RA Programs

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Support and Education Programs

A diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can present enormous physical and emotional challenges. A person with RA is confronted with the tasks of:

  • understanding a chronic illness;
  • managing a host of symptoms;
  • choosing among complex treatment options; and
  • coping with potential changes in independence, self-esteem, work and family roles.

To help people better understand and cope with a diagnosis of  RA, Hospital for Special Surgery’s Inflammatory Arthritis Center and Early Arthritis Initiative offer two free support and education programs for people with RA.  Each of these programs is specifically designed to address the particular needs of  people with RA at different phases of their journey with this illness.

These programs:

  • provide essential information from a wide range of health care professionals such as doctors, nurses, physical therapists, nutritionists and social workers. The information provided in these workshops helps participants to make informed decisions about management and treatment of RA;
  •  offer peer support that many people find helpful in coping with the impact of the diagnosis; and
  • create a welcoming forum in which members can share their experiences and feelings about their daily challenges with this illness, and strategies they use to cope

In Our Members' Own Words

  • I can’t imagine how scary and overwhelming this would be without this group - the people, the setting, the information, and the support it provides. I don’t feel alone, and I think this is a huge part of coping with my RA.
  • “I feel empowered to take a leading role on decisions associated with my care.  I am less afraid about the implications of having this condition and I am also more aware of how I can protect myself from the risks associated with it.”
  • "I feel less alone … knowing there are a whole bunch of people I can talk with that are living with the disease. That gave me enough strength to move forward. I tried online support groups but this is very different and I believe so much better.”
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RA Programs Brochure

Support Program Summaries

HSS offers a number of free programs that reflect our comprehensive approach to care for people with lupus, myositis and rheumatoid arthritis.