Wednesday, August 17, 2011

N-of-8 story development case study: national Arthritis Foundation

The Arthritis Foundation is the largest private, not-for-profit contributor to arthritis research in the world, funding more than $380 million in research grants since 1948. It is the leading health organization addressing the needs of some 46 million Americans living with arthritis, the number-one cause of disability in the U.S.

The mission of the Arthritis Foundation has been to improve lives through leadership in the prevention, control and cure of arthritis and related diseases.

Our N-of-8 process would guide messaging in PSAs, a new website, fund-raising direct marketing, and public relations. Groups of eight were conducted in four cities across the country. We wrote stories from
the view of arthritis patients, families, physicians, disease symptoms, research, and the Foundation. We saw a dramatic shift from patients who felt helpless or victimized, to those who felt empowered and in greater control of their lives. This led to the new tagline, “Arthritis Foundation: Take Control, We Can Help.”

This provided the impetus and direction for the Foundation to focus on its core strengths -- providing public health education; pursuing public policy and legislation to improve healthcare; and conducting
evidence-based programs to improve the quality of life for those living with arthritis.

It also revealed that constituents wanted specifics on the activities and results on Foundation programs.  This led to documentation of the nearly $20 million in grants to nearly 300 researchers, and the major
treatment advances for most arthritis diseases resulting from the more than 50 years of research. Community-based programs and services gained renewed focus, including aquatics, exercise, and the clinically proven Arthritis Foundation Self-Help Program.  It also re-energized the grassroots advocacy at both the national and local level to advance critical legislative policy issues.

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