2018 Evelyn V. Hess Award
The Evelyn V. Hess Award is given annually to recognize the exceptional contributions of a clinical or basic researcher whose body of work has advanced the understanding of the science of lupus treatment.
At a reception during the 2018 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting in Chicago, the Lupus Foundation of America presented the Evelyn V. Hess Award to Michelle Petri, MD, MPH, the director of the Hopkins Lupus Center and co-director of the Hopkins Lupus Pregnancy Center. She was honored for her extensive contributions and impact on the field of lupus over the past 30 years.
Dr. Petri is the principal investigator of the Hopkins Lupus Cohort, a more than 2,000-participant, 30-year longitudinal study of the relationship between cardiovascular risk factors, gene markers and disease activity. The study is sponsored by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.
“I love real world data,” Dr. Petri says. “That is why I am motivated to do longitudinal clinical research. I see the bad outcomes in my own patients and want to find ways to improve lupus care. The cohort is a cooperative effort of my patients [from Baltimore and surrounding communities] and me—trying together to answer the questions that really matter in day-to-day care of lupus patients.”
Additionally, Dr. Petri is known for her collaboration with other lupus researchers and the development of lupus disease activity measures, such as the Lupus Activity Index. She also serves as a mentor to the next generation of lupus researchers: students, residents, fellows and new faculty.
Mary Betty Stevens Young Investigator Prize
The Mary Betty Stevens Young Investigator Prize memorializes Dr. Stevens’s outstanding contributions to lupus research. It’s given annually to recognize the remarkable accomplishments of an investigator in the early stages of their lupus research career.
J. Michelle Kahlenberg, MD, PhD, a physician scientist and associate professor at the University of Michigan, is the latest recipient of the Mary Betty Stevens Young Investigator Prize. Dr. Kahlenberg received the honor at a reception during the 2018 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting.
Dr. Kahlenberg’s contributions to the study of lupus-related skin diseases include being principal investigator for a study analyzing how certain chemicals contribute to inflammation of the skin and how those chemicals regulate inflammation in response to ultraviolet light.
Additionally, Dr. Kahlenberg and her team have found gender differences in response to ultraviolet light in mice. The team is exploring the role of interferon kappa (IFN kappa) in modulating skin bacterial colonization. Among humans, she says, “Women have a more robust interferon response, particularly for IFN kappa.” These studies may help explain why women are at higher risk of developing lupus and, perhaps, reveal factors that lead to a systemic autoimmunity.
The prize is only latest in a succession of academic awards for Dr. Kahlenberg. She was an Eng Tang Scholar and a Vic and Kelly Braden Memorial Fellow for the Arthritis National Research Foundation. She was named an ACR Distinguished Fellow, and she was awarded an ASCI Young Physician Scientist award in 2015. She also received the Edmund L. Dubois Memorial Lectureship in systemic lupus from the Rheumatology Research Foundation during the 2017 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting.
Lupus Foundation of America Appoints New CEO
The Lupus Foundation of America has appointed Stevan Gibson, its current president, CEO. The appointment comes after completing a 12- to 16-month plan to evolve his position. Mr. Gibson will continue in his role as president, overseeing senior management and carrying out the foundation’s mission, organizational growth and strategic framework. He adds the CEO’s responsibility of spearheading the foundation’s vision: research, advocacy, care services and development.
Mr. Gibson will continue to elevate awareness of lupus and focus on accelerating the research pathway toward better treatments for the disease.
After a 17-year tenure, former CEO Sandra Raymond will remain with the foundation as a senior advisor.
“The Lupus Foundation has terrific health educators who help with diagnosis options,” says Mr. Gibson. In 2017, the foundation opened the National Resource Center on Lupus, which was developed with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has international uses and provides up-to-date resources and information about lupus.
Susan Manzi Named Board Chair for Lupus Foundation of America
In another leadership change, the Lupus Foundation of America named Susan Manzi, MD, MPH, board chair. Previously, Dr. Manzi served for 15 years on the foundation’s Medical-Scientific Advisory Council and for five years as medical director.
“I feel that I’ve learned so much as medical director,” says Dr. Manzi, “and am excited to take on a broader role.”
As a pioneer in the scientific investigation of cardiovascular disease in people with lupus, Dr. Manzi is recognized as a leader in lupus research and patient care. She is currently co-director of the Lupus Center of Excellence and chair of the Medicine Institute at Allegheny Health Network (AHN), Pittsburgh, and has played a leading role in developing the AHN Autoimmunity Institute.
Dr. Manzi notes rheumatologists are generally very patient-focused, developing lifelong relationships with patients. For this reason, doctors need to take on a broader vision and approach to getting involved with policy, she says.
“Insurance tells us what they will cover. Hospital administrators tell us what we can do without costing the hospital too much. Lawyers tell us what we have done wrong,” Dr. Manzi says. “The Lupus Foundation of America opened my eyes to advocating for my patients.”
Ann-Marie Lindstrom is an independent writer and editor based in the Tucson, Ariz., area.