It is a very ambitious goal--to minimize the burden of musculoskeletal disorders in the United States by 2025. Very ambitious to be sure, and perhaps unrealistic at least until "minimize" is more precisely defined, but it is one of the proposed goals for the USBJI discussed by USBJI Board members at their December meeting.
Musculoskeletal disorders remain the most common cause of disability among adults in the US and around the world. Minimizing the burden of musculoskeletal disorders will have a tremendous impact on the health, happiness, and productivity of all people everywhere. How can USBJI do it? Well we certainly can't do it alone, and maybe this will have to be redefined in more realistic incremental steps. However, USBJI is not alone.
We are a unique organization that provides an interdisciplinary forum for more than 100 organizations representing health professionals, schools, industry, government, and (most importantly) people with musculoskeletal conditions. We come together with the task of finding common ground and areas to collaborate in the quest of our goal. During 2014, we will publish the final strategic plan with all the goals set for the next few years, and in aggregate they will cover a narrowly focused set of areas on which we believe the broader musculoskeletal community feels is in the interests of all and able to raise the priority of bone and joint disorders. Some of the ways that USBJI has been able to be effective in recent years, in 2013, and its plans for the coming year are listed here:
- Participants in the USBJI's Young Investigators Initiative have reached nearly $200 million in approved grants as a result of their participation in the program, representing nearly 500 grants;
- USBJI will publish in 2014 an updated edition of The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States: Prevalence, Societal and Economic Cost (BMUS) an important data resource for researchers, health policy experts, and anyone drafting advocacy communications;
- The Chronic Osteoarthritis Management Initiative will issue recommendations on actions to create a Model of Care for the Management of Osteoarthritis, and groups will begin work on those areas;
- Recommendations from the recent USBJI Summit on Best Practices in Patient-centered Musculoskeletal Care will shortly be issued, and incorporated into the strategic plan;
- USBJI held a record number of 118 public education sessions in 2013 (including our 500th session of Fit to a T);
- From less than half of medical schools offering no required instruction in musculoskeletal to undergraduate medical students, now more than 83% offer some form of required instruction in this area.
Our work is not finished yet, we have a lot more to do, and an optimal outcome cannot be achieved without the involvement of the whole musculoskeletal community. Please join me in welcoming another year of interdisciplinary collaboration through the USBJI. Together we will minimize the burden of musculoskeletal disorders.
Steve Gnatz, MD, MHA