The word rheumatology and its counterpart, rheumatologist, are new to the English language. They didn’t exist 50 years ago. There were a relatively few physicians interested in rheumatologic disease, but not the science of rheumatology. The American College of Rheumatology was founded in 1988.
Explore this issueMay 2015
A few of us still alive, notably, the centenarian Ephraim Engelman, MD, still a practicing rheumatologist at the University of California, San Francisco, can remember the early days. I, too, am among them. I was a founder, in 1949, of the International League Against Rheumatism (ILAR), served as an officer for eight years and knew most of the world’s rheumatologists.
The leader was the Dutchman, Jan van Breeman, MD, and he was followed by distinguished, mostly northern Europeans and then Americans.