SAN DIEGO—During ACR Convergence 2023 in November, the ACR and the ARP honored a group of distinguished individuals who have made significant contributions to rheumatology research, education and patient care. This month, The Rheumatologist profiles the recipients of the ARP President’s Awards.
The ARP president can choose to honor ACR/ARP members or teams performing outstanding service within the present year to advance the ARP’s goals, ideals and standards. Then-ARP President Kori Dewing, DNP, ARNP, ANP-C, honored the five members of the ARP Governance Task Force with the 2023 President’s Award.
Dr. Dewing, a rheumatology nurse practitioner and affiliate associate professor at the University of Washington School of Nursing, Seattle, talked with The Rheumatologist about the process she employed to select the recipients of the 2023 President’s Award:
“Choosing this awardee(s) is one of the highlights [of the ARP presidency]. However, when it came down to actually making a decision, I found it daunting. As a previous award winner many years ago, I still remember the surprise and joy when I heard the news. There is no rubric to help score possible awardees—and I am a professor. I live by my rubrics! Instead, there is only a description that states ‘the ARP President’s Award is awarded to the ACR/ARP member or team performing outstanding service within the present year in advancing the goals, ideals and standards of the ARP.’
“At an ARP Executive Committee meeting, I asked for counsel, requesting nominees from the pool of volunteers the members had worked with this year. I came away with an impressive list of passionate, driven volunteers who each had done phenomenal work this year in their own committees, helping serve the needs of our members. Although each was deserving of the award, I still struggled to make a decision.
“As my presidential year drew to a close and the award deadline loomed, I reflected on engagement, which was my chosen theme for my term. Engagement means so many different things to our volunteers as I learned. At my first meeting, I asked the Executive Committee to describe what engagement means to them, and from that I created a word cloud (opposite).
“At that same time, our Executive Committee was debating and finalizing decisions based on the recommendations of the ARP Governance Task Force. The task force was composed of diverse individuals, representing past and future leaders, seasoned and newer volunteers, and each from a different field of service within the rheumatology community. Their recommendations, which were drafted to address the ARP’s future and optimize our performance in meeting the needs of our membership, were provided on the basis of an immense amount of data gathering, including interviews with members, volunteers and ACR/ARP leaders, as well as surveys done by the Governance Task Force volunteers. I realized this team of volunteers was a shining example of true engagement.
“The 2023 ARP President’s Award was given to the members of the Governance Task Force in recognition of the outstanding work they did. When I reached out to each of them to let them know they had been awarded the 2023 ARP President’s Award, I was impressed by how they responded. Each one of them talked about how much they personally gained by being on the task force and how much they enjoyed the work. Quotes I jotted down included: ‘had a great time doing it,’ ‘learned the history of ACR/ARP,’ ‘great opportunity to learn from other team members’ and ‘great team to work with.’
“The Governance Task Force is a prime example of a successful team led by co-chairs who worked together seamlessly, each providing their unique leadership abilities. The group showed strong teamwork at a challenging time for the College, during the pandemic. They were given a task and approached it in multiple ways to ensure they had a thorough background on which to make recommendations for the future of the ARP. They took feedback from the ARP Executive Committee and made adjustments, going beyond expectations. Most importantly, the background work they did will continue to shape the ARP and College in the years to come.
“Best of all, they enjoyed doing it. That is the engagement I wish for all our ARP volunteers to experience.”
And the winners are…
Yvonne Golightly, PT, MS, PhD, co-chair of the ARP Governance Task Force, is the assistant dean for research and professor of physical therapy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) College of Allied Health Professions, Omaha. Additionally, she has a courtesy appointment as professor of epidemiology at UNMC, and she serves as co-director of research for the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance.
“I am truly honored to receive this award, and I am very pleased to share this honor with the incredible ARP Governance Task Force team,” says Dr. Golightly. “I felt our whole group worked together so well, and I was extremely proud of our final product.”
Dr. Golightly holds a doctorate in epidemiology and a Master of Science in human movement science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Science in allied health science and physical therapy from The Ohio State University, Columbus.
