HORSHAM, Pa., June 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Television and film actress Megan Park today announced that she lives with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), marking the first time she has publicly disclosed living with a chronic autoimmune disease. Park made the announcement in partnership with Joint Decisions, an educational program designed to empower people living with RA and help them improve their relationship with their rheumatologist.
RA is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes joint inflammation, pain, stiffness and swelling throughout the body, primarily in the hands and feet. An estimated 1.5 million Americans have RA, with nearly three times as many women having the disease as meni. Symptoms typically begin between ages 30 and 60.
"In addition to living with RA myself, my mom also has RA, and she taught me how important it is to speak up about my health and seek answers and options when in the doctor's office," said Park, who is best known for her role in the hit ABC Family cable television show "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" and will soon be seen in the independent feature film "Room." "It's important that each of us be the lead character in our own lives, arming ourselves with information that will help us be our own health advocates."
Joint Decisions was launched in 2014 by Janssen Biotech, Inc. in partnership with patient advocacy organization CreakyJoints. The program provides resources to help those living with RA improve physical and emotional wellness and have open, honest conversations with their healthcare team in order to determine the best way to manage their RA symptoms.
On June 15 at 7 p.m. ET, people across the country can tune in to a live Joint Decisions video chat with Park about the importance of talking to their doctor about movement and nutrition with RA. During the chat, those who register here will see and hear Park describe living with RA and be able to ask her questions live.
The full line-up of Joint Decisions live video chats includes:
- "Unlocking Energy: Understanding the Important Role of Movement and Nutrition in Managing Your RA" on June 15, 2015 at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT (featuring Megan Park)
- "Shaping Your Story: Managing the Mental and Emotional Challenges of Life with RA" on August 5, 2015 at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT
- "Creating a Strong Foundation: How to Build Your Care Team and Enlist Supporters in Your RA Journey" on September 24, 2015 at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT
- "Real Talk: Breaking Down Barriers in Patient and Rheumatologist Communications" in early November
Joining Park as panelists in the first chat are:
- Laurie Ferguson, PhD, Health Psychologist and Vice President of Education at CreakyJoints
- Rhonda Waters, Performance Coach-Energy Management at The Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute (HPI)
- Evan Leibowitz, MD, MS, Prospect Medical Offices
Additional resources for patients and rheumatologists through Joint Decisions – available at www.JointDecisions.com – include videos, infographics and downloadable guides. Live #JointDecisions discussions on Twitter, moderated by CreakyJoints, will be offered this year, as well.
"As someone with Spondyloarthritis, I can remember times when I wished resources and people going through the same experience were more accessible," said Seth Ginsberg, Co-Founder & President of CreakyJoints. "It was that very wish that inspired CreakyJoints, and it's why we are proud to partner with Janssen on Joint Decisions to provide the RA community with resources and interactive discussions they very much want and need."
"It is so important for people living with RA to be open and honest with their rheumatologist," said Dr. Evan Leibowitz of Prospect Medical Offices, who will serve as a web chat panelist. "Joint Decisions provides patients with tools and resources to help them discuss all aspects of their RA – from treatment options to lifestyle issues, such as physical and emotional wellness. The program fills a gap in the RA community, and I am confident it will empower patients to champion for the care that works best for them and their health."
To learn more about Joint Decisions, visit www.JointDecisions.com.
About Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic inflammatory condition that is often characterized by symptoms that include pain, stiffness and inflammation of the joints, and in some cases, joint destruction and disability. An estimated 1.5 million Americans and more than 23.5 million people worldwideii have the condition, which affects nearly three times as many women as men. While the cause of RA is unknown, many cases are believed to result from genetic and environmental factors. There is no medical cure for RA, but there are several medications available to help alleviate symptoms.
CreakyJoints, part of the not-for-profit Global Healthy Living Foundation, is a dynamic education, support, advocacy and patient-centered research organization for people with all forms of arthritis and rheumatic disease. Co-founded in 1999 by arthritis patient Seth Ginsberg, CreakyJoints has grown to be a community of more than 80,000 patients and their families. For more information and to become a member (for free), visit www.creakyjoints.org.
About Janssen Biotech, Inc.
Janssen Biotech, Inc. redefines the standard of care in immunology, oncology, urology, and nephrology. Built upon a rich legacy of innovative firsts, Janssen Biotech has delivered on the promise of new treatments and ways to improve the health of individuals with serious disease.
Beyond its innovative medicines, Janssen Biotech is at the forefront of developing education and public policy initiatives to ensure patients and their families, caregivers, advocates, and healthcare professionals have access to the latest treatment information, support services, and quality care. For more information on Janssen Biotech, Inc. or its products, visit
Janssen Biotech is one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies dedicated to addressing and solving some of the most important unmet medical needs in oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious diseases and vaccines, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Driven by our commitment to patients, we work together to bring innovative ideas, products, services and solutions to people throughout the world. Follow us on Twitter at
Joint Decisions is brought to you by Janssen Biotech, Inc., and developed in partnership with CreakyJoints. Chat panelists are compensated for their time and travel in preparing for and participating in the program.
i Arthritis Foundation. Rheumatoid Arthritis: People. Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/arthritis-facts/disease-center/rheumatoid-arthritis.php. Accessed March 19, 2015.
ii World Health Organization. "The Global Burden of Disease: 2004 Update," p. 32. Available at: http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/GBD_report_2004update_full.pdf. Accessed March 19, 2015.
Janssen Biotech, Inc.
SOURCE Janssen Biotech, Inc.