Patient Educational Seminars


Previous Seminars


  • June 4th, 2014 “How to make taking your medications easier: Learn about a new tool for RA and Lupus patients”

Taking medications as prescribed can be very difficult.  Non-adherence weakens medications benefits.  This seminar outlined typical treatment regimens for RA and lupus, and then focused attention on how to improve adherence with these treatments.  The presenters also described an innovative program currently ongoing at Brigham and Women’s Hospital that helps patients stay adherent with treatments for RA and lupus.

The powerpoint from the presentation is below as well as a link to information on the navigator project.

Medication powerpoint

Patient Navigator Project

  • December 4, 2013 “Speak So You Can be Heard: Cracking the Code to Successful Patient Doctor Communication” Lisa Adelman a Certified Holistic Health Coach.

Being able to communicate with your doctor is essential to getting the best medical care possible. Many patients requested a seminar on how to better communicate with their doctor, so on December 4, 2013, the Patient-Centered Outcome Initiative (PACO) hosted a presentation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital entitled “Speak So You Can be Heard: Cracking the Code to Successful Patient Doctor Communication.” The guest speaker, Lisa Adelman, who is a Certified Executive Coach and Reiki Master, spoke to a group of patients about her twelve year experience living with RA. She offered her unique and insightful knowledge on patient-doctor communication by sharing information on what has worked for her and her clients. Lisa presented this information in a way that could be easily understood and remembered. For instance, she offered the acronym PART (prepare, ask, repeat, take action) as a way to remember what to do at your doctor’s visit.

The documents handed out at the seminar are below.

Empowered Health Acronym

Presentation Handout

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Smartphone Apps

Healthy Recipes

For more information on Lisa please visit her website at


  • September 4, 2013 “Miles to Go Before I Sleep: Sleep Problems in RA” presented by Dr. Yvonne Lee an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a rheumatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA.

On September 4, 2013, The Patient-Centered Outcomes Initiative (PACO) hosted a lecture for arthritis patients, friends, and family members on the relationship between RA and sleep. The seminar was presented by Yvonne Lee, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a rheumatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. Her lecture, entitled “Miles to Go Before I Sleep: Sleep Problems in RA,” discussed the nuances of sleep and then dived into the most common sleep issues RA patients encounter. The audience was actively engaged by Dr. Lee who fielded various questions throughout the night. The lecture concluded with Dr. Lee offering numerous suggestions on how to get a better night’s sleep and some helpful tips on things to avoid which may interfere with the sleep process.

Dr. Lee is also an active member of the research community here at the Brigham. Her focus is on pain and sleep problems in the rheumatic diseases.  Current projects include a longitudinal study to examine the association between widespread pain, sleep problems and functional status among rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.  She is also leading a study to characterize sleep problems in RA through sleep diaries and assessment of “morningness” vs. “eveningness.” Other areas of interest include yoga and cognitive behavioral therapy for the management of pain and sleep problems in RA.

For more information on this lecture and Dr. Lee’s research please see the powerpoint posted below.

Click here for Sleep powerpoint

  • April 2, 2012 “Does What I Eat Make a Difference: Nutrition and Rheumatic Disease” presented by Laura A. Coleman, PhD, RD, an Associate Research Scientist in the Epidemiology Research Center at the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Marshfield, WI.

Dr. Laura Coleman is an Associate Research Scientist in the Epidemiology Research Center at the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Marshfield, WI.  Dr. Coleman obtained her doctorate in Human Nutrition Science from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA, where she concentrated on nutritional immunology in aging and chronic inflammation.  Prior to that, Dr. Coleman worked as a clinical dietitian atMassachusetts GeneralHospital.  She has written multiple peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on nutrition and rheumatic disease over the past decade, focusing primarily on systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.  She also edited a textbook for health care providers, “Nutrition and Rheumatic Disease” (Humana Press).  She currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA)’s award-winning publication, Lupus Now, as well as on the LFAs Patient Education Committee.

For more information please click here to see the video of the event, the PowerPoint presentation and additional responses to questions.


  • May 13, 2010 “Rheumatoid Arthritis: Today and Tomorrow” presented by Dr. Jonathan Coblyn, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

The Arthritis Foundation hosted a presentation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital about Rheumatoid Arthritis treatments. Dr. Jonathan Coblyn spoke about advances in Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment, both what works now and what’s in the pipeline for the future. Dr. Coblyn is the director of the Center for Arthritis and Joint Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Cheryl McDermott spoke about exercise that everyone can do. She is the Exercise Coordinator of the Arthritis Foundation and the Exercise Program Leader of the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, located in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

The attendees found the program very helpful. For more information, please see the flyer about the event.


