In the late 1990s, Mrs. Volcker’s health worsened, and the Volckers offered to establish a center at HSS to honor her. Dr. Steven Paget, who was physician in chief at HSS, and Dr. Charles Christian, who was the emeritus physician in chief, invited Dr. Lockshin, then acting director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), to discuss the center’s mission, and he was ultimately offered the job as director, a position he still holds.
You Might Also Like
Explore This IssueJanuary 2018
Also By This Author
Founded in 1997, the Barbara Volcker Center for Women and Rheumatic Disease is marking 20 years of research and clinical work undertaken by scientists, rheumatologists, orthopedists, endocrinologists and obstetrician/gynecologists devoted to women with various rheumatic conditions. Its physicians annually see more than 3,000 individual patients for issues of pregnancy and contraception, antiphospholipid syndrome, overlapping or undifferentiated rheumatic illness, and other aspects of systemic autoimmune illnesses, according to Dr. Lockshin.
“The things I think that have been unique, or at least different, is the focus on gender issues—what we think of as the why-women question,” says Dr. Lockshin.
Many autoimmune rheumatic diseases, such as RA, lupus, scleroderma and others, predominantly affect women and have a significant impact on their quality of life, notes Mikhail Olferiev, MD, a research associate at HSS who received a grant from the Center.
“The complexity of autoimmune diseases and the lack of understanding of mechanisms triggering autoimmune processes make it hard to explain the female predominance,” says Dr. Olferiev.
Founded in 1997, the Barbara Volcker Center for Women & Rheumatic Disease is marking 20 years of research & clinical work undertaken by scientists, rheumatologists, orthopedists, endocrinologists & obstetrician/gynecologists devoted to women with various rheumatic conditions. Its physicians annually see more than 3,000 individual patients.
The Center’s clinical focus and research priorities on gender and pregnancy issues in autoimmune disease mirror the interests of HSS physicians, such as Lisa Sammaritano, MD, and Jane Salmon, MD, co-investigators of a multicenter study on hormone treatment in lupus and another on pregnancy in lupus patients, both sponsored by NIAMS.3,4 Other research by Dr. Salmon’s laboratory described mechanisms of antiphospholipid-associated pregnancy loss.5 Dr Lockshin’s longtime interest in topics of sex differences in autoimmune disease, antiphospholipid antibody and pregnancy loss and incomplete lupus also aligns with the Center, he says.
Over time, concepts and ideas about pregnancy and issues related to women with rheumatic diseases has changed due in part to discoveries of researchers connected with the Center, says Dr. Lockshin. For example, the Center participated as co-investigators in those two large multicenter studies (noted above) on pregnancy and hormone use, in which Dr. Salmon of HSS was one of two principal investigators, along with Jill Buyon, MD, a rheumatologist at NYU Langone Medical Center.