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Arthritis Foundation Georgia Chapter

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Georgia Residents Lobby Congress to Fight Arthritis

Atlanta, GA, February 20, 2009 --( Key Arthritis Advocates from all over Ga. will be on Capitol Hill from March 2-4, 2009 as part of the Arthritis Foundation’s 11th annual Advocacy and Kids’ Summit. Several Georgia children and adults who have arthritis will meet with members of Congress to let them know that more needs to be done for people with arthritis – more research, more public health initiatives and better access to arthritis treatments. Attendees also will receive an introduction to how Congress works and learn about the Arthritis Foundation’s Advocacy Priorities for 2009.

The Advocacy Awards Dinner will be held during the Summit to recognize and thank advocates, as well as volunteers and staff, who champion the needs of the 46 million Americans with arthritis.

The most important piece of legislation that advocates will address in meetings with members of Congress will be the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act. The legislation comes at a critical time, with the staggering prevalence of arthritis continuing to rise due to the aging baby boomer population. In addition to the pain and suffering caused by the disease, arthritis also exacts a hefty financial toll, costing the U.S. economy an unfathomable $128 billion annually.

Currently, National Institutes of Health funding amounts to less than $8 per person with arthritis. Funding for arthritis research has steadily declined since 2003, despite the annual increases in people diagnosed with the disease. At the same time, federal appropriations for public health efforts to help prevent arthritis and further disability have leveled off.

“The fact that such a small amount of money is dedicated to helping those with this debilitating disease is reprehensible,” said Robert Shaw, president of the Georgia chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. “We will be attending the Summit to speak with members of Congress and encourage them to do the right thing – provide more funding for the 46 million people with arthritis who need help.”

The Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act once enacted will:

Invest in a nationwide public health initiative designed to reduce the pain and disability of arthritis through early diagnosis and effective treatment of the disease. Ensure the 300,000 children with arthritis in the U.S. have access to care by addressing the nationwide shortage of pediatric rheumatologists (many states do not have a single pediatric rheumatologist to provide care to children in need). Those unable to speak directly to their representatives at this year’s landmark Advocacy and Kids’ Summit are encouraged to write their representatives.

About the Arthritis Foundation
The Arthritis Foundation is the leading health organization addressing the needs of some 46 million Americans living with arthritis, the nation’s most common cause of disability. Founded in 1948, with headquarters in Atlanta, the Arthritis Foundation has multiple service points located throughout the country. The Arthritis Foundation is the largest private, not-for-profit contributor to arthritis research in the world, funding more than $400 million in research grants since 1948. The foundation helps individuals take control of arthritis by providing public health education; pursuing public policy and legislation; and conducting evidence-based programs to improve the quality of life for those living with arthritis. Information is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-283-7800.

Contact Information
Arthritis Foundation Georgia Chapter
Meredith Boyd

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