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The disparity between supply and demand in arthritis services can lead to delays in diagnosis and access to effective treatments. The focus of 2005 CARE III Conference was to develop a research agenda to improve care for people with arthritis. Topics included models of care, nonpharmacological/nonsurgical interventions for arthritis, and issues around study design, outcome measures and knowledge translation and exchange. Seven priority areas emerged from the discussion: (1) Develop new, innovative arthritis care strategies; (2) Adapt and implement effective service models to address local needs; (3) Understand factors related to successful team care; (4) Match patients' needs with appropriate care models; (5) Design new or improve outcome measures for participation and quality of life; (6) Foster partnerships in sharing research evidence; and (7) Address needs for training and quality assurance.