When Marilynn “Lynn” Punaro, MD, MACR, isn’t working with medical students, seeing patients in the clinic, participating in translational research or performing leadership duties, she’s enjoying a good book—especially a good mystery.
You Might Also Like
Explore This IssueMay 2018
Also By This Author
This shouldn’t be a surprise. It was mystery that led Dr. Punaro to a career in pediatric rheumatology more than 30 years ago, at a time when there were only nine pediatric rheumatology fellowships in the country.
“Rheumatologists are the individuals who get called in to solve the complicated cases, when no one else knows what’s going on,” she says. “I enjoyed solving the mystery.”
Today, Dr. Punaro is medical director of rheumatology at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and a professor of pediatrics, division director of pediatric rheumatology, associate program director of the rheumatology fellowship, and Master of Fashena College (an academic college) at University of Texas Southwestern (UT Southwestern) Medical Center in Dallas.
Until recently, Dr. Punaro was also on the ACR Board of Directors. During that time, she served as the Board liaison to the ARHP Executive Committee. Currently, she serves as the only physician on the ARHP Membership and Nominations Committee.
Referring to her time on the Board, Dr. Punaro says, “I got to really see the depth and breadth of what ARHP does.”
Her respect for the health professional division traces back to the earliest days of her career. “When I was a pediatric rheumatology fellow [at UT Southwestern], I worked with a seasoned pediatric rheumatology physical therapist, Deanna Carman,” says Dr. Punaro. “She taught me a lot, and she was involved in ARHP.”
Early on, Ms. Carmen taught Dr. Punaro the value of the multiprofessional organization. The physical therapist would attend the annual ARHP meeting (which was, until about eight years ago, held in conjunction with, but separate from, the ACR Annual Meeting), sharing her own expertise and also learning from people who work around the world.
“As I finished my training and became an academic pediatric rheumatologist, I supported and encouraged my ancillary staff to go to ARHP meetings and to become members,” says Dr. Punaro.
This has benefitted her practice, she says, because many of her staff attend the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting, where they network with other health professionals, attend sessions and bring back new knowledge.
It has been particularly fulfilling for Dr. Punaro to see how her staff have contributed to the rheumatology profession, particularly through efforts to help provide online education for ACR and ARHP members.