Future Endeavors

The Rheumatology Unit aims to develop an Arthritis Center and an Autoinflammatory Disease Center at Hadassah Medical Center. The overall goal of these centers will be to diagnose these diseases and decrease the physical, economic, and psychosocial impact of arthritis and related musculoskeletal disease on individuals and communities. To achieve this objective, our unit is in the midst of developing a variety of educational, epidemiological, biomedical research, and community services research projects.

Education Objective
Our education objective is to develop education programs about arthritis in order to improve the quality of arthritis education for health professionals who interact with arthritic patients. Physicians training in internal medicine need to be motivated to study rheumatic disease and positions need to be made available for fellowship training through appropriate funding. Our center needs to play a greater role in community education via radio, cable television, internet, etc. Specific projects will include the preparation of Hebrew pamphlets and resource materials for health professionals and the public.

Epidemiological Component
Our aim in this regard is to define the scope of rheumatic diseases and determine the impact of arthritis-related disability on Israeli society in general and the labor force in particular. Specific projects would include the study of incidence, prevalence, and social impact of different rheumatic illnesses among various cohorts of Israeli society. In addition, we will evaluate the effect of total arthritis management on such factors as work, school, social interaction, etc. The reliability and validity of available instruments, such as the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales (AIMS), Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) will be tested within the social and cultural environments of Israel. If unreliable, new instruments for evaluating health care delivery in this area will need development.

Biomedical Research Objective
A well-equipped research laboratory is essential. Clinical research projects will be administered by a full-time clinical coordinator whose job will be to procure patients, administer questionnaires, carry out evaluations and verify patient compliance with study protocol.

Community Program Objective
This objective will develop and maintain a comprehensive system of arthritis care for the urban population of Jerusalem and surrounding rural areas. Additionally, we will develop programs that emphasize the elderly and home-bound members of the community, as well as programs for children suffering from rheumatic disease and their immediate families. Other efforts would include conducting health services research efforts into major non-biological aspects of rheumatic disease. We believe that an arthritis center without a strong community commitment would be unable to meet the overall objective stated above.