SAN DIEGO—Each year, the ACR honors up to 10 clinical and research fellows who have performed meritoriously. Meet this year’s Distinguished Fellows who are bridging the gap between research and patient care and who were recognized at ACR Convergence 2023 in November.
Caoilfhionn Marie Connolly, MD, MSc
Rheumatologist, Galway Clinic, Ireland
“I am deeply honored to receive the ACR Distinguished Fellow Award and humbled to stand among the distinguished recipients who preceded me,” says Dr. Connolly. “This recognition is a testament to the unwavering support and guidance of my colleagues and mentors at the Johns Hopkins University Division of Rheumatology, especially within the Johns Hopkins Myositis Center of Excellence. I eagerly anticipate applying the skills and knowledge I’ve gained to patient care in Ireland, with a particular focus on advancing care for patients with myositis.”
Keri Sarah Donohue, MD
Assistant Professor, Division of Rheumatology, University of Wisconsin (UW) School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison
“It is an absolute honor to receive this prestigious award and be recognized for my dedication to medical education and scholarship, advancement of women in leadership, and patient care as a rheumatologist,” says Dr. Donohue. “As the Fellow-in-Training (FIT) member of the ACR e-Learning subcommittee (2021–22) and the Committee on Education (2023–present), this award also recognizes the outstanding work of my committee members and their dedication to innovation within the College.
“Further, this honor is a reflection of the mentorship, coaching and sponsorship I have received during my fellowship [at UW], where I worked alongside leading experts in the field of rheumatology and medical education, including Christie Bartels, MD, MS, Tiffany Lin, MD, Justin Levinson, MD, MBA, and Shivani Garg, MD, MS. I would like to thank my family and friends for instilling in me the values in which my accomplishments and successes are rooted in, namely a foundation of love, dedication and a deep determination to change the world,” says Dr. Donohue.
Vanessa Kronzer, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
“I am so honored and grateful to receive this award from the ACR, especially given the huge number of exceptionally talented and deserving rheumatology fellows nationwide,” says Dr. Kronzer. “I am also so grateful to my mentors, including John M. Davis III, MD, MS, Cynthia S. Crowson, PhD, Jeffrey Sparks, MD, MMSc, and James R. Cerhan, MD, PhD; my colleagues; and my family for the hard work and support they provided, which helped me receive this award. This recognition further inspires and fuels my overarching mission to serve the rheumatology community through exceptional patient care, research, education and mentorship.”
Wilson Kuswanto, MD, PhD
Instructor in Medicine, Division of Immunology and Rheumatology, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.
“It is truly an incredible honor to receive the ACR Distinguished Fellow Award. This award is a testament to all my mentors who have guided me on my path to becoming a physician-scientist,” says Dr. Kuswanto. “I would like to highlight and thank my close mentoring team at Stanford: Bill Robinson, MD, PhD, Garry Nolan, PhD, Matt Baker, MD, MS, Mark Genovese, MD, and our program director, Neha Shah, MD. I am sincerely grateful for this award and look forward to continuing to advance scientific boundaries to ultimately improve patient care.”
Bryanna Mantilla, MD, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Texas Dell Medical School, Austin
“I am honored by this recognition. I am very grateful to the truly amazing mentors and wonderful patients I have met in my academic career thus far,” says Dr. Mantilla. “I see this award primarily as a reflection of the importance of bringing a critical sociological lens to rheumatology and the need for continued research and innovation on improving equity and quality of care for our most underserved patients. I am looking forward to continuing these efforts.”
Mariana Correia Marques, MD
Fellow, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md./Children’s National Hospital, Washington, D.C.
“I am truly honored and thankful to be selected as one of the Distinguished Fellows of the ACR,” says Dr. Marques. “I am especially thankful to my mentors and my program [leaders], who believed in me and gave me the opportunity to pursue my passion in pediatric rheumatology clinical practice and research, particularly being an international graduate. Receiving this award gives me further motivation to keep pursuing this passion.”
Gregory McDermott, MD, MPH
Instructor of Medicine, Harvard University Medical School, Boston, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston
“I am incredibly honored to be recognized with the ACR Distinguished Fellow Award,” says Dr. McDermott. “I am very grateful to the many mentors and colleagues who have guided me along my career journey so far: from helping to develop my initial interest in rheumatology, to refining and advancing my research projects, to providing helpful clinical advice. I am humbled and excited to be completing my formal training and look forward to continuing to contribute to the advancement of rheumatology research and patient care in the future.”
Sali Merjanah, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Department of Rheumatology, Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
“Being recognized as one of the ACR distinguished fellows is an incredible honor and testament to the incredible group of mentors who have supported me along the way, helped shape my path in both clinical medicine and clinical research, and continue to invest in my success,” says Dr. Merjanah. “I’m eager to continue to put my patients at the forefront of my work, to make meaningful contributions to the advancement of knowledge in rheumatology, and to serve as a resource to rheumatology trainees in pursuing their career goals.”
Caroline H. Siegel, MD, MS
Assistant Professor of Medicine/Assistant Attending Physician, Weill Cornell Medicine/Hospital for Special Surgery, Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, New York
“I am honored to be among the recipients of this year’s ACR Distinguished Fellow Award,” says Dr. Siegel. “Since medical school, I have been passionate about rheumatology and reproductive health. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to cultivate my clinical and research interests at the intersection of these fields during my fellowship, with the support of incredible mentors and colleagues.”
Monica Yang, MD
Assistant Professor, Division of Rheumatology, University of California, San Francisco
“I am incredibly honored to be named one of the ACR Distinguished Fellows this year. I share this award with my amazing patients and mentors, who have taught me, coached me and continue to inspire me as a physician and a scientist,” says Dr. Yang. “This award is also a testament to my fellowship program, which has provided some of the most rewarding and formative years of my training. I look forward to what’s to come and to contributing to our rheumatology community.”
Patrice Fusillo is a writer and editor based in Oakland, Calif.