American Bone Health began in 1990 as the Foundation for Osteoporosis Research and Education (FORE) in Oakland, California by members of the medical community and patient volunteers who were beginning to understand the devastating effects of osteoporosis on a population that was living longer.
American Bone Health is a community-based as a 501(c)3 organization focused on public education and advocacy. Its reach is dramatically increasing through the recruiting, training and nurturing of a national 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.
FORE was founded by local nephrologists and community activists. Began DXA testing and clinical research trials.
FORE started publishing semi-annual FOREFront newsletter.
FORE published first physician’s clinical guidelines.
Began landmark community screening program.
Became accredited CME provider.
FORE started bone density certification course for technicians in the State of California.
FORE led a summit for a National Osteoporosis Awareness Campaign Plan for the US Administration on Aging (published in 2004).
FORE led the strategic planning process for stakeholders resulting in A Promise of Lifelong Bone Health to address osteoporosis in California.
FORE published the photo-essay book Faces of Osteoporosis, reflecting the diversity of people with osteoporosis.
Sponsored symposium on Athletic Energy Deficit.
FORE published Compromising the Competitive Edge: Athletic Energy Deficit (AED) Impacts Bone Health.
Began an Ambassador Program to educate middle and high school coaches about Athletic Energy Deficit.
Published results of a community-based osteoporosis education and screening intervention for 4,500 underserved older adults.
FORE launched American Bone Health.
FORE recruited over 300 women age 50–90 who had a fracture to study their bone quality.
American Bone Health formalized its Bone Health Hotline.
American Bone Health published the validated FORE Fracture Risk CalculatorTM.
FORE convened partners to create an effective community-based intervention for Latinos.
American Bone Health sponsored a national awareness media campaign with CBS-TV.
FORE added a “batch” feature to the FORE Fracture Risk Calculator for use with large patient populations.
FORE recognized by the Mature Market Research Center for innovative service for older adults and their families.
American Bone Health conducted 3.3K Walk Tall for Life in San Francisco.
Launched a Spanish language awareness campaign with Univision San Francisco to use the FORE-Fracture Risk Calculator — Español.
Received innovation award from The American Public Health Association for its awareness campaign with CBS-TV.
Published award-winning Do It Right! and Prevent Fractures! booklet showing proper posture and body mechanics.
Partnered with Women in Government on 3.3K bone health walks and consultations in Denver, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Charleston.
Launched The Bone Health Lecture Series at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.
Chinese Bone Health fairs held in San Francisco and New York City.
American Bone Health, with the American Academy of Pediatrics, convened an interdisciplinary panel to review and discuss strategies to improve bone development and reduce the incidences of Athletic Energy Deficit in children.
Launched first “Signature Event” callled Freedom From Fractures at 30 Sam’s Club stores in California.
Held a 2.6K public awareness walk and exercise clinic at Southdale Center in Edina, MN
A major revision of the FORE Fracture Risk Calculator was released to include the option of entering vertebral fractures, spine T-score and dose amount of steroid medication. These changes improved the ability of the tool to better predict 10-year fracture risk. The FORE FRC was featured in a presentation by Dr. William Leslie at ASBMR.
Held Bone-Safe Yoga workshop in Oakland, Bone-Safe Exercise in Boston and launched Bone-Safe Pilates workshops in Livermore, Chicago and Miami.
Partnered with CBS HealthWatch™ on an osteoporosis awareness campaign expanded to five metropolitan markets.
Trained and deployed 138 peer educators to 36 Walgreen’s stores in California for the 2nd Annual Freedom From Fractures awareness event. Of those screened, nearly three quarters were found to be at moderate or high risk for having a fracture in the next 10 years. Only 32% of high risk customers and only 26% of moderate risk customers reported having a bone density test.
Held first 3 hour Bone Health Fair featuring Dr. David Karpf and a series of bone health screenings for participants.
3rd Annual Freedom Fractures Screening event launched nationally at Independent Living communities around the country.
Second “Signature Event” called Stepping Out Strong was launched and held at YMCA’s and studios throughout the country to bring awareness to fall prevention.
Expanded Freedom From Fractures™ to hospital locations.
New “Signature Event” added called The Calcium Challenge was launched at ShopRite stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland and run by registered dietitians.
The Best Bones Forever! Bone Health Clinic for Middle Schoolers was piloted at the Highland Recreation Center in San Mateo CA.
The Calcium Challenge was held at 65 ShopRite stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and New York during National Dairy Month in June.
Signature Events continue to grow and Bone Health Fairs are held in Oakland, Panorama Health in Denver and O’Connor Hospital in San Jose.
Formal Peer Educator Training began in 2010.
The on-line training program is 6-8 hours using The Osteoporosis Book by Gwen Ellert as a reference text. The program concludes with a coach call and discussion of getting started with community programs.
The numbers of Peer Educators trained has grown by about 30% every year since.
In 2018, we began a program with the sorority Delta Phi Lambda to train their sisters at all of the campuses in the country and continue to look for groups to work with who want to educate their communities about bone health and fracture prevention.
Information about the growth of the network can be found in the annual progress reports.
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 phase 3 and phase 4 investigational studies of the developing treatments for osteoporosis.
In 1995, the FDA approved the first treatment (Fosamax) and 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 to diagnosis.
In 2004, the Board of Directors voted to discontinue clinical trials to focus on public education. All trials were complete by 2007.
In 2017, bone density testing was discontinued and all patient records and equipment treansferred to a local radiology practice. This marked the complete transfer of focus and effort on engaging, educating, and empowering the public to build and keep strong bones and avoid fractures.
In 1996, 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. The community screening program reached over 120,000 men and women at 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 work site osteoporosis screening program in the country, and has presented its findings at numerous national scientific meetings.
Guidelines for Physicians
When osteoporosis treatments became available, FORE developed professional education programs for clinicians to help them understand the 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.
Continuing Medical Education
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 and was accredited by the California Medical Association to provide Continuing Education for physicians.
In 2007, the Board of Directors agreed to discontinue CME in favor of directing organizational resources to public education.
Bone Density Technician Certification
In 1999, the State of California asked FORE to develop a certification school to prepare technicians to obtain their limited permit in bone densitometry. The 26-hour course was developed to include didactic lectures, labs and practical experience. Courses were held on weekends and allowed FORE to offer free bone density testing to underserved adults in the Bay Area. Over the years, FORE trained and certified 40-60 students a year.
In 2017, FORE transferred the course curriculum to UC San Diego and discontinued the program to focus on public eduation.
Always working to help consumers and patients understand how to prevent bone loss and broken bones with sensible and easy to use information and tools, FORE launched American Bone Health in 2007 to expand its community outreach efforts. Knowing the importance of one-on-one interactions, volunteers are trained as Peer Educators to conduct bone health programs in their communities. The Peer Educator network has grown to reach thousands of people each year.