Nearly 100 Million Americans a Year Identify Bone and Joint Disorders as Their Number One Health Concern
Orthopaedic surgeons, patients, and researchers are headed to Capitol Hill today to raise awareness about the debilitating and costly musculoskeletal diseases and disorders afflicting millions of Americans and to request continued support for musculoskeletal research. This event, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ (AAOS) Research Capitol Hill Days, will bring advocates together to urge Congress to appropriate $535.6 million in Fiscal Year 2013 for the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), and to maintain a static level of funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which includes NIAMS.
“If Americans are to be freed from the personal, societal, and financial burdens of musculoskeletal conditions, improved treatments and eventual cures must be found,” said AAOS President John R. Tongue, MD. “These innovations will require an investment in both basic science and clinical research performed at the NIH.”
Nearly one in every three Americans has a musculoskeletal condition requiring medical attention. Research Capitol Hill Days seeks to put a face to these statistics and ensure that members of Congress keep musculoskeletal research a high priority on the U.S. political and fiscal agenda. Orthopaedic patients, representing a diverse range of ages and conditions, will offer legislators their personal stories about how research and new treatments have benefited their health and will stress the need for increased investments to continue these medical advancements.
“Millions of Americans suffer from disabling musculoskeletal disorders, but because of innovative treatments developed through medical research, patients like me have been able to return to their everyday activities,” said Pamela Schroeder, an orthopaedic patient and Research Capitol Hill Days participant. “Research Capitol Hill Days allows me to tell my story and get the word out about the importance of research funding to continue to improve the technology available to restore mobility to patients with musculoskeletal disorders.”
Musculoskeletal diseases and disorders cost the U.S. economy approximately $850 billion annually and represent nearly 8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. Despite the costly nature of musculoskeletal conditions, funding for orthopaedic research has grown slowly. While the NIH budget was doubled over the course of the last decade, the NIAMS budget has not reflected the same level of support. NIAMS facilitates critical research that ultimately could reduce the cost of care.
“NIAMS research is critical to developing new treatments that get patients back to work and reduce spending on healthcare and federal aid programs,” said President Tongue. “NIH needs a predictable and sustainable research budget to adequately address the epidemic of musculoskeletal disease.”