Q: Healthcare reforms are beginning to take shape; how do rheumatologists factor into the changes that are on the horizon?
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Explore This IssueDecember 2010
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A: In terms of system change, it’s trying to get the healthcare system to respond to what people with arthritis really want and need. They are very eloquent about what they want. They have pain and want to get better. If that means they need to get to a rheumatologist sooner and have better access to appropriate healthcare professionals, therapies, and health insurance, so be it.
Q: What do you say to the next generation of physician researchers?
A: Become a physician; it’s the most rewarding field I can think of. I get up every day and think, ‘My gosh, somebody pays me to do this?’ You get the honor of touching so many people’s lives, whether they are people with arthritis in my practice or the hardworking professionals I have the pleasure of working with.
Distinguished Clinical Investigator
Gary S. Hoffman, MD, MS
Harold C. Schott Professor of Medicine, Department of Rheumatic and Immunologic Diseases, Cleveland Clinic; Professor of Medicine, Lerner College of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic
Background: Dr. Hoffman earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond and completed advanced training at Dartmouth Medical School–Mary Hitchcock Clinic in New Hampshire. He was a general rheumatologist for 12 years before joining the National Institutes of Health in 1986, where he directed the Vasculitis and Related Diseases Section.
Dr. Hoffman is founder of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Vasculitis Care and Research, and is founder and past chair of the International Network for the Study of the Systemic Vasculitides (INSSYS). He has led investigations of new therapies for vasculitis and coordinated multicenter studies of diagnostic laboratory and imaging tools to assess vasculitis disease activity. Named a Master of the ACR in 2009, his current research focuses on factors that may determine organ vulnerability and selective targeting.
Q: It seems your decision to join the NIH helped you find your research niche. What was most important about that opportunity?
A: The NIH gave me an opportunity to focus in one particular area where there was profound, unmet need. I had a spectacular mentor in Anthony Fauci, who was really the most informed person in the world at the time in this area. … In my first day on site, I saw more patients with vasculitis than I had in my entire 12-year career.