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About RA Matters

Find out more about RA Matters

About RA Matters

The RA Matters Content Hub is sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company and aims to provide unbiased, useful and productive resources for the RA community.

Welcome to RA Matters!

If you’ve discovered our website,then the chances are that you or someone you care about has been affected by rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Whether you are someone who has recently been diagnosed with the condition or you have a friend or family member living with RA, RA Matters seeks to share different perspectives on the full reality of life with RA –challenging perceptions and elevating what matters most.

Life with RA should not be a compromise. It should be about taking control of the condition and not being defined by it. Most importantly, it should prioritize what matters most to each individual living with RA.

We understand that people living with RA are not only face debilitating pain and fatigue, they bear an emotional burden that makes them compromise some of the most fundamental aspects of life –like spending time with friends and family, having a job or going on holiday. RA Matters is a social site dedicated to helping the RA community, by providing a platform to share insights into how RA affects an individual’s life, from their work to personal relationships.

The RA Matters Content Hub is sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company and aims to provide unbiased, useful and productive resources for the RA community. It is our goal to support people living with RA not to compromise their ambitions and supporting them to live the best lives possible.

Meet our editorial board

Dr. Henry Averns, Consultant Rheumatologist; President, Ontario Rheumatology Association

Dr. John Esdaile, Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia; Scientific Director, Arthritis Research Canada

Karen Tsui, Physiotherapist, Advanced Clinician Practitioner in Arthritis Care

Claire Jeffries, Physiotherapy Clinical Specialist for Hydrotherapy and Rheumatology, Solent NHS Trust

Neil Betteridge, Director, Neil Betteridge Associates

Cheryl Koehn, Founder and President, ACE Canada

Annette McKinnon, Patient Advisor

Dawn Richards, Vice President, Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance

Meet our editorial board

Dr. Henry Averns
Kingston Ontario, Canada

Consultant Rheumatologist, President Ontario Rheumatology Association

Dr. Henry Averns spent 11 years as a consultant rheumatologist in the UK. In 2006 he moved to Canada to work in the Division of Rheumatology at Queens University, and more recently he has practiced in the community in Kingston.

He is currently the President of the Ontario Rheumatology Association. In rheumatology his interests are care of the indigenous population.

John M. Esdaile, MD, MPH, FRCPC, FCAHS, MACR
Vancouver British Columbia, Canada

Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia;Scientific Director, Arthritis Research Canada

Dr. John Esdaile was partly responsible for founding the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada/Arthrite-recherche Canada (ARC), of which he was named Scientific Director. Arthritis Research Canada has grown to more than 70 scientists and research assistants, located at three centres across Canada; Vancouver, Calgary and Quebec City.

Dr. Esdaile has authored more than 200 publications in refereed journals, as well as more than two dozen books and book chapters. His areas of research interest include systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. He has focused on early diagnosis and early intervention as key elements of improving outcome.

Dr. Esdaile was elected a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2007. Other awards include the 2005 Canadian Rheumatology Association Distinguished Investigator Award, the 2009 UBC Killam Research Prize for Science, the 2009 Canadian Arthritis Network Consumer Champion Award, the 2010 Roger Demers Prize and the 2013 Jonas Salk Award.

Karen Tsui
Vancouver British Columbia, Canada

Physiotherapist, Advanced Clinician Practitioner in Arthritis Care

Karen Tsui is an inflammatory arthritis patient, advanced practice arthritis physiotherapist, and an adjunct professor (rheumatology) for the Masters of Physical Therapy program at the University of British Columbia.

She works in inflammatory arthritis care for Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health Authorities in British Columbia, Canada, and advocates for the patient voice in arthritis research as a member of the Patient Advisory Board to Arthritis Research Canada.

Karen completed her Masters in Physiotherapy at McMaster University, and then her Advanced Clinician Practitioner in Arthritis Care (ACPAC) post-licensure certificate through the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine.

Claire Jeffries
Portsmouth, UK

Physiotherapy Clinical Specialist for Hydrotherapy & Rheumatology, Solent NHS Trust

Claire Jeffries is Physiotherapy Manager and Clinical Specialist in Hydrotherapy and Rheumatology working for Solent NHS Trust. She has worked in the field of rheumatology since 2003.

Working both in primary and secondary care clinics Claire has a unique position of facilitating holistic care across the whole patient journey within healthcare.

A large part of Claire’s patient work involves trying to engage patients in exercise for the treatment of their rheumatology condition and in particular trying to facilitate long term independent compliance.