She is a musculoskeletal epidemiologist and a physical therapist with 20 years of research experience and over 160 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Golightly’s research focuses on osteoarthritis, musculoskeletal injury, lower body musculoskeletal disorders, physical activity, physical rehabilitation, falls, biomechanics, biomarkers and health equity. She has obtained research funding from multiple external funding sources, including the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Golightly is co-principal investigator, with Amanda Nelson, MD, MSCR, RhMSUS, of two internationally recognized cohort studies of musculoskeletal health: the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project and the new Johnston County Health Study.
As assistant dean for research in the UNMC College of Allied Health Professions, Dr. Golightly partners with researchers to advance the multidisciplinary collaborative chronic disease research agenda.
Dr. Golightly currently serves as an associate editor of Osteoarthritis and Cartilage and is an editorial board member of Arthritis Care & Research.
Jan K. Richardson, PT, PhD, OCS, FAPTA, co-chair of the ARP Governance Task Force, is the chief medical officer for Medical Outcome Indicators, Washington, Pa., and professor emeritus, School of Medicine, Duke University, Durham, N.C. Dr. Richardson has also served as chief clinical officer for Universal SmartComp, Washington, Pa., as well as a professor of community and family medicine, founding chief of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program and executive director of the Department of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy at Duke University Medical Center.
She also served as the founding chair/professor of the DPT program, and executive director and chief executive officer for the Institute for Health Care and Research at Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania. She has been in consulting and advisory positions with One Source, a board member of the U.S. Bone and Joint Institute representing the ACR, and serves as an expert witness.
“It was a great honor to have been chosen as a recipient of the ARP 2023 President’s Award for service as co-chair of the Governance Task Force (GTF),” says Dr. Richardson. “All of the GTF members provided excellent insight and expertise in reviewing the current governance structure of the ACR/ARP while creating innovative recommendations for a new and more collaborative partnership focusing on the team approach for rheumatology governance of the ACR. I appreciate this honor and want to thank the GTF members and the ACR/ARP.”
Dr. Richardson earned a doctorate and a Master of Science from the University of Pittsburgh, her post-graduate physical therapy education from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and a Bachelor of Science from Pennsylvania State University, State College.
Active in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) at both the national and local levels, Dr. Richardson was APTA president, served as the U.S. delegate to the World Confederation of Physical Therapy, was a member of the executive committee of the APTA Board of Directors, and served as chair of the national TriAlliance of the APTA/American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)/American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She also served on the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) Task Force for Specialization.
Dr. Richardson has also served as the president of the ARP and on the executive committee of the ACR. Additionally, she initiated the physical therapy component of the Global Health Outreach Initiative at Duke University, traveling to India and Kuwait in the process. She served as a volunteer with a healthcare system in western Pennsylvania and with the Western Pennsylvania Hospital Council.
Dr. Richardson has received numerous awards and honors throughout her career, including the Catherine Worthingham Fellow Award (APTA), the Lucy Blair Service Award (APTA), and the Stanley Paris Award (AOPTA/APTA) and was selected nationally as an Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Fellow.
With her co-investigator, Chad Cook, Dr. Richardson pioneered early work in the establishment of valid and reliable scales for pain and disability. Further areas of research included validation of an item bank in community-dwelling survivors of stroke, looking into the meta-analyses of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) treatments supported by biomedical oncology, and investigation into the use of physical therapy in patients hospitalized with a diagnosis of generalized weakness.
Bharati Bhardwaja, PharmD, BCPS, LSSBB, is a clinical pharmacy specialist in rheumatology at Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Denver, and a clinical assistant professor at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Aurora. She served on the ARP Governance Task Force.
“I am truly honored and grateful to be recognized in this capacity by the ARP,” says Dr. Bhardwaja. “I continue to feel encouraged and motivated to support and contribute toward ARP’s mission.”
Dr. Bhardwaja attended the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and completed three years in the Biomedical Sciences program before transferring to the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY at Buffalo) School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences to complete her Doctor of Pharmacy degree. She then completed a Nephrology/Renal Transplantation American Society Health Systems Pharmacists Accredited Specialty Residency Post Graduate Program at SUNY at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
After completing her residency, Dr. Bhardwaja moved to Denver in 2002 and joined Kaiser Permanente Colorado as its first clinical pharmacy specialist in nephrology/renal transplantation. After eight years, she decided to venture into pharmacy administration and took on the role of pharmacist/pharmacy analyst with the Pharmacy Strategy and Optimization team, where she earned her Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. After spending five years in this role, she transitioned back into patient care as a clinical pharmacist in rheumatology. Twenty-one years later, she is still going strong at Kaiser Permanente Colorado.