  • October 29, 2009 “How to improve your sleep – a session for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus patients” presented by Dr. Atul Malhotra, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Getting a good night’s sleep is difficult when dealing with a chronic illness, so many patients requested that sleep be a topic of one of our seminars. On October 29th, 2009, Dr. Atul Malhotra, spoke on “How to Improve Your Sleep: A Session for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus Patients.” Dr. Malhotra is a Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician who specializes in Sleep Medicine and is also the Medical Director of the Sleep Disorders Research Program, a group of about 50 people including doctors, scientists, technicians and students. The Sleep Program is one of only two Academic Sleep Programs of Distinction in the Country.

The seminar focused on addressing issues around poor quality of sleep and what patients can do to remedy this problem. Many patients complained of having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep through the night, and dealing with conditions such as sleep apnea. Poor sleep can greatly affect one’s health. Sleep deprivation, which Dr. Malhotra clarified as sleeping only five hours a night instead of seven or eight, can result in increased weight gain, which can lead to more serious health complications, and increased risk of heart attack.

Many people with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus deal with chronic pain that keeps them up all night, inhibiting them from having a good night’s sleep. While many report that it is the pain that keeps them from sleeping well, recently doctors have started to think that the opposite might be true: that poor sleep causes increased pain the next day. Studies have shown that when people are sleep deprived their pain threshold is lower, meaning they are more sensitive to pain when they are tired. While no one may be sure which causes which, the pain or the poor sleep, focusing on getting better sleep may help reduce pain in the future. There may be other factors besides pain that cause poor sleep, like other sleep conditions or lifestyle behaviors. Treating or modifying some of these may help. If you are interested in learning more or setting up an appointment, Dr. Malhotra’s sleep clinic can be contacted at 617-783-1441

  • May 27, 2009 “All about caring for your feet – foot care for the arthritis patient” presented by Dr. James P. Ioli, podiatrist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

On May 27th, Dr. Ioli gave a presentation on foot care for arthritis patients to a full audience of fifty-seven people. Feedback include:

Very engaging. Excellent!

The doctor was enthusiastic about a very serious condition and made it enjoyable to learn and take in knowledge about these conditions: RA, OA, gout, feet.

Excellent discussion (always best part of program) – Dr. Ioli did a great job with answers


  • March 25, 2009 “Therapeutic Yoga for Those with Arthritis” presented by Leslie H. Worris, MPH and founder of the Wellness Alliance


On March 25, 2009, The Patient-Centered Outcomes Initiative (PACO) and the Lupus Center hosted a lecture and workshop for more than 40 arthritis patients, friends, family members, and employees. Leslie H. Worris, MPH, was the keynote speaker for the “Therapeutic Yoga for those with Arthritis” seminar and demonstrated the therapeutic benefits of the wide range of mind/body practices that yoga embodies. Leslie is particularly known for creating customized programs for individuals with chronic illnesses. Inspired by her own battle with chronic disease she became trained in yoga as a complement to her own health care.

Leslie gave a brief overview of the poses, breath work, relaxation, body awareness and meditation that comprise yoga before actively engaging audience members. She had the audience actively participate, engaging peopole in doing yoga exercises, all of which were conducted while seated in a chair. For example, in one exercise, people extended their arms and then moved their hands in a circular motion to relieve the tension in their wrist joints.


Audience members thoroughly enjoyed the demonstration and their positive feedback included comments such as,

I am so relaxed. What a gift! Thanks for focusing on practical ways to decrease pain. I’ll use these ideas

I thought the workshop was great – for chair work especially on days when it’s tough to get going.

I thought this was great and Ms. Worris was excellent at talking about yoga and making it accessible for someone with RA.

Actually doing the yoga and the relaxation therapy – it was great and now I can’t wait to sign up for classes.

Numerous audience members praised Leslie’s presentation, calling it wonderful and stated how relaxed they felt.


  • January 8, 2009  “Adaptive Devices & Ideas for Arthritis – Making tasks easier around your home and at work” presented by Marie-Jose Benjamin

Marie-Jose, an occupational therapist at BWH with over 25 years of experience in rehabilitation services, gave a presentation, demonstrated devices, distributed catalogues and provided an opportunity for people to try the various devices. Marie Jose’s focus is on reducing stress by simplifying daily tasks using devices.

