Government Invests $3 Million in Arthritis Research

Richmond, BC (September 9, 2014) – Over 600,000 British Columbians are affected by arthritis, which can make even day-to-day tasks painful.

Today, Health Minister Terry Lake announced $3 million in funding to the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada that will further developments in prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Minister Lake Announces Funding for ARC

Government of BC awards ARC $3m for arthritis research
Left to right: Ron McKerrow, ARC Board Chair, Minister Terry Lake, Minister of Health, Dr. John Esdaile, Scientific Director ARC, Minister Teresa Wat, MLA Richmond Centre, Linda Reid, Speaker of the House & MLA, Richmond East

“With this investment, our government aims to help the Arthritis Research Centre continue to improve the lives of British Columbians living with arthritis, as well as reduce the burden arthritis puts on our health-care system,” said Lake.

With over 100 different forms of arthritis, and as a leading cause of disability, the impact on the Canadian economy is estimated to be $33 billion each year in health-care costs and lost productivity.

"Many people aren't aware arthritis can be a debilitating chronic condition that affects people of all ages, from children to the elderly," said Dr. John Esdaile, scientific director of the Arthritis Research Centre. "With further research into this complex illness, we can work to prevent arthritis, as well reduce work disability, improve pain management, and address the special needs of arthritis patients in the province."

Though osteoarthritis is the most widely recognized form of the condition, arthritis can range from mild forms of tendinitis and bursitis to crippling systemic disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis. It also includes pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia and diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus.

"Arthritis Research Centre scientists address and answer questions that are meaningful in enabling patients to keep moving, working, playing and contributing to life in B.C.," said Alison Hoens, arthritis patient.

The Ministry of Health's HealthLink BC website provides information and resources for arthritis patients and their families. The ministry also supports programs to help British Columbians get active, eat healthy and quit smoking, so they may avoid chronic diseases like arthritis.

The Arthritis Research Centre of Canada (ARC) was created in 2000 in recognition of the significant impact research could have on arthritis treatment in Canada. ARC is a patientoriented research centre, conducting clinical research and trials related to arthritis prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, and quality of life issues.

Learn More

For information on specific forms of arthritis, visit HealthLink BC's Health Topics and search for 'arthritis' at: www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthtopics

For more information on the work of the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada, visit: www.arthritisresearch.ca

Media Contact

Kristy Anderson
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)

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  1. Why are you providing this funding?
    • With this grant of $3 million, the ministry aims to help the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada continue to improve the lives of British Columbians living with arthritis, as well as reduce the burden arthritis puts on our health care system.
    • Arthritis is a chronic illness, which affects over 600,000 British Columbians.
    • The economic burden of arthritis on the Canadian economy in health care costs and lost productivity is estimated to be $33 billion each year.
  2. How will this funding be used?
    • This $3 million will go towards helping the Arthritis Research Centre (ARC) reduce work disability, improve pain management, minimize health care costs, and meet the special needs of British Columbians with arthritis.
    • ARC conducts patient-oriented clinical research and trials related to arthritis prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, care outcomes and quality of life issues.
  3. The Arthritis Research Centre of Canada is a national organization. Is this money going to be used outside of B.C.?
    • While the Arthritis Research Centre is a national organization, this funding will be used exclusively to support the advancement of arthritis research in British Columbia.
  4. What is government doing to prevent arthritis?
    • Research has shown reducing the proportion of the population who are inactive, overweight or smokers can minimize the onset and impact of arthritis.
    • The Ministry of Health is continuously striving to make it easier for British Columbians to make healthy choices, with the hope of avoiding chronic conditions like arthritis.
    • Investments in arthritis research will inform future programs focused on raising awareness of and preventing arthritis.
    • Our Healthy Families BC strategy includes programs to encourage healthy eating, such as Informed Dining and the Farmers Market Nutrition Coupon programs.
    • Our Smoking Cessation program helps people quit with free nicotine replacement therapies, alongside the BC Lung Association's QuitNow services.
  5. How does the ministry plan to address the weaknesses (including lack of rheumatology services, lack of a provincial strategy and inefficient use of current resources) identified in a recent environmental scan of arthritis services in B.C.?
    • Vancouver Coastal health participated in this environmental scan.
    • The health authority has informed me they've already begun to make improvements to the Mary Pack and GF Strong arthritis programs, which serve arthritis patients throughout the province.
    • These improvements aim to increase efficiency and integrate multi-disciplinary services.
    • Vancouver Coastal Health is also using the recommendations in this scan to conduct a comprehensive analysis of how they can further improve arthritis care at these and other sites.
    • By investing in arthritis research, we can learn the best ways to provide treatment to British Columbians throughout the province.
  6. What is the ARC Champion award?
    • The ARC Champion award is presented to an individual or company that has made a unique and significant contribution to Arthritis Research Centre's growth and development.
    • In 2012, Maureen and Milan Ilich donated $4 million towards ARC's research. The Milan Ilich Arthritis Research Centre was named in recognition of this donation. This gift, coupled with five years of rent-free office space from Progressive Construction, has provided a secure base for the centre's operations. It was Milan and Maureen's intention the donation be used to additional leverage funds to help further the Arthritis Research Centre's research.
  7. What is arthritis?
    • Arthritis consists of more than 100 different conditions which range from relatively mild forms of tendinitis and bursitis to crippling systemic forms, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
    • The common symptom for all of these conditions is joint and musculoskeletal pain. Pain and inflammation can limit normal use of a joint and eventually cause the loss of function of that joint.
    • Arthritis is a leading cause of disability and affects around 600,000 British Columbians of all ages, from infants to the elderly.