NACDD Arthritis Program Connects with More than 17,000 Practicing and Future Physical Therapists at the 2018 APTA Combined Sections Meeting

The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors’ (NACDD) Arthritis Initiative is in year two of a five-year collaborative project working with physical therapists (PTs) nationwide to increase awareness, enrollment, and completion rates for the Walk With Ease (WWE) Self-Directed intervention. As part of continued efforts to recruit PTs, Natasha McCoy, NACDD Senior Public Health Consultant, staffed a NACDD exhibit booth at the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) Combined Sections Meeting, held Feb. 21-24, 2018, in New Orleans, Louisiana. McCoy showcased materials from the Arthritis Physical Therapist Marketing project, a former NACDD effort coordinated with CDC Arthritis and partners, in addition to promoting the $4,000 grant opportunity for APTA state chapters and PT clinics. The APTA Marketing project concluded with development of a toolkit of materials, specifically for physical therapists and their patients, addressing six arthritis appropriate evidence-based interventions showing proven ability to help reduce the burden of arthritis. This year’s APTA Combined Sections Meeting planners celebrated an attendance of more than 17,000 PTs, PT assistants, and PT students. As described by CDC, the WWE intervention was developed by the University of North Carolina for the Arthritis Foundation as a way to encourage people with arthritis to start walking and stay motivated to keep active. WWE helps people learn to walk safely and develop the habit of walking regularly. While walking is the central activity, WWE is a multi-component program that includes health education, strengthening and stretching exercises, and motivational strategies. The WWE group class is offered throughout the United States and is moderated by certified instructors. The WWE self-guided format offers similar instruction through guidebook available for purchase online on the Arthritis Foundation webpage. WWE is best suited for people with arthritis who want to increase their physical activity levels, and are able to stand on their feet for at least 10 minutes without increased pain. The program may also be appropriate for people with other chronic conditions—such as diabetes and heart disease—who want to be more active. Program participants can include current and past patients who would benefit from a walking program. More information about WWE and self-directed support tools are available online. For more information about the WWE Mini-Grant Opportunity for Physical Therapists, please contact Natasha McCoy at

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