As a fellow, Dr. Pressly was mentored by Jim Cassidy, MD, and marveled at Dr. Cassidy’s work in pediatric rheumatology. Following his fellowship, Dr. Pressly moved to Northwest Louisiana, an area of the country that he found was underserved for children with arthritis. In an effort to bring awareness and support families with pediatric rheumatic disorders, the Presslys founded Children and Arthritis. One of the highlights of Dr. Pressly’s career was when his mentor, Dr. Cassidy, participated in and supported the Jambalaya Jubilee.
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Explore This IssueDecember 2016
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Q: As a solo practitioner, do you ever feel overwhelmed by everything going on in healthcare today?
A: While we are often reminded of the negative issues that are going on in healthcare today, there are numerous positive advances. … I am in awe of the improvements in the treatment of arthritis. We have several former campers from the early 1990s who are now in their late 20s and in wheelchairs due to the destruction and severity of the arthritis. Now, most children with these disorders have a much-improved prognosis, with manageable disease and even remission. It’s just remarkable. Through research and the advancement of immune modulators, we are able to do a much better job as rheumatologists. [We can] enable the majority of these young patients to eventually enter the workforce and to have a productive life. I’m pleased to be able to look back and see all the advancements since my fellowship days and using gold injections.
Q: What can rheumatology, as a field, with respect to access issues, do to increase the number of pediatric rheumatologists in America?
A: Clinicians with some training in pediatric rheumatology can help bridge the gap during this period of shortage. Adult rheumatologists can be used as screeners and can care for the less-intense cases and refer the more complicated cases to university centers. That has worked out pretty well in Northwest Louisiana.
Excellence in Investigative Mentoring Award
Ingrid Lundberg, MD
Department of Medicine, Solna, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
Background: So much for doctor’s orders. A disobedient patient—one who was told to rest and instead exercised—launched Dr. Lundberg’s career investigating myositis. “When I started, I was told myositis patients should not do any exercise. They were to rest only,” she says. “A patient of mine rejected this line of thinking. He told me that he started to exercise and, with medication, was feeling much better. He even showed me how many pushups he could do.”