Dr. Bhardwaja also precepts pharmacy students and second-year pharmacy residents, and mentors second-year pharmacy residents. She has been a Dean’s Alumni Ambassador Mentor for SUNY at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and currently volunteers as an e-reviewer for incoming Doctor of Pharmacy candidate applications.
Her very first volunteer appointment was with the ACR Committee on Quality of Care that started in November 2020, and her term ended this past November. She has continued to support the ARP as a volunteer, now serving as an ARP co-chair for a special project. Dr. Bhardwaja feels excited, honored and privileged about the volunteer opportunities she has experienced, and will continue to experience, with the ACR and the ARP.
Kaleb Michaud, PhD, is a professor in the Division of Rheumatology and Immunology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.
Dr. Michaud’s experiences as a patient with a rheumatic disease have powered his passion and dedication to improving rheumatology and patient outcomes. He serves as director of FORWARD—the National Databank for Rheumatic Diseases, a long-term, open-cohort observational study with more than 50,000 enrolled participants. He leads the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Rheumatoid Arthritis Investigational Network (RAIN) clinical database and collaborates with the Veterans Affairs Rheumatoid Arthritis (VARA) registry, the Rheumatology Informatics System for Effectiveness (RISE) registry and others.
A scholar in pharmacoepidemiology, health informatics and cost effectiveness, Dr. Michaud prioritizes mentoring and volunteering to grow the next generation of healers, scientists and difference makers. Some of his current projects include disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) adherence, mortality in rheumatic diseases, rheumatoid arthritis activity measures and smartphone-detected health outcomes.
Within the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Dr. Michaud is the director of the rheumatology fellowship research program, chair of the Clinical Research Center pilot grant review committee and leader of the Great Plains Institutional Development Award and Clinical and Translational Research (IDeA-CTR) Mentor Training Facilitator Team. He is dedicated to conducting research that improves care for those living with rheumatic diseases.
Dr. Michaud is an active, 20-year volunteer with the ARP and the ACR; his service includes serving on the ARP Governance Task Force. This is the second time he has received the ARP President’s Award; the first was in 2022.
“The ARP Government Task Force worked to help improve the ARP during a difficult time,” says Dr. Michaud. “This recognition signals that its efforts were heard and there will be more to do. I am greatly appreciative to receive this award along with my task force members.”
Daniel Schaffer, PA-C, MPAS, is a senior physician assistant in the Division of Rheumatology at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. His concurrent military career with the U.S. Army Reserve spanned 27 years. He entered the Reserve as a private first class and retired as a major.
Mr. Schaffer completed his physician assistant (PA) training in 1994 at Cook County Hospital/Malcolm X College in Chicago and completed his master’s degree in family medicine fellowship at the University of Nebraska Medical School, Omaha, in 2000. After completing his PA training, he practiced primary care with the Unity Physicians Group and the Goshen Health System in Indiana before joining the Mayo Clinic in 2001.
His military medical training and the specialized rheumatology training he received at Mayo Clinic proved to be invaluable when he was deployed in 2004–05 to the Middle East in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Noble Eagle. He cared for coalition soldiers and civilians of host nations with primary care and rheumatology conditions.
Mr. Schaffer has been a member of the ARP since 2001 and has been very active in multiple task forces, including the ARP Governance Task Force and those that developed the Advanced Rheumatology Provider course, the Rheumatology Nursing course and the Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant Fellowship program. He served as the ARHP representative to the ACR Blue Ribbon Task Force on Academic Rheumatology and chaired the ARP Practice Committee.
“It is always a special honor to be acknowledged by your peers, and this particular award carries a very special meaning for me in that it acknowledges not only the achievements of this task force, but also the spirit of all who are part of the ACR and ARP, past, present and future,” says Mr. Schaffer. “This professional organization has been a pioneer and advocate for rheumatology patients and their families from its inception and will continue to move forward until these diseases—and the suffering they bring—are extinct.”
Patrice Fusillo is a writer and editor based in Oakland, Calif.