Foundation-funded investigator Jeffrey Sparks, MD, MMSc, and his team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, are addressing this issue. Dr. Sparks has developed predictive algorithms for factors associated with pneumonia and to identify patients at risk for recurrent pneumonia. Pneumonia is both common and serious in people with RA. During the entire course of RA, 10–20% of patients will experience at least one episode of pneumonia. Some patients have multiple episodes of pneumonia and have a particularly high risk of poor outcomes, including mortality.
The algorithms developed by Dr. Sparks help predict and identify RA patients at risk for pneumonia and recurring pneumonia. Ultimately, he hopes to develop interventions to decrease the risk of pneumonia and mitigate outcomes that occur after an episode. Dr. Sparks’ work is benefiting patients, researchers and physicians by providing new avenues for identifying and improving outcomes for patients at risk for pneumonia.
Addressing the shortage of rheumatologists
A passion to improve the clinical reasoning skills of future doctors led Maria Dall’Era, MD, to create a tool that has the potential to address the growing shortage of rheumatologists by exposing medical students and new doctors to rheumatology.