Participate in Research

Empowering active self-management of arthritis: Raising the bar with OPERAS (an On-demand Program to EmpoweR Active Self-management)


Start and end date: 

February 2019 – February 2021

Do you have rheumatoid arthritis? Want to learn more about self-care for rheumatoid arthritis? We invite you to test a program for monitoring arthritis symptoms and physical activity. You will receive a Fitbit and coaching from a physiotherapist.

You are eligible if you:

  • Have rheumatoid arthritis
  • Reside in the Greater Vancouver Area (British Columbia)
  • Have no joint surgery or injury to any joints in the past 6 months
  • Have access to a computer or mobile device and the internet

Why do this research? 

We will research an online intervention app called OPERAS (On-demand Program to EmpoweR Active Self-management) in community settings, in order to address a much needed but under-researched area in the current care for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), namely active self-management.  This project builds on a decade-long partnership between researchers, patients and clinicians to improve the health of people with RA. The research will address the following: Can an online program, combining symptom/disease activity monitoring and physical activity counselling by a physiotherapist (PT) improve self-management ability in people with RA?

What will be done?

After a baseline assessment, we will randomly assign participants to receive the program immediately or in 6 months. All will receive:

  • an orientation to the OPERAS web app
  • an education session about physical activity and self care
  • a Fitbit Inspire, which links to the app – yours to keep as our Thank You!

During their enrollment, participants will receive follow-up phone calls from their study PT, as well as follow-up assessments at the beginning of the study, and at six and twelve months.

Who is on the research team?

Principal Investigator: Dr. Linda Li PT, PhD; Professor, University of British Columbia; Senior Research Scientist, Arthritis Research Canada


  • Dr, Diane Lacaille, MD, MHSc, FRCPC, Senior Scientist, Arthritis Research Canada; Professor and Associate Head Academic Affairs, Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia
  • Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, PT, PhD, Professor, Department of Physiotherapy, University of British Columbia
  • Catherine Backman, PhD, OT(C), FCAOT, Professor and Head, Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy, University of British Columbia; Research Scientist, Arthritis Research Canada
  • Chris Shaw, PhD, Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University
  • Dr. John Esdaile, MD, MPH, FRCPC, Scientific Director, Arthritis Research Canada; Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia
  • Rob Petrella, MD, PhD, Professor, School of Kinesiology, Western University
  • Lynne Feehan, BScPT, MSc, PhD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Physiotherapy, University of British Columbia
  • Paul Adam, MSW, Rheumatology Liaison and Outreach Services Coordinator, Mary Pack Arthritis Program
  • Kimberly Miller, BScPT, MSc, PhD, Senior Leader, Clinical Education & Special Projects, Rehabilitation & Development Management, Sunny Hill Centre for Children; Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, SFU


  • Charles Goldsmith, MSc, PhD, Professor, Biostatistics, Simon Fraser University
  • Alison Hoens, PT, KB, BC Support Unit
  • Cheryl Koehn, President, Arthritis Consumer Experts

Technology Partner: Tactica Interactive

Want to participate?


If you would like to take part in this study or seek more information, click here or contact:  


Johnathan Tam, Research Coordinator

Ph: 604-207-4027

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