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Dr. Kelli Allen’s over-arching research goal is to improve care and outcomes for individuals with osteoarthritis, as well as other musculoskeletal and rheumatological conditions. These conditions are leading cases of pain and disability. Research has shown that non-pharmacological therapies (e.g., exercise, rehabilitation, psychological interventions) can improve outcomes for individuals with these conditions. However, these therapies are underutilized. Dr. Allen’s work focuses on bridging this evidence-to-practice gap.

Her team conducts pragmatic clinical trials, focused on developing and testing behavioral and health services interventions that can be incorporated into real-world clinical settings. The team works closely with various health care providers, including physical therapists, to integrate these interventions into practice. Examples include an intervention to enhance standard rehabilitation practice following total knee replacement, a telephone-based physical activity coaching program for patients with knee osteoarthritis, and delivery models including group physical therapy and stepped or adaptive exercise-based programs.

Dr. Allen’s research team also addresses disparities in osteoarthritis outcomes, particularly among Black individuals and military Veterans, who face a disproportion burden of this conditions. The team’s work seeks to understand reasons underlying these disparities and develop interventions that are tailored toward these individuals and the health care systems in which they receive care.

OA CARE Resources for Healthcare Providers and Patients

The following list of resources is intended to accompany the “Non-Pharmacological Recommendations for Osteoarthritis Management” video, which was produced for healthcare providers as part of Dr. Allen’s R21, Optimizing Osteoarthritis Care through Clinical and Community Partnership (OA CARE- 2022). Resources are listed in the order they appear in the video.

American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and Arthritis Foundation (AF) Guidelines for the Management of Osteoarthritis of the Hand, Hip, and Knee- 2019

 Summary of ACR/AF Guidelines for Pharmacological Management of OA

 Exercise Recommendations for Adults with for OA

Tai Chi for Arthritis

Physical Activity Programs for Adults with Arthritis

Arthritis-Appropriate, Evidence-Based Interventions

  • These are Physical Activity & Self-Management Education Programs that are recognized by the OA Action Alliance as meeting criteria for distinction as an arthritis-appropriate evidence-based intervention (AAEBI)
  • Osteoarthritis Action Alliance: Arthritis-Appropriate, Evidence-Based Interventions (AAEBI)

Self-Management Education

Mental Health Support (Pain coping skills)

  • PainTRAINER® is a free, interactive online tool that teaches effective strategies to manage pain

Decision-making about Joint Replacement

Other Resources for Healthcare Providers and Patients

  • Osteoarthritis Action Alliance: OACareTools is an online toolkit with free resources (handouts, videos, and infographics) for healthcare professionals and their patients to help manage OA



This grant was funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R21AR080309.