Claire advocates finding the right form of exercises and activity for each individual patient and feels strongly that this canbe the key to a patient’s life-long commitment to better health and control of their condition.

Cheryl Koehn
Vancouver British Columbia, Canada

Founder and President of ACE

Cheryl Koehn is an arthritis advocate, community leader, published author and rheumatoid arthritis survivor for 28 years. Cheryl has dedicated her life to helping others living with arthritis as well as people with other chronic diseases. She is thefounder and president of Arthritis Consumer Experts, Canada’s first national, patient-led organisation that provides science-based information and education programmes in both official languages to people with arthritis.

Cheryl served as Co-Chair of the Summit on Standards for Arthritis Prevention and Care, co-founded the Best Medicines Coalition, and was the two-time Chair of the Better Pharmacare Coalition. She is the immediate past consumer representative Board Member of the Arthritis Alliance of Canada.

As one of world's leading arthritis advocates, Cheryl provides a patient perspective on arthritis health and policy issues across to governments, private payers, employers, healthcare professionals, and media. She is a frequently invited speaker at national and international arthritis and health-related conferences. Cheryl is also an active research partner participating in numerous current research projects in Canada and internationally.

In her leadership role at Arthritis Consumer Experts, Cheryl has led the development of numerous information and education innovations to the arthritis community, including the ArthritisID and Arthritis ID PRO iPhone apps, Arthritis Broadcast Network blog, the annual JointHealth™ Arthritis Medications Report Card and Canada's Best Workplaces for Employees Living with Arthritis Award. Along with co-authors Dr. John Esdaile and Taysha Palmer, Cheryl authored Rheumatoid Arthritis: PLAN TO WIN, published by Oxford University Press.

Cheryl lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she enjoys ocean swimming, playing tennis, and walking her faithful dog, Molly.

Dawn Richards
Toronto Ontario, Canada

Vice President, Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance

Dawn Richards is a science and patient consultant, with a PhD in analytical chemistry. Her diagnosis with rheumatoid arthritis nearly a decade ago instigated her career journey to combine her passion for science and make the most of her diagnosis. She helps clientsfrom many sectors translate research findings in to lay language, engage patients and incorporate the patient perspective, and develop programs that will impact patients and the public.

As a volunteer patient advocate, Dawn is Vice President of the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance, a Research Ambassador for CIHR’s Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis, and a member of The BMJ’s Patient Panel Reviewers. She advocates for arthritis awareness, access to therapy, the inclusion of patients in decision-making and as research collaborators, and the importance of research.

Annette McKinnon
Toronto Ontario, Canada

Patient Advisor, Steering Committee, Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance

Annette McKinnon has had Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 30 years and has seen great positive change in the way RA is treated. A background in project management left her prepared for an active involved retirement centering on social media and healthcare. Starting with blogging and going on to Twitter and Tweet chats opened new worlds of support.

Annette is the online moderator for the annual Reaching Out with Arthritis Research (eROAR) event of the Arthritis Patient Advisory Board of the Arthritis Research Center,and also tweets for the Sjögren’s Society of Canada where she has been a board member for 8 years She has been an ePatient Scholar at Stanford’s MedicineX Conference; she is proud to be a member of The Walking Gallery.

As a Health Mentor with the Centre for Inter-Professional Education at the University of Toronto, and a member of several research teams, Annette has learned the value of the patient viewpoint in informing medical education and research.

In an age where patient engagement is increasing, Annette advocates for the patient voice to be included in healthcare decision making at all levels.

Mr Neil Betteridge
London, UK

Director, Neil Betteridge Associates

Neil Betteridge developed arthritis aged three, which had a serious impact on his childhood, and has for much of his career worked as a patient advocate, in rheumatic diseases and generically. He now runs Neil Betteridge Associates (UK), a company offering patient insight at a strategic level to UK and international projects involving industry, patient associations and health professional organizations. Recent clients include the Royal College of Physicians, for whom he developed a new patient involvement strategy.

Neil holds two high-level honorary positions, firstly as International Liaison Officer, Public Affairs, for EULAR, the European Rheumatology network, for whom he has twice served as Vice President; and in the UK he is Co-Chair of the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition.

Formerly CEO of the patient group Arthritis Care (UK), and Chair of the UK umbrella body for arthritis and rheumatic diseases, ARMA, Neil has also been a UK ministerial adviser on both health and disability issues.