Dr. Diane Lacaille is a rheumatologist and the Scientific Director of Arthritis Research Canada/Arthrite-recherche Canada.
I’ve spent my life at the intersection of medical practice and research. It’s a unique space that I feel privileged to call home. As a rheumatologist, I see arthritis patients and their daily challenges. As a researcher, I find answers to questions that arise from my clinical practice. It’s the perfect marriage and one that allows me to see an immediate impact on patients’ lives.
Arthritis is a misunderstood disease. Many assume it’s no more than aches and pains and only affects older people. It’s actually the leading cause of work disability in Canada and doesn’t discriminate based on age. Pain is one aspect. But how pain reaches its tentacles into all facets of a patient’s life is most concerning. How do you work with arthritis? How do you care for young children? How do you stay active and lead a fulfilling life? It’s not easy.
At Arthritis Research Canada, we work with patients to find solutions to these problems. Their needs are at the centre of everything we do as the largest clinical arthritis research centre in North America. We may not be able to cure this disease but we can reduce pain, prevent joint deformities and disability that comes with them. We can give people the tools and treatments to live full lives despite arthritis. Our mantra is practical research for everyday living. Helping patients today, not decades from now.
I started my research career 21 years ago as a trainee with this organization. I saw a gaping hole in the treatment of arthritis patients, which focused mainly on controlling the disease with medications. I wondered, what about the social and emotional upheaval it causes? I dedicated the next decade to addressing the challenges arthritis patients face at work and developing tools to help them thrive.
Research is the producer working quietly behind the scenes of medicine. It doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves, but without it, patients’ quality of life would be drastically reduced. I now lead the organization that gave me my start and a team of outstanding medical doctors, research scientists, and trainees who are the future of research. I honestly believe the future is bright for arthritis patients.
Arthritis Research Canada is the largest clinical research organization in North America. As scientific director, Dr. Diane Lacaille is leading a team of over 100 researchers, trainees, and staff whose research is recognized globally.
Arthritis isn’t just one disease. It’s 100+ diseases that raise different challenges for different people. Arthritis Research Canada is conducting research to help people overcome those challenges and live their lives.
What does arthritis research look like in action? It’s developing a program to help people diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis stay employed. Or finding ways to prevent serious, life-threatening complications like heart attacks and strokes. It’s creating a program to prevent osteoarthritis from happening after a sports injury. It’s finding ways to address mental health after an arthritis diagnosis. Or determining the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who have autoimmune arthritis.
September is Arthritis Awareness Month and Arthritis Research Canada is challenging stereotypes about arthritis. Want to get involved? “Arthritis is ______.” How would you fill in the blank? Join the conversation.
Connect with Dr. Diane: