The Faces of Osteoporosis
American Bone Health's History
The Foundation for Osteoporosis Research and Education (FORE) was established in 1990 as a 501(c) 3 in Oakland, California by members of the medical community and patient volunteers who were beginning to understand the devastating effect of osteoporosis on a population that was living longer. In 2007, FORE launched American Bone Health as a community-based organization to focus on public education and advocacy.
American Bone Health dramatically increases its impact through the recruiting, training and nurturing of a network of peer educators who provide local programs in their communities to raise awareness and generate healthy actions among consumers to improve bone health and reduce osteoporosis and fractures.
As American Bone Health grows its national network of volunteer peer educators, its leadership in promoting bone health and osteoporosis awareness strengthens as does the organization’s ability to be a resource for professional education and technical assistance, consumer awareness and advocacy.
The Beginnings - Densitometry and Clinical Studies
FORE was the first organization in the area to begin bone density testing and as research in the field of osteoporosis intensified, FORE became a clinical site for investigational studies of the developing treatments for osteoporosis.
In 1995, the FDA approved a new, highly effective treatment (Fosamax) that brought new hope to osteoporosis sufferers. At the same time, the FDA approved the first portable bone density machine that tested the non dominant forearm The results of the portable machine proved to be highly correlated with the results of central bone density tests of the hip and spine (DXA). These two breakthroughs gave FORE new opportunities to take this screening and education to thousands who would otherwise not have had access.
That year, FORE began a landmark program that would distinguish them from any similar non-profit or for-profit organization. In partnership with a major west coast drug store chain, FORE began taking portable bone density testing machines into drugstores throughout Northern California and adjoining states. The response was strong and the results startling. Almost half of the men and women tested had low bone density placing them at increased risk for future fractures. This advance warning of risk allowed patients to develop prevention and treatment plans with their physicians.
Since 1996, this community screening program has become a cornerstone of FORE’s education program and over 120,000 men and women have been screened at community grocery and drug stores, work sites, health fairs, senior centers, HUD housing, churches and doctors’ offices. Many of these patients would not otherwise have had access to bone density screening. In partnership with Bank of America, FORE also conducted the largest employer worksite osteoporosis screening program in the country, and has presented its findings at numerous national scientific meetings.
When osteoporosis treatments became available, FORE developed professional education programs for clinicians to help them understand the clinical implications of the disease and manage their patient population. In 1996, FORE published Guidelines of Care on the Treatment of Osteoporosis -these were among the first clinical guidelines published, and certainly the first to address a wide range of patient groups. The Guidelines are now in their 4th edition.
By 1997, FORE was sponsoring 4-6 professional education programs per year bringing world-renowned speakers to discuss emerging topics in bone health. FORE held annual Primary Care Physician conferences and Allied Health Practitioners conferences, plus smaller group discussions, and case study dinners. In 1998, FORE launched its web site— www.fore.org and in that same year was accredited by the California Medical Association to provide Continuing Education for physicians.