HSS Early Arthritis Initiative

Early Arthritis Initiative of the Inflammatory Arthritis Center

The HSS Early Arthritis Initiative, a division of the Inflammatory Arthritis Center, was established to: 1) promote the early identification and treatment of arthritis, 2) support research efforts to determine more effective treatment and prevention strategies for arthritis, and 3) provide essential support and education for people with a new diagnosis of inflammatory arthritis.

Patients are given rapid access to arthritis doctors, allowing better and faster treatment of their joint problems. Recent research has shown that early diagnosis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis can dramatically change the course of the disease. Patients who wait too long to be evaluated and treated may miss out on a narrow window of opportunity to prevent unnecessary destruction of their joints. It is integral to our mission to raise public awareness about the benefits of early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, through outreach and community education.

The HSS Early Arthritis Initiative connects patients quickly and efficiently with a rheumatologist who can evaluate their joint pain and get each patient started on an appropriate course of treatment. If special studies are needed, such as blood tests, x-rays, MRI or ultrasound, these are arranged quickly. World-class rheumatologists apply the latest research findings in the care of their patients to help them remain fully active and without pain.

Treatments may include medication for inflammation, medication to prevent joint damage, referrals for exercise and physical therapy, and/or advice about nutrition and supplements. Patients also have the opportunity to learn about what is going on in the world of rheumatology research that could potentially improve their care.

The EAI also offers innovative support and education programs and lectures for people facing a new diagnosis. These programs help people learn how to best manage the physical and emotional impact of the illness, both from healthcare providers with expertise in RA, and peers who are facing similar issues.

For information about the The Early RA Support and Education Program, please contact Joan Westreich, LCSW, Social Work Coordinator at 212.774.7378 or westreichj@hss.edu.