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Maryland Arthritis Project Program Overview

Arthritis is a leading cause of disability and is a highly prevalent disease in Maryland.  According to the 2009 Maryland BRFSS, there were an estimated 1,078,000 adults with a doctor diagnosis of arthritis (26% of adults) and 518,435 additional adults with chronic joint symptoms that could possibly be undiagnosed arthritis (13% of adults).  About 469,000 Maryland adults had activity limitation due to joint symptoms in 2009.  The CDC estimated that arthritis and other rheumatic conditions cost Maryland a total of $ 2.5 billion in 2003.  The impact of arthritis is expected to increase dramatically as the "baby boomers" age.

The Maryland Arthritis Project

With funding from CDC, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) established the Maryland Arthritis Project in 1999.  Through the Maryland Arthritis Project, DHMH engaged in the following grant activities during the grant period from 1999 to 2008.

Surveillance

Maryland arthritis data was collected in the 2003, 2005 and 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys, and the University of Maryland used this data to analyze arthritis trends in the state. The 2003 data was combined with information from the Maryland Hospital Discharge Database and the Maryland Health Care Commission's Medical Database to produce two status reports on the impact of arthritis in Maryland, one for health professionals, and another for health care consumers.

Intervention Programs

The Arthritis Project has provided funding to local area agencies on aging and local health departments to implement evidence-based intervention programs throughout the state. These interventions include the Arthritis Foundation's Exercise and Aquatics programs. Leader trainings for these interventions also were funded, to insure adequate program instructors are available statewide.

Media and Educational Activities

A variety of means were used to educate the lay public and health professionals about the burden of arthritis in Maryland, as well as proven methods to reduce the impact of arthritis on patients and their families. Radio shows and interviews with arthritis professionals and rheumatologists were conducted, and the CDC's media campaign for physical activity was promoted in the Baltimore public transit system. Educational materials including brochures, fact sheets, booklets, and posters were distributed at health fairs and other public events. Adaptive promotional items also were given out at these events, including jar openers, bottle openers, key rings and stress balls.

State Plan

Beginning in 2000, the Maryland Advisory Council on Arthritis and Related Diseases provided guidance in developing The Arthritis State Plan--goals, objectives and action steps to carry out the mission of the Arthritis Project. The first State Plan was developed in 2006, and the plan has been revised periodically as needed as goals are met.

Funding Under National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NCADD)

EnhanceFitness Program Participants, Easton, MarylandBeginning in 2008, The Maryland Arthritis Project began receiving funding under a grant from the NCADD. For the past three years, the focus of this grant has been to promote and expand the statewide implementation of two evidence-based educational and physical activity programs that improve the health and well-being of those living with arthritis: the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP), and the EnhanceFitness Program. This was done primarily through the dissemination of mini-grants to local health departments and area agencies on aging.

Through partnership with the Maryland Department of Aging, master trainer and leader trainings have been held for both of these interventions to create a solid instructor base for these programs in the community. To date, CDSMP has been offered in seven counties, and EnhanceFitness has been offered in nine counties.

For more information about the Chronic Disease Self Management Program, click here.

For more information about EnhanceFitness, click here

For more information, please contact:

Jade Leung, M.S.
Chief, Div. of Injury & Disability Prevention
Center for Health Promotion
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
201 West Preston Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
410-767-2919
410-333-7903 Fax
leungj@dhmh.state.md.us