October 2003 Bulletin

Celebrate National Awareness Week

October 12-20 draws attention to the Bone and Joint Decade

The second National Awareness Week for the Bone and Joint Decade (BJD) kicked off on Oct. 12. AAOS members, as well as hospitals, specialty associations, nursing groups and patient organizations are working to make sure that this year’s celebration is even more successful than last year’s.

“Our first National Awareness Week in 2002 was a wonderful start,” according to Toby King, executive director of the U.S. BJD. “We accomplished a great deal and learned so much from last year’s events. This year, we’re even better prepared to help the members of participating organizations such as the AAOS reach their patients with the Decade’s messages.”

One of those messages is patient empowerment with increased awareness of prevention and treatment methods. The U.S. BJD is focused on five selected conditions, which together represent 80 percent of the burden of musculoskeletal disease for society: arthritis, back pain, childhood diseases, osteoporosis and trauma.

The second message is the burden of disease, the shocking statistics on how many people are afflicted and the impact on society from lost productivity and increased health care costs. Increased public awareness about the impact musculoskeletal conditions and diseases have on quality of life is the foundation to achieving most of the Decade’s goals, especially for advocating for increased resources for research. But rather than overload the public with a “laundry list” of statistics, King and the Decade are providing a few memorable facts and keeping the overall message positive.

As an example, he cites the efforts of the Orthopaedic Shriners Hospitals in the United States, which are focusing on increasing awareness of osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a genetic disorder also called brittle bone disease. Included in their materials is the story of Sean Stephenson, a 24-year-old motivational speaker who was born with OI.

Another positive example is the introduction of “Mr. StrongBones” and “Joint, the Bone Wonder.” The cartoon characters are especially appealing to children and are featured on posters and stickers available through the U.S. BJD.

Several materials are available to AAOS members to help promote the Decade, including a new brochure expressly for health care professionals, a “Good Moves for Life” brochure for patients, copies of the Presidential Proclamation suitable for framing and display, lapel pins, buttons, posters and stickers. All can be ordered through the U.S. BJD Web site which also has a special section on National Awareness Week.

Getting involved is easy. Here are several steps you can take to increase awareness among your patient base:

To order U.S. BJD materials, e-mail usbjd@usbjd.org with your shipping address and the quantities you need. Small quantities of brochures, lapel pins, buttons, posters and stickers are all available at no cost. To view the materials, visit the U.S. BJD Web site; select “For Health Care Professionals” and “Resources.”

The United States Bone and Joint Decade...in a Nutshell

Goal Benefit
Increase public awarness of the growing burden of musculoskeletal conditions To make the public and health care policy makers aware how significant the burden is, how much greater it is becoming with an aging population, and that resources need to be allocated for research and prevention activities.
Improve patient education To empower patients to participate in their care and thus improve outcomes
Increase resources for research To improve diagnosis, so that better treatment options can be discovered, and the burden of disease reduced.
Improve diagnosis and treatment To improve the quality of care and life as a result of increased research and a better understanding of prevention and treatment options.

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