Washington Healthy and Active for Arthritis Management (WHAAM)

WHAAM aims to increase physical activity among people with arthritis to reduce and manage pain. We do this by supporting more ways for people living with arthritis pain to be active, and helping their health care providers provide counselling and referrals for physical activity. WHAAM is a partnership between the state agencies and community-based organizations, with a focus on communities with a higher burden of arthritis such as rural and American Indian populations.

Physical Activity Can Help Reduce Joint Pain

Arthritis affects over of 1.8 million people in the Washington state. Nearly half of adults with arthritis have persistent pain, and about one in four adults with arthritis report experiencing severe joint pain related to arthritis. In Washington state, about 24% of people with arthritis report being physically inactive, even though participating in joint friendly physical activity can improve arthritis pain, function, mood, and quality of life. Being physically active can also delay the onset of arthritis-related disability and help people with arthritis manage other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Counseling and Referrals

Objective: Increase health care provider counseling and referrals for physical activity among patients with arthritis.

WHAAM builds health care provider capacity for counseling and referrals by:

  • Providing technical assistance to health care providers
  • Promoting building referrals for arthritis-appropriate programs into clinic systems and channeling patients to appropriate community partners
  • Working on increasing insurance coverage and reimbursement for arthritis-appropriate programs
  • Supporting Washington State Parks Park Rx program

WHAAM works with partners to build community program capacity to support health care provider referrals by:

  • Supporting organizations implementing arthritis-appropriate programs to engage health care providers in program recruitment

Access to Physical Activity

Objective: Increase access to physical activity for people with arthritis

WHAAM supports and expands arthritis-appropriate program offerings by:

  • Increasing access to EnhanceFitness and Walk With Ease programs
  • Supporting access to Chronic Disease Self-Management Program for people with arthritis

WHAAM increases access to environments that support walking for people of all ages and abilities by:

  • Strengthening aspects of built environment and community design that improve walkability
  • Integrating elements into state and community plans to support walking for people with arthritis


For more information about WHAAM, contact Arthritis@DOH.WA.GOV.