The Sharp score is very important for evaluating drug therapy, he notes. “Without a truly objective measure of what is happening to the joint structure, it would be very hard to understand to what extent a drug that makes patients feel better now is really doing something to their long-term health,” he says.
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“This is the best we have right now—and as a matter of fact, I think it’s pretty good,” he says, adding, “I think scoring is a transient method. As soon as we have something that is really very efficient and very accurate, in terms of actual measurements, then people will say, ‘Why on earth did we ever bother with scoring?’ ”
It is this kind of understated authority that makes Dr. Sharp such a well-respected figure in the field. To a person, each of his colleagues had universally positive things to say about Dr. Sharp. Dr. Strand expressed it most succinctly: “I don’t think I’ve ever met such an elegant man.”
- Sharp JT, Lidsky MD, Collins LC, Moreland J. Methods of scoring the progression of radiologic changes in rheumatoid arthritis: correlation of radiologic, clinical and laboratory abnormalities. Arthritis Rheum. 1971;14:706-720.
- Sigler JW, Bluhm GB, Duncan H, Sharp JT, Ensign DC. Gold salts in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: a double-blind study. Ann Intern Med. 1974;80:21-26.
- Van der Heijde DM, van Riel PL, et al. Effects of hydroxychloroquinine and sulphasalazine on progression of joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis. Lancet. 1989; 1:1036-1038.
- Strand V, Sharp JT. Radiographic data from recent randomized controlled trials in rheumatoid arthritis: What have we learned? Arthritis Rheum. 2003;48(1):21-34.
After serving as a student in uniform during World War II, Dr. Sharp graduates from the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.
Completes a two-year residency at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where he works with Charles Ragan, MD, chief of Presbyterian Hospital’s arthritis program.
Completes a two-year residency at Dartmouth.
On a tour of duty in the Navy during the Korean War, during which he is stationed in New Hampshire and Maryland.
Begins rheumatology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, working in their pioneering academic program under Walter Bauer, MD.
Accepts a position at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Mich.
Becomes chief of rheumatology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where he spends 15 years building a solid program.
Accepts a position as chief of medicine at a VA hospital with the hope of building a new medical school at Champagne/Urbana. VA budget cuts prevent this, however.
Moves to the Joe and Betty Alpert Arthritis Center in Denver.
At age 62, faced with a retirement he was not quite ready for, Dr. Sharp joins a small medical clinic in Tifton, Ga.
Now (mostly) retired, Dr. Sharp spends his days relaxing with his family and volunteering in his community when he is not working to develop new outcomes measures or collaborating with other rheumatology researchers.