Roberto Caricchio, MD, Now Chief of Rheumatology at UMass Chan Medical School
As of July 1, Roberto Caricchio, MD, began a new appointment as chief of the Division of Rheumatology at UMass Chan Medical School, Worcester. He was formerly chief of the Section of Rheumatology at Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia, where he was also a professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology, as well as director of the Temple Lupus Program. Dr. Caricchio has also been named the Myles J. McDonough Chair in Rheumatology, a position formerly held by past ACR President Ellen M. Gravallese, MD, who is now chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Inflammation and Immunity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston.
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We spoke with Dr. Caricchio during the transitional period between his acceptance of the new assignment and his move to Worcester. Dr. Caricchio’s major interest in lupus will remain, but he is also going to have the opportunity to foster the growth of other physician-scientists, “a part of my career that is dear to me.”
With palpable excitement, he explained that moving to UMass meant joining a medical institution entrenched in research. He will be among numerous physician-scientists—including David D. McManus, MD, chair of medicine and a leading authority in cardiovascular digital health, and Terence R. Flotte, MD, the provost, dean and executive deputy chancellor, who is an internationally known scientist in molecular therapeutics. The proximity of so many other physician-scientists will foster “the type of discussions and interactions that are what a physician-scientist needs,” says Dr. Caricchio.
Clinical opportunities will also abound. His vision includes developing streamlined mechanisms to decrease wait times for patients with severe disease, growing a strong lupus program, offering patients the opportunity to join clinical trials and expanding translational research. Building the multidisciplinary clinics will also be part of the mix, he says, because it has been established that rheumatology patients who have joint access to other disciplines, such as nephrology, pulmonology and dermatology, experience better quality of care.
Dr. Caricchio will be passing the baton for work on a major study conducted while he was a core member of Temple University Hospital’s COVID-19 Response Team. He spearheaded the development of a new strategic therapeutic approach to treating patients with coronavirus inflammatory response and predictors of poor outcome.1 Of that effort, Dr. Caricchio says it was both “professionally and scientifically spectacular, but from a human point of view, seeing so many individuals succumb to a disease at one time … was terrible.”