When Harry Spiera, MD, stepped out of the New York University School of Medicine in 1958, rheumatology was in its infancy. Obviously, much has changed for both the physician and the specialty over the 58 years between then and his recent retirement.
“Early on, rheumatology was the most clinical of the specialties, because the science just wasn’t there yet,” says Dr. Spiera. “At that time, we were just starting to look at the rheumatic diseases in a serious and systematic way. That fascinated me.”
Over the years, research has made great strides in identifying rheumatic diseases and, at least as importantly, their treatment. When he began his career, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was almost always a crippling and debilitating disease. Now, it is possible to stabilize patients and stop the progression of the disease.