About the ORA

About the Ontario Rheumatology Association

The Ontario Rheumatology Association (ORA) is a professional organization that represents Ontario rheumatologists and promotes their pursuit of excellence in arthritis care through leadership, advocacy, education, and communication.

In 2001, the establishment of the ORA was set in motion by the founding members Dr. Carter Thorne, Dr. Philip Baer, and Dr. Algis Jovaisas. The ORA committee members included Dr. Vivian Bykerk, Dr. Alfred Cividino, Dr. Jody Lewtas, Dr. Janet Pope, Dr. Jane Purvis and Dr. Jerry Tenenbaum.

Today, the ORA's membership includes over 180 rheumatologists practicing in Ontario, and brings together community and academic rheumatologists, adult and pediatric rheumatologists, and allied health partners.

Areas of Focus

The ORA engages the rheumatology community through membership and education. It is an advocate for its members when collaborating with the government and other private payors to access appropriate treatment options for rheumatic diseases. It has established a networking and communications forum for Ontario rheumatologists.

The ORA collaborates with many professional associations including the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA), the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (CAPA), the Arthritis Health Professions Association (AHPA) and the Pharaceutical Industry.

Four Key Pillars of the ORA

Advocacy and Awareness

The ORA is committed to developing and maintaining strong partnerships with the Ministry of Health, private drug payers, industry partners, consumer groups, and the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) to improve access to medications and facilitate policy. It is also committed to membership communication via our newletters and website.


The ORA is committed to a strong and interactive collaboration with the Ontario Biologics Research Initiative (OBRI), which has become a research platform for rheumatology practice improvement.

Inter-professional Patient-centric Care Model

Through the "ORA Model of Care Initiative", an ORA working committee was established to define new models of care for arthritis patients that improves the effectiveness of treatment, documents patient and system outcomes, and improves value for the healthcare system.

Practice Efficiency

While benefits of electronic medical record (EMR) systems are well documented, limitations to existing EMR systems needed to be addressed before they could be leveraged for the rheumatology community. An ORA EMR sub-committee was established to work with Ontario-certified EMR companies for the development and integration of essential rheumatology tools. These were unveiled at the 2012 Annual General Meeting.

ORA Organizational Priorities


  • Private Payers
  • EAP
  • SEB
  • Uveitis

Models of Care

  • Government Framework
  • OBRI (research)
  • EMR (practice efficiency)
  • Manpower

Advocacy & Communication

  • OMA
  • Website
  • Nominations & Awards
  • AGM
  • Stakeholder Relations
  • Government Relations