May 04 2007

Letter to the Editor: Arthritis legislation

Anniston Star

The Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act has been re-introduced in Congress for the third time. The APCCA would, in part, establish pediatric rheumatology fellowships and a loan forgiveness plan to encourage more medical students to pursue a career in pediatric rheumatology.

Currently, Alabama is one of several states without a pediatric rheumatologist. The APCCA also would strengthen the arthritis research platform by ensuring that the limited federal funding for arthritis research is used in the most strategic manner possible. The bill also would expand public health response to arthritis by strengthening arthritis public health initiatives, which would ensure that more people are diagnosed early, thereby avoiding pain and permanent disability.

We are elated that Sen. Richard Shelby was an original co-sponsor of the APCCA 2007. As a respected veteran senator, his sponsorship of this bill represents a significant contribution toward changing the lives of Alabama's children and adults with arthritis.

We are pleased that Congressmen Spencer Bachus, Jo Bonner, Artur Davis and Mike Rogers are again co-sponsors of the House bill. Sen. Jeff Sessions and Congressmen Robert Aderholt, Bud Cramer Jr. and Terry Everett have joined as co-sponsors, giving Alabama a clean sweep with U.S. policymakers.

Alabama and Rhode Island are the only states in the nation with this distinction. Please thank your representatives for their leadership on this important legislation.

Cindy Criswell Ducker
Arthritis Foundation, Alabama Chapter