As the new chair of the Pediatric Rheumatology Special Committee, Colleen Correll, MD, MPH, assistant professor of pediatric rheumatology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, will lead the committee through its next chapter of supporting and advancing clinical care, research, education and advocacy for children and teens diagnosed and living with rheumatologic conditions. Dr. Correll talked with The Rheumatologist about her involvement with the committee and her aims as chair going forward. She also shared her general thoughts on pediatric rheumatology and its current challenges.
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The Rheumatologist (TR): Why did you choose to get involved with the Pediatric Rheumatology Special Committee?
Dr. Correll: When I was invited to become a member of the Pediatric Rheumatology Special Committee, I really did not know much about who was on the committee at the time nor what the major role was for committee members. I attended the ACR annual meetings and was involved in the AMIGO program, which pairs pediatric rheumatology mentors and mentees across institutions and across the U.S. to support fellows and junior faculty through their early careers as pediatric rheumatologists. But beyond that didn’t know a lot about the ACR. I was honored to be invited to be a committee member, and I wanted to know more about how I could support my colleagues through the position in the ACR.
TR: Now as chair of the committee, what are your plans and goals for the committee over the next year or two?
Dr. Correll: From a personal standpoint, I have two major goals: The first is to increase the pediatric rheumatology workforce, and the second is to increase pediatric rheumatology representation throughout the ACR. I would [also] love to hear from members of the committee to learn what we as a group think is best to prioritize.
TR: What are some of the major challenges facing pediatric rheumatology that you would like to see addressed?
Dr. Correll: A major challenge is increasing our pediatric rheumatology workforce. The supply of pediatric rheumatologists already does not meet the demand of children with rheumatic disease, and this is especially true in parts of the country where patients have to travel many hours to see a pediatric rheumatologist. There are several states with no pediatric rheumatologists and others with only one or two. The 2015 ACR workforce study showed that this supply-and-demand issue is only going to worsen as many pediatric rheumatologists begin to retire. To date, we do not have enough incoming pediatric rheumatologists to fill this gap.