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CreakyJoints Español Awarded $1Million Grant to Promote Health Equity and Improve Health Outcomes Among Hispanics Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation Awards Its First Grant for Rheumatoid Arthritis During Hispanic Heritage Month

UPPER NYACK, NY (October 6, 2020) –CreakyJoints® Español, a digital patient community en Español for people with all forms of arthritis and part of the Global Healthy Living Foundation, today announced that the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation has funded the “RA Hispanic Outreach Program,” a $1 million, two-year grant to improve relationships between Hispanic people living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and rheumatologists. The grant includes creation and dissemination of evidence-based education about RA, developed in patient-friendly formats and language. The project will include assembling an advisory council of Hispanic patients with RA and rheumatologists to collaboratively develop and evaluate educational materials to achieve culturally sensitive and patient friendly interventions that can become part of established care, if found effective.

“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted what we already knew to be true: Hispanics and other communities of color face structural and systemic inequities that contribute to poor access to health care. The Hispanic community faces further barriers related to a lack of understanding of the cultural traditions and attitudes that influence healthcare decision-making,” said Daniel Hernandez, MD, Director of Medical Affairs and Hispanic Outreach. “Through this program, we’ll employ culturally sensitive approaches to achieve better health literacy about RA within the patient community and drive people to take a more proactive approach to managing a complex, chronic condition. We know that if we can improve communication between doctors and their patients, we can expect better health outcomes.”

RA Hispanic Outreach Program Measures Engagement

Although the Hispanic population is the largest minority in the United States, composed of nearly 60 million Americans there are limited disease-specific resources for this community. According to Pew Hispanic Research, 71 percent of Hispanics obtain health information through their social networks, and 79 percent of them act on this information. Also, 41 percent reported making a medical decision regarding the treatment of an illness or medical condition due to some form of outreach.

The RA Hispanic Outreach Program to be created by CreakyJoints Español will develop and test patient-centered outcomes and create educational materials that are culturally appropriate and patient friendly. Materials will be developed, then disseminated digitally and in partnership with rheumatology pilot sites, Hispanic community organizations and key opinion leaders. Part of the goal is to use findings to train clinicians to deliver culturally competent care and patient education to develop stronger more-trusting relationships.

“We are excited to support Global Healthy Living Foundation and their efforts to deliver accurate and culturally sensitive RA education through the RA Hispanic Outreach Program,” said John Damonti, president, Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation. “This program aligns perfectly with our commitment to health equity, which focuses on raising disease awareness and education, increasing health care access and improving outcomes for medically underserved populations. It will improve how Hispanic people living with RA communicate with their physicians and make decisions about their health care.”

Using CreakyJoints Español digital channels, the organization will use online evaluation methods to develop and test patient-centered outcomes measures. The participatory nature of the study will allow the team to add patient outcome measures during the early phases of the study, thereby increasing the flexibility and comprehensiveness of the program. Online communication and participation via websites and social media with analytics will help ensure the measured outcomes are meaningful to a medically underserved community to improve health equity and outcomes.

Recognizing that social media is the most frequent source of medical information for people in the Hispanic community, the program will use novel and innovative methods to create mobile-first content designed for best use on mobile phones but also available on tablets, websites, television, podcasts, radio or print.

“We created CreakyJoints Español to meet the needs of Hispanic communities looking for evidence-based advice about managing the different forms of arthritis. We are gratified to see engagement with our platforms grow as we’ve introduced programming related to Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient Guidelines, our Spanish-language COVID-19 resources, and our research, such as the our COVID-19 patient research registry, ProyectoCovid19.org and ArthritisPower, a bone, joint and skin condition patient registry,” said Louis Tharp, executive director and co-founder of CreakyJoints and the Global Healthy Living Foundation. “We thank the BMS Foundation for their generous award and look forward to implementing and reporting on how our interventions are positively impacting how patients in the Hispanic community are managing their RA.”

About Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation

The Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation promotes health equity and seeks to improve the health outcomes of populations disproportionately affected by serious diseases by strengthening healthcare worker capacity, integrating medical care and community-based supportive services, and mobilizing communities in the fight against disease. The Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation engages partners to develop, test, sustain and spread innovative clinic-community partnerships to help patients access care and support for cancer in the U.S., China, Africa, and Brazil and for cardiovascular diseases, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis in the United States. For more information about Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, visit us at BMS.com/Foundation.

About CreakyJoints Español

CreakyJoints Español offers a repository of Spanish language arthritis educational information at http://creakyjoints.org.es and engages with the Spanish-speaking arthritis community via its social media channel: @creakyjoints_esp (Instagram). CreakyJoints Español is conducting longitudinal research about the evolving impact of COVID-19 on people living with arthritis in English and Spanish via the Autoimmune COVID-19 Project.

CreakyJoints is a digital community for millions of arthritis patients and caregivers worldwide who seek education, support, advocacy, and patient-centered research. We represent patients through our popular social media channels, our websites www.CreakyJoints.org, https://creakyjoints.org.es/, www.creakyjoints.org.au, and the 50-State Network, which includes more than 1,500 trained volunteer patient, caregiver and healthcare activists.

As part of the Global Healthy Living Foundation, CreakyJoints also has a patient-reported outcomes registry called ArthritisPower® (ArthritisPower.org) with more than 29,000 consented patients with joint, bone, GI and inflammatory skin conditions who track their disease while volunteering to participate in longitudinal and observational research. CreakyJoints also publishes the popular “Raising the Voice of Patients” series, which are downloadable patient-centered educational and navigational tools for managing chronic illness. It also hosts PainSpot (PainSpot.org), a digital risk assessment tool for musculoskeletal conditions and injuries. For more information and to become a member (for free), visit www.CreakyJoints.org.

Find us on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/creakyjoints and https://www.facebook.com/GlobalHealthyLivingFoundation/

Twitter: @GHLForg, @CreakyJoints, #CreakyChats

Instagram: @creaky_joints, @creakyjoints_aus, @creakyjoints_esp