global burden

USBJD hosts Bone and Joint Decade Global Conference

Joshua J. Jacobs, MD

Since the Bone and Joint Decade kicked off in 2000, this worldwide initiative has helped raise awareness of the global rise in musculoskeletal disorders and the burden they place on society. The international collaborative movement is sanctioned by the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, 63 countries, and 750 patient advocacy and health organizations around the globe. More than 60 countries have formed National Action Networks to promote the mission of the Decade.

“The USBJD, which serves as the U.S. National Action Network, is very pleased to host the 2009 Bone and Joint Decade Global Network Conference and Patient Advocacy Meeting,” said Toby King, executive director of the USBJD. “Hosting the conference is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and focus attention on bone and joint health, and to bring the leaders of participating organizations together.”

Conference attendees will include healthcare, specialty society, and official patient representatives from nearly 60 countries. The impressive Host Committee includes elected officials, members of the diplomatic community, and other dignitaries. The 4-day event will focus on continuing efforts to raise awareness and advocate for musculoskeletal health, and developing a strategic plan for the future built on the momentum created by the Bone and Joint Decade.

Raising awareness
Recognizing the impact that constituents can have on policy makers, the 2009 program kicks off with a 2-day Patient Advocacy Meeting that will include coaching and mentoring exercises, patient advocacy workshops, and a program on women’s health organized by Kimberly J. Templeton, MD, chair of the AAOS USBJD Committee.

On Oct. 22, Advocacy Day, conference delegates will visit Capitol Hill.

“This is similar to what AAOS does on Research Capitol Hill Day,” Dr. Jacobs said. The efforts planned for Advocacy Day are focused on educating policy makers and bringing the need for government funding for musculoskeletal research to their attention. These efforts also coincide with the current national focus on healthcare reform, said Dr. Jacobs.

Following a breakfast meeting and welcome by Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), participants will be able to attend a Congressional Oversight Hearing on three musculoskeletal bills: Americans’ Access to Orthopaedic Services Act (the AAOS Act), the Arthritis Prevention Control and Cure Act, and the Bone Health Prevention and Research Act. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance, will present a legislative perspective on the future of U.S. healthcare policy. Sen. John A. Barrasso, MD (R-Wyo.), the only orthopaedic surgeon serving in the Senate, and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, may also speak.

Congressional visits, a session on the USBJD program Experts in Arthritis, sponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), and an evening reception at the Canadian Embassy round out the day.

“The mission of the Bone and Joint Decade is to improve the quality of life for people throughout the world with musculoskeletal conditions and to advance the understanding, prevention, and treatment of these conditions,” said Joshua J. Jacobs, MD, current president of the United States Bone and Joint Decade (USBJD).

“Advocacy Day will be action packed and designed around raising awareness of bone and joint health. We need an impressive show of support from members within the musculoskeletal community and others concerned with promoting bone and joint health,” Mr. King said.

Education
Cochaired by Nancy Lane, MD, and Stuart L. Weinstein, MD, the Global Network Conference will also feature educational sessions on osteoarthritis, inflammatory conditions, back pain, bone health and osteoporosis, trauma, pediatric musculoskeletal conditions, and more.

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., current chief of staff for the U.S. Army has been invited to keynote the presentation, “From the Battlefront to the Home Front,” which will also feature Andrew N. Pollak, MD, discussing the impact military advances are having on civilian trauma treatment.

Another session will feature information and patient stories on the use of the Ponseti method to treat clubfoot.

“The Decade has been a springboard to raising awareness about the Ponseti method and training healthcare providers across the world in the use of the technique—it’s an ongoing success story,” said Mr. King.

Beyond the Decade
The conference is an opportunity to develop strategic plans for the future based on momentum created by the BJD. AAOS President Joseph D. Zuckerman, MD, will introduce the session. The Beyond the Decade initiative is cochaired by Dr. Jacobs and Jack Klippel, MD, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation.

“The strategic planning sessions have already covered much of the background work. That work will culminate in what we anticipate will be a call to action of what we can do now, on a global basis, to further the mission of the Decade,” Dr. Jacobs said.

“This is really what the Decade is all about—getting the groups to work together instead of working separately in silos. I’ve been present at many of the strategic planning group meetings and it’s fascinating to hear the discussions going on.

I think people are going to be impressed with the plans they are developing,” Mr. King said.

Maureen Leahy is assistant managing editor of AAOS Now. She can be reached at leahy@aaos.org