Tore K. Kvien, MD, PhD, professor of rheumatology at the University of Oslo, head of the department of rheumatology at Diakonhjemmet Hospital in Oslo, Norway, and a past president of EULAR, first met Dr. Dougados when he coordinated one of the participating centers in the sulfasalazine versus placebo studies in ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis in the early ’90s.3 Dr. Kvien’s term as president of EULAR also coincided with Dr. Dougados’ chairmanship of the Standing Committee for Clinical Affairs. “Maxime is an extremely innovative person,” Dr. Kvien says. “He always has original ideas, but he’s also a doer who really performs and achieves results. He was the architect behind the system for elaboration, dissemination, and implementation of EULAR recommendations that really set the stage on how to develop those.” In its elegant and logical language, one can detect the through-line of Dr. Amor’s model for his trainees: explain things in a simple and clear way.4
A Continued Legacy
Dr. Dougados took the foundational lessons he learned from Dr. Amor and began to apply them to all of his pursuits, both in his own department and within organizations with which he was affiliated. Laure Gossec, MD, PhD, now an associate professor of rheumatology at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie and Hôpital Pitié-Salpétrière in Paris, joined the Hôpital Cochin department and was impressed that the department was not organized in a hierarchical fashion, that evidence-based algorithms determined patient protocols, and that Dr. Dougados encouraged collaboration with his trainees. “He is really a wonderful person to work with,” she remarks. “He is so dynamic and very, very positive; and he is not possessive or protective of his ideas.”
Dr. Gossec recalls that, “spending six months in [Dr. Dougados’] unit really changed my life.” In 2002, her career goal was to simply open a private practice in rheumatology, which would allow her flexibility to expand her family. Dr. Dougados, who, as a mentor, constantly looks for people interested in international projects, saw that she had potential for that. He began nurturing her talents, encouraging her to pursue the doctoral track, to acquire the requisite epidemiology and statistical background, and then, she says, “From 2004, he was pushing me into collaborations,” asking her to organize for meetings and to present slides. “At first, I didn’t realize how important that was. But, of course, it was terribly useful, because people saw me present and began to know my name,” she says.