Increasing collaborations with the international pediatric rheumatology community is critical to making major scientific advances in rare diseases. CARRA is committed to facilitating international research efforts, but this increases the complexity of the research process. Working collaboratively with current funders and continuing to develop new funding streams is also important to ensure the organization’s financial sustainability.
Explore this issueDecember 2016
The challenge to the pediatric rheumatology community is maintaining the principles that have allowed CARRA to grow & thrive while translating its successes into important scientific advances & discoveries for patients & families going forward.
Lastly, the current leadership of CARRA were all members of the original cohort of pediatric rheumatologists that founded CARRA and will need to be replaced. Given the low numbers of pediatric rheumatologists trained in the late 1990s and the significant increase in the numbers of pediatric rheumatology fellows now being trained, the pediatric rheumatology community will need to rely on younger members with less experience to assume leadership positions within the organization. It is, therefore, a major imperative for current CARRA leaders to nurture and foster future generations.
With that in mind, the Early Investigator Committee, whose leadership serves on the Steering Committee, was developed. Responsibilities of the Early Investigator Committee include encouraging promising young investigators to become involved in all levels of CARRA activities and fostering engagement with international counterparts. In addition, there are formal leadership development programs for all Steering Committee members, as well as informal mentoring of each committee chair by a member of the CARRA executive team.
In summary, the future of academic pediatric rheumatology seems brighter than ever, with a growing workforce and a variety of effective medications to treat pediatric rheumatic diseases and prevent life-altering disability; however, there is still much to be learned.
The culture of transparency and scientific collaboration that has been fostered and maintained by CARRA has led to its current level of success and promises to change clinical practice and improve health outcomes. The challenge to the pediatric rheumatology community is maintaining the principles that have allowed CARRA to grow and thrive while translating its successes into important scientific advances and discoveries for patients and families going forward.
Yukiko Kimura, MD, is chair of the Childhood Arthritis & Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA) and chief of pediatric rheumatology at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, N.J.
Laura E. Schanberg, MD, is immediate past chair of CARRA and co-chief of pediatric rheumatology at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.
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