Update: Meetings of the Advisory Council on Arthritis and Related Diseases have concluded for 2017. Effective October 1, 2017, there will be a new State Advisory Council on Health and Wellness. This Council will include an Arthritis Committee.
The mission of the Council is to promote, support, enrich, and improve the quality of life of individuals with arthritis and related diseases. The Council works collaboratively with a broad range of agencies and organizations in order to accomplish these core goals:
- Collect, assemble, and disseminate educational information among Marylanders suffering from arthritis and their families.
- Promote the benefits of physical activity programs as a means of improving the lives of people with arthritis and also make these programs more available to the public. The Maryland State Advisory Council on Physical Fitness began as the State Commission on Physical Fitness in 1963 and is the oldest State Physical Fitness Council in the United States. The duties of the Council are stipulated in Health - General Article, §§ 13-401 through 13-412, Annotated Code of Maryland. The Council is composed of a multidisciplinary, volunteer group of 25 Governor-appointed Maryland citizens. The Office of Chronic Disease Prevention provides staff support to the Council.
In 1981, a Governor's Task Force on Arthritis was established to study the arthritis burden in Maryland, and a Maryland Commission on Arthritis and Related Diseases was subsequently appointed by the Governor in 1985, followed by the State Advisory Council on Arthritis and Related Diseases in 1989 under the direction of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH). In 2002, an amendment was passed to establish an Arthritis Prevention and Control Program in DHMH, and to revise some power and duties of the members of the Council.
Roles of the Council
- To recommend an integrated State program of education and applied research in gerontology and geriatrics;
- To develop and coordinate programs in vocational rehabilitation and industry designed to assist individuals with arthritis to remain productive members of the State's workforce;
- To coordinate the development of a strategic plan of patient education throughout the State, involving state and local health departments, private agencies, pharmaceutical companies, medical schools, and related professional organizations;
- To address gaps in the delivery of State service and to make recommendations designed to contain costs associated with arthritis prevention, treatment and vocational training;
- To coordinate the activities of public and private agencies, medical schools, and related professional groups to improve quality of life for individuals with arthritis and their families;
- To make any other recommendations for carrying out the purposes of the Program as provided in the Arthritis Prevention and Control Act