Janet was a teacher for twenty years, After a ten year struggle to get a diagnosis, she was diagnosed with small vessel vasculitis. Janet and her husband Grant have a grown son and daughter.
Since 2002 Janet has been an active volunteer with The Arthritis Society provincially and eventually became a volunteer with the national office by becoming a consumer reviewer with several grant competitions. She is an active consumer with the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Group, and also a member of a writing team that is doing a series of reviews regarding fibromyalgia and exercise.
From 2007 to 2014 Janet was the Saskatchewan representative for the Consumer Advisory Council for The Canadian Arthritis Network.
Annette McKinnon has had Rheumatoid Arthritis for 32 years and has seen great changes in the way RA is treated. A background in market research left her prepared for an active involved retirement centering on social media and health care. Starting with blogging and going on to Twitter and Tweetchats have revealed a new world of support.
She is the online moderator for the annual eROAR event of the Arthritis Patient Advisory Board of the Arthritis Research Center, and also tweets for the Sjogren’s Society of Canada where she has been a board member for 8 years
Last year she was an ePatient Scholar at Stanford’s MedicineX Conference in Palo Alto; she is proud to be a member of The Walking Gallery.
She is a volunteer member of Patient Partners in Arthritis and a Health Mentor for the Centre for Inter-professional Education of the University of Toronto.
In an age where patient engagement is increasing she advocates for the patient voice to be included in health care decision making at all levels.
At the age of fourteen, Laurie first starting showing signs of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (now called Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis). It very quickly took her from her life as a typical teenager – an athlete, competitive dancer and pianist – and moved her into the world of doctors, physiotherapists, hospitals, lab tests and pain. She’s lived with rheumatoid arthritis for 24 years.
It is these experiences that led her to the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance in 2004. Since joining CAPA in 2004, she has had the privilege of advocating on behalf of people with arthritis, particularly youth living with the disease. She has been a member of the Steering Committee since 2005 and has chaired the Childhood Arthritis Committee. She has collaborated or been a team member in many arthritis research projects, presented at numerous key conferences and committees and is a past member of Health Canada's Paediatric Expert Advisory Committee.
Laurie lives in Ottawa with her husband and two children (age 8 and 2). She received a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from the University of Ottawa and is a Senior Human Resources Advisor.
Nathalie has been living with rheumatoid arthritis since 2003. Due to the aggressive nature of the disease, Nathalie needed to make a number of life changes, including getting to know and manage her strengths.
After going through this journey, she felt it was important to help others do the same, and became a volunteer with The Arthritis Society providing training as part of the Arthritis Self-Management Program and the Chronic Pain Management program. Wanting to have a more direct impact on health care, Nathalie made a career move and now works in the health sector.
She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Concordia University, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Ottawa. In her spare time, Nathalie enjoys spending time with her loving husband and beautiful son.
Dawn Richards, PhD, lives with rheumatoid arthritis, and is the Vice President of the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance. She advocates for arthritis awareness, access to treatment, the inclusion of patients in decision-making and as research collaborators, and the importance of research. She seeks to ensure the patient voice and perspective are represented and heard by all stakeholders in the arthritis community.
Professionally, Dawn is a science and patient consultant. She received her PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Alberta, and has spent the past 15 years in various roles, as a: bench scientist, project and operations manager, technology transfer and commercialization manager, and business development officer. She has worked in biotech and in the not for profit and academic sectors. She is a firm believer in the application of her scientific training and rigor to other professional roles and in her abilities to communicate to multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder (scientific, medical, lay) audiences.
Midland, Kings County, New Brunswick
Linda Wilhelm is the President of The Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance, a virtual, grass-roots, patient-driven, independent, national organization with members across Canada. She is on the operations committee of the Best Medicines Coalition, frequently participates in Health Canada expert advisory panels and conferences concerning access and drug safety issues. She is a former member of The Expert Advisory Committee for Vigilance of Health Products and a current member of the CIHR’s Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network's steering committee. Linda has been an active advocate for treatment access and quality of care for all patients both regionally and nationally for over ten years, is a past board chair for the New Brunswick Division of the Arthritis Society, as well as a past Board Member of The Atlantic Health Sciences Corporation. Linda has been living with Rheumatoid Arthritis for over twenty five years. She and husband Kerry have been married for over thirty years, have three grown children, three grandsons, and live in Midland, Kings County, New Brunswick.