Can you help me with my rheumatic problems?Close

Because this is a research project, we are unable to answer individual questions about treatment and symptoms.  You may also find that our website is a valuable source of information.

Does it cost anything to participate?Close

No. We pay all of the postage and have a toll free line for questions at 1-800-323-5871.

How do I participate?Close

Complete the enrollment questionnaire on the enrollment page. We will contact you by email, mail or phone, After you enroll you will receive a research questionnaire and FORWARD newsletter every 3 months.

How many people will be participating?Close

There are over 10,000 participants in FORWARD. Each one is important because everyone's experience is unique. Since we have so many participants in the FORWARD research project, our research is able to answer questions about treatment effectiveness and side effects that could not otherwise be obtained ordinary medical studies.

How often will I get a questionnaire?Close

Generally, we mail questionnaires to participants every 6 months. When you first join, we will send you an additional special questionnaire to obtain some background information about you.

Is there any compensation for participating?Close

Those of you who return your questionnaire within two weeks of receiving it are eligible for a special reward.  We give away $1,000 prizes to several participants who return their questionnaires promptly as a token of our gratitude for helping with this research.  Those of you who return the questionnaire at any time during the 6-months, are eligible for smaller prizes of $500.  The participants who receive a $1,000 or $500 prize are chosen at random in a special drawing and, with permission, their names are announced in our newsletter.

We send a FORWARDNewsletter to each participant. This newsletter contains information about arthritis, new treatments, research in general, and the results of research that you have participated in by completing the questionnaires. Click here to see past copies of the FORWARD Newsletters.

There is the altruistic compensation of knowing that you have helped to improve arthritis treatment and outcome, as well as increasing the medical community's knowledge of your condition by participating in this research project.

What happens to the information I provide?Close

The information you provide will be entered into a computer data bank for use by medical researchers. Your name and any identifying information is removed from any data used for research. Researchers describe their findings in articles that are published in medical journals and in presentations at national and international meetings. That way, all doctors who treat arthritis are able to receive the benefit from the research. What they learn will help them to provide better medical care to people with arthritis and similar medical conditions.

What if I change my mind and don't want to participate?Close

We hope you won't do this because this research depends on a continuing group of people helping together over time. But, of course, you may discontinue participation at any time and for any reason.

What kind of questions will you ask?Close

We ask many different kinds of questions. Here are some of the areas in which we ask questions.

  • Pain
  • Functional ability
  • Work ability
  • Disability
  • Joints that are affected
  • Symptoms
  • Treatments with medications and surgery
  • Side effects of treatments
  • Other illnesses
  • Questions about who you are
  • Questions about how you manage with your illness
Who will see my questionnaire and information about me?Close

Only the research staff. They look at the questionnaire to see if it is complete and to make sure that your name and address are correct for mailing. Once your information is in our research data bank your name is removed for research purposes. That is, any researcher using the data bank for medical research cannot identify you.

Why should I participate?Close

People volunteer to participate in research for a variety of reasons. The primary reason people give for FORWARD participation is that they want to contribute to medical research that may help others with their disease. With a debilitating disease like arthritis or other rheumatic conditions it can sometimes be difficult to volunteer in a traditional setting. FORWARD research allows you to volunteer in an important way. By learning about your condition over time, we hope to give researchers the tools to improve treatment for people with rheumatic conditions and improve their quality of life.

Will my name and medical information be available to any one else?Close

No. We do not give away names or sell them, or make them available to anyone else. We have 25 years experience collecting arthritis data and protecting the confidentiality of research participants.