San Francisco is known for the Gold Rush, so it’s a particularly fitting place to collect a gold nugget.
And so at the 2015 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting in the Golden Gate City in November, the ACR and the ARHP honored a group of distinguished individuals who have made significant contributions to rheumatology research, education and patient care. The Rheumatologist spoke with the ACR winners about their individual contributions to advancing rheumatology.
ACR Presidential Gold Medal
David Wofsy, MD, MACR, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology, Dean of Admissions, UCSF School of Medicine, Associate Director, Russell-Engleman Rheumatology Research Center, San Francisco
Background: Witnessing firsthand the confluence of patients struggling with disease and scientific advancements in both research and therapy, Dr. Wofsy says it was clear during his training that rheumatology was an advancing field and he just wanted to be “part of that progress.”
A past president of the ACR and the first scientific director of the Lupus Clinical Trials Consortium, Dr. Wofsy’s accomplishments read like a rheumatology research hall of fame. He:
- Was one of the first to study therapeutic benefits of monoclonal antibodies in murine models for rheumatic diseases;
- Demonstrated the central role of CD4+ T cells in the development of autoimmune disease and the induction of immunologic tolerance;
- Clarified the role of tumor necrosis factor in murine lupus;
- Showed the beneficial effects of anti-IL-6 in a murine model for autoimmune disease; and
- Reported the therapeutic benefit of murine CTLA4Ig, the forerunner of abatacept.
“It is, of course, very gratifying to be recognized by peers,” he says. “But to be perfectly honest, the recognition is a bit embarrassing, given all of the people I consider to be more deserving.”
‘I learned from the example of my mentor, Bill Seaman, that generosity is the single most important quality in a mentor; generosity in resources, ideas, opportunities, credit & spirit.’ —Dr. Wofsy
Question (Q): Mentorship is extremely important to the practice of medicine these days. What lessons did you learn from your mentor?
Answer (A): Mentoring should be judged not by the quality of advice given, but by the tangible value of opportunities provided. I learned from the example of my mentor, Bill Seaman, that generosity is the single most important quality in a mentor; generosity in resources, ideas, opportunities, credit and spirit.
Q: What changes to the field have you witnessed over the course of your career?
A: There has been a remarkable reduction in disability caused by rheumatic diseases, due in part to revolutionary changes in drug therapy, in part to dramatic advances in joint replacement surgery and in part to advances in overall medical care.