The goals of PARASS are to create innovative social support services for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patients and to further promote understanding of RA among the physicians and patients in the clinic community.RA is a chronic disabling disease that affects nearly 1% of the U. S. population. The illness causes destruction of joint cartilage and erosion of adjacent bones, leading to joint replacement as well as extra-articular disease including heart and lung disease, vasculitis, gastrointestinal and infectious complications. Approximately 80% of RA patients are women where the average age of onset is 55. Previous studies with RA patients have shown that adjusting to living with the disease is a critical aspect particularly because the fatigue and physical disability can affect interpersonal relationships, engender a loss of independence, indirectly lessening a person’s self-confidence and self-efficacy.Research has found that social support (advice, emotional support, guidance) relates strongly to emotional wellbeing among those with chronic illness.Thus, the PARASS initiative is designed to provide social support to improve RA patient’s quality of life and to help patients better manage their disease.


The PARASS initiative has two components: 1) Patient-to-Patient Connection – Patients who are concerned about aspects of their disease or those recently diagnosed or those going through joint-replacement are paired with an experienced patient who is trained as a peer support perseon; 2) video montages of patient stories about living with RA for viewing by physicians and other patients.Subjects are recruited from the Robert B. Brigham Arthritis Center as well as outside organizations.

The PARASS project is generously funded by AMGEN.

Project team includes:

  • Director, Dr. Nancy A. Shadick, MD, MPH
  • Dr. Michael Weinblatt, MD
  • Dr. Jon Coblyn, MD
  • Study Coordinator, Adel Andemeskel