Marie-Jose went from household room to room describing devices that could make activities easier – the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.   She mentioned using bars to help getting in out of tub; she gave tips for walking in winter weather advising , “Wear brightly colored clothes, walk in the street so traffic can see you, since sidewalks are often not shoveled. You can also put traction (Yuk Tracks) on your shoes, although they can be difficult to put on.” Someone asked, “Is there anything to help you get out of bed in the morning when you can’t move?”  Marie-Jose mentioned that there are side rails that slip under the mattress and don’t have to be mounted which you can use to pull yourself up and over. When asked about where to get these devices, she responded, “Some devices are available through the hospital but a wider variety are available through vendors.”  

You can view Marie-Jose’s Benjamin’s presentation with all the assistive devices by clicking on this link mjb-arthritis-january-2009

If you would like more information or a catalogue, please contact Margo Hanlan 617 732 5153 or by email “[email protected].



  • October 16, 2008 “Living with Rheumatic Disease: a patient perspective” with keynote speaker Janet Austin, PhD, OCPL Director, NIAMS

On October 16, 2008, The Patient-Centered Outcomes Initiative (PACO) and the Lupus  Center hosted a seminar and discussion for more than 40 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus patients, friends, and family members. Serving as the keynote speaker, Janet Austin, Ph.D. gave a presentation entitled “Living with Rheumatic Disease: A Patient Perspective” and answered questions from audience members. Dr. Austin is the Director of Office of Communications and Public Liaison, for the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, within the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Austin presented background information about many rheumatic diseases before focusing on rheumatoid arthritis. She spoke about patient advocacy and the resources available for RA patients through NIAMS. Additionally Dr. Austin led the audience in a discussion about ways to treat arthritis and the lifestyle changes that accompany an RA diagnosis. Diet, weight control, exercise, drug and non-drug pain relief, alternative therapies, and surgery were just some of the topics covered in this seminar. View Dr. Janet Austin’s Presentation: View On-Line Download a PDF version Download a Powerpoint version

  • June 5, 2008 “Diet and Nutrition in Rheumatic Diseases- A Practical Approach for the Arthritis and Lupus Patient” with keynote speaker Ronenn Roubenoff, MD, MHS.

Dr. Roubenoff is a rheumatologist and nutritionist who has led research on nutrition and inflammation for two decades. He is the author of over 200 scientific publications and a New York Times bestseller on exercise for arthritis.

Presentation summary

Dr RoubenoffOn the evening of June 5, 2008, The Patient-Centered Outcomes Initiative (PACO) and the Lupus Center hosted a seminar and discussion for more than 40 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus patients, friends, and family members. Serving as the keynote speaker, Dr. Ronenn Roubenoff gave a presentation entitled “Diet and Nutrition in Rheumatic Disease: A Practical Approach for the Arthritis Patient” and answered questions from audience members.

Dr. Roubenoff began his talk by constructing a helpful diagram of the basic macronutrients (protein, fat, fiber, and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) that serve as the basic “building blocks” of food. He then described the ways in which RA and other rheumatic diseases affect how the body uses these substances, focusing particularly on protein and iron.

Protein, Dr. Roubenoff explained, is used in large amounts when the immune system is responding to a threat, such as an infection or, in autoimmune diseases such as RA and lupus, its own cells. When this process continues for a long time, the body begins to use its muscles as a source of protein, decreasing strength and energy. To counter this effect, Dr. Roubenoff recommended strength training and other moderate exercise to replenish lost muscle mass, with a two-day break for every day of

What participants said about the seminar:

  • Excellent topic and speaker – excellent that there was plenty of time for Q&A
  • Dr. Roubenoff’s commentary was very helpful, insightful, and geared to the average person.
  • The biggest revelation was the need for exercise to build muscle.
  • Knowledge of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory foods was helpful.

Click here to read an excerpt from the book, Strong Women and Men Beat Arthritis which contains Dr. Roubenoff’s writing on nutrition.


Dr. Roubenoff’s presentation on nutrition is available as a PodCast

Click on the link to the right to listen to his PodCast PodCast PACO PodCast with Ronenn Roubenoff – Listen Now


To view information and videos from past seminars click on the links below 



Comments are off for this post