A letter to our FORWARD community,
This is a challenging time, one in which most of us are having to take precautions and steps that have disrupted our usual daily life. Whether it’s our health or our finances, things are changing quickly.
I wanted to remind you that your contributions to our research are more valued now than ever! We have listened to you and put in place a new web-based questionnaire to make it easier to complete our biannual questionnaires. It also allows us to add questions about high-priority topics such as COVID-19 on short notice.
FORWARD has joined an impromptu group of world experts studying what rheumatologists and other physicians are observing and doing with their rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease patients. We will soon be asking you about any new symptoms you may be experiencing, what treatments you may be using, and if you were tested for or developed COVID-19. This may provide valuable information to health care providers going forward to help make decisions about how to treat patients with rheumatic diseases who get COVID-19.
We also understand that this topic may be a source of anxiety for you. Anxiety can disrupt our physical health. Personally, my gut has been bothering me in ways I haven’t felt since I was in the last few weeks of my PhD – another time of stress. So while these questions are always optional, do know that you are not alone (even if you are home alone) in having concerns and questions about what is best to do now.
On this page are several links providing advice on what you can do for yourself – we’ve provided the highest quality information we could find and will update it regularly on our website and social media. We also hope that during this time of greater physical isolation that you’ll continue participating by answering our questionnaire. We are happy to talk with you on the phone to answer questions you may have.
Your continued support makes it possible for us to do research on timely and critical topics that impact patients with rheumatic diseases. During this time your help is needed most.
Thank you again – be safe, be strong.
Kaleb Michaud, PhD
The National Databank for Rheumatic Diseases