Arthritis Foundation joins NEWDIGS LEAPS Project

Eric NormanLEAPS, News

Consortium dedicated to launching a healthcare system-wide “learning engine” for rheumatoid arthritis in Massachusetts

The Arthritis Foundation has joined the NEWDIGS Initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Biomedical Innovation and will participate in the Learning Ecosystems Accelerator for Patient-Centered, Sustainable Innovation (LEAPS) Project.

LEAPS focuses on enhancing the value of biopharmaceutical innovation for all stakeholders through novel approaches to the planning, production, and use of evidence across research and development and care delivery for a target disease. The first LEAPS pilot will demonstrate such a connected learning system for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and will use Massachusetts as a statewide testbed.

“LEAPS targets the same issues we’re working on every day,” said M. Suzanne Schrandt, J.D., Director of Patient Engagement, Arthritis Foundation. “Patient engagement is especially important in designing a system around us…we need to be in the room to co-create it. We are a constant factor across all clinical encounters and everything around them.”

The Arthritis Foundation joins a consortium of diverse stakeholders in the project who will collaborate to design a “learning engine” that ensures the healthcare system is able to routinely get the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. “The Arthritis Foundation’s contribution of RA patients’ collective experiences and wisdom will keep LEAPS sharply focused on improving their medical care and outcomes,” said Gigi Hirsch, M.D., Executive Director of the initiative. “In collaboration with the other stakeholders involved in LEAPS, they will advance our collective mission to drive more value from innovation to patients faster.”

NEWDIGS provides its multi-stakeholder community of members and collaborators with a safe haven, pre-competitive environment, programs, and tools to design and pilot system-level initiatives that advance sustainable, patient-centered innovation.

About the Arthritis Foundation
The Arthritis Foundation is the Champion of Yes. Leading the fight for the arthritis community, the Foundation helps conquer everyday battles through life-changing information and resources, access to optimal care, advancements in science and community connections. The Arthritis Foundation’s goal is to chart a winning course, guiding families in developing personalized plans for living a full life – and making each day another stride toward a cure. The Foundation also publishes Arthritis Today, the award-winning magazine that reaches 4 million readers. 

The NEW Drug Development ParadIGmS (NEWDIGS) Initiative, led by the MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation, is an international “think and do tank” dedicated to delivering more value faster to patients, in ways that work for all stakeholders. NEWDIGS designs, evaluates and initiates advancements that are too complex and cross-cutting to be addressed by a single organization or market sector. Its members include global leaders from patient advocacy, payer organizations, biopharmaceutical companies, regulatory agencies, clinical care, academic research, and investment firms. For more information, visit