The Arthritis Newsletter

Summer 2012

Introduction: Summer

Written by: Gordon Whitehead



Isn’t summer everyone’s favourite season?  Everything conspires to lift one’s mood—the welcome glow and warmth of the sunlight, the sweet freshness of our marine air, the lushness of our gardens, the long, bright days.


Summer invites, nay demands, activity and many different forms of Interaction.  And interaction is this issue’s governing theme.


What do we mean by interaction?  Well, there are many kinds of activities here at CAB and ARC that feature this dimension of behaviour.  First, we in CAB are all about formal and informal interactions between consumers and researchers—-working and learning together in a shared quest to build a world free of arthritis.  This primary interaction, in turn, generates many others which, like planets, move through parallel and gravity-related, but discretely separate orbits.


Collaborative interactions and engagements between arthritis researchers, treatment providers, and consumers — engagements of the very sort that CAB was initially formed to undertake — continue to expand and deepen across the medical research domain, both in Canada and abroad.  To graphically illustrate this growing global development, we take particular pleasure in including in this issue a paper by Susan Cox, Kelley Ross, Anne Townsend, Denise Avard, and Roberta Woodgate titled: “From Stakeholders to Shareholders: Engaging Consumers in Health Research”.  We are confident that readers will find this study not only remarkably interesting, but highly pertinent to the formulation of an enhanced understanding of the steadily enlarging role of consumers in health research


In two earlier issues, we featured extracts from Linda Wilhelm’s “Election Diary”.  In this issue we bring you the outcome of Linda’s bid for a seat in Parliament.  Can there be a more important interaction between the government and the governed in an electoral democracy than to actually run for election?


CAB Members interact with the larger arthritis community, too.  In this issue, Sheila Kerr, Nadia Prestley, and Joyce Ma take you along with them to the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA) meeting held this Spring in Victoria.  These annual gatherings of arthritis experts provide unmatched opportunities for consumers to have hugely valuable exchanges and interactions with persons working on the leading edges of research and treatment.  You will enjoy hearing about the highlights of this year’s CRA as seen and experienced by Sheila, Nadia, and Joyce.


The Arthritis Research Centre of Canada (ARC) is steadily expanding its presence and its scope for interactive research collaboration across Canada.  Indeed, ARC now has representation on the ground in both Alberta and Quebec.  CAB Members Pam Monte, Sheila Kerr and Lianne Gulka recently met with Dr. Paul Fortin, (who is spearheading and developing ARC’s establishment in Quebec) to discuss his plans and his vision for ARC in Quebec.  Sheila and Lianne provide an illuminating report on their conversation with Dr. Fortin in this issue of our newsletter.


In this age of electronic messaging and social networking, we also bring you news of the new “Arthritis Broadcast Network”.  This innovative messaging tool will provide a supremely effective way for all members of the arthritis community to interact with one another and share experiences, discoveries, treatment options and lifestyle resources.


How do you interact with your own arthritis disease or that of your family members?  We take a look at the impact of arthritis on one’s self image in a not-too-serious essay titled: “On Growing a Third Earlobe”.


Dr. Jolanda Cibere is one of ARC’s outstanding researchers.  To add to her growing roster of honours and awards, this year, Jolanda was presented with the “Young Investigator’s Award” at the Victoria CRA Meeting.  She is presently engaged in a research project titled “IMPAKT HIP”.  In this issue of the CAB Newsletter, Jolanda describes her research by interacting and responding to our consumer questioners.


What about other forms of social interaction that are not directly related to arthritis but which can be impacted by an arthritis condition?  We’re talking shopping and how you can best go about extracting the most pleasure possible from this activity while avoiding the pitfalls that come with overuse (or poor use) of sore joints.  See our piece titled “Around Town: Shopping Tips”.


In sum, we wish all our readers a very happy, busy, and creatively interactive summer!!

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