You could call it the Rheumatic Oscars. At the 2014 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting in Boston, 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 advance rheumatology.
ACR Presidential Gold Medal
Joseph Croft Jr., MD
Clinical professor of medicine (rheumatology), Georgetown University Medical School, Washington, D.C.
Background: Dr. Croft has been a fixture in the ACR for decades, so he knows the difficult process that it takes to select the annual batch of award winners. He’s also been on the receiving end. Back in 1990, he won the Paulding Phelps Award, which honors service from clinical rheumatologists. All of that insider knowledge also means he truly understands the distinction of the Presidential Gold Medal.
“I was very honored,” Dr. Croft says. “I have participated on the Nominating Committee in the past [and] contributed to a number of other ACR committees over the years, and I am well aware and appreciative of the intense efforts that all of the members of these various committees have made.”
His efforts are plenty, too. Dr. Croft earned his medical degree from Cornell University in Rochester, N.Y., in 1962. He was chief resident in medicine and a fellow in rheumatology at Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital from 1966–67. Two years later, he opened a private practice that he finally closed in 2007.
After that, he spent five years in a consulting position with Mercy Clinic, a primary-care center serving uninsured patients in Gaithersburg, Md. He’s been involved at Georgetown since 1969 as well, and has held the title of clinical professor since 1989. He’s been a policy advocate and a member of the ACR Board of Directors for years, including serving as president in 1999–2000. He has also worked on the ACR’s education, legislative affairs and ethics committees.
He has served as president of The D.C. Rheumatism Society and chair of the Medical Economics Committee of the D.C. Medical Society. He’s been a member of the Washington Academy of Medicine for 25 years. Among his awards is the American College of Physicians Preceptorship of the Year, given to him in 1996 to honor community-based teaching.
Question (Q): As a former board member, what do you think rheumatologists don’t realize about ACR’s role in the field?
Answer (A): The Board has the responsibility for evaluating, discussing and making recommendations for a wide variety of issues that directly impact rheumatology. The meticulous efforts on the part of the ACR board are providing constructive solutions that will serve to focus on those research, practice and educational issues that should provide the stimulus and energy for the sustained contribution of rheumatology to the advancement of health care in America.
Q: You certainly seem to enjoy keeping busy. What is it about rheumatology that keeps you so engaged?
A: I enjoy the science and evolving new therapies. Continuing to be part of an academic environment provides the opportunity to provide the kind of intellectual stimulation that is part of my being—the teaching of fellows is perhaps my most rewarding involvement.
Q: What is it about teaching that gives you satisfaction?
A: It’s interacting with some very bright, enthusiastic young people who are trying to improve their knowledge base. Sharing some of the experience that I’ve had is very gratifying.
ACR Distinguished Basic Investigator Award
George Tsokos, MD
Chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston; professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School
Background: Dr. Tsokos came to the U.S. after earning both his medical degree and a doctorate in sciences from the University of Athens. The plan was to complete postdoctoral training here and go home.
That was 1979.
“What has kept me here are the research resources available through government agencies,” he says. “Both [the National Institutes of Health] and [the U.S. Department of Defense] have well-running, trustworthy, competitive funding programs that run almost exclusively on merit.”
For 20 years ending in 2007, Dr. Tsokos was a member of the Uniformed Services/Walter Reed community where he served in various posts, including vice chair for research in the Department of Medicine and chief of the Department of Cell Injury. He joined Beth Israel Deaconess in 2007, where his team’s work has focused on defining the molecular and biochemical abnormalities in T cells and other immune cells from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The results: The identification of novel therapeutic targets now is in various phases of clinical development.
Q: What was your experience with Walter Reed like?
A: When I was with the Walter Reed system—the hospital and the research institute—things were quite exciting. The healthcare system was outstanding, with great doctors and resources … to provide care of the highest caliber. I have found the young people who joined the medical corps to be of the highest quality this country has to offer. Please note that the DoD [Department of Defense] requires bases—including hospitals—to continuously realign in order to address evolving military needs. If there were any glitches in this process, I am sure they will self correct.
Q: What has motivated your work with SLE? Was it a patient, an experience, a mentor who pushed that direction?
A: My first patient during my junior year in medical school was a 24-year-old young lady who presented with arthritis, rash and nephritis. I had already started liking immunology. Exciting discoveries came about at that point, and SLE fascinated me because of its complex clinical presentation. When I arrived at NIH [the Arthritis Branch led by the late John Decker], lupus was the focus of the whole branch. The cytotoxic drug treatment protocols were in progress and most of the people were immersed in the study of immune aspects of the disease.
Q: How satisfying has it been to be able to replicate and explore in mice the abnormalities you see in patients?
A: Studies in patients with SLE can never tell us what the relative contribution is of the aberrant expression of a molecule in the expression of the disease. This is why we make mice on normal or lupus-prone background lacking or overexpressing a molecule found to be misexpressed in SLE patients. These new mice can tell us if a certain molecule can cause lupus on its own and if not what other contributors are required. In these new mice, we perform preclinical treatment studies and make recommendations for clinical trials.
ACR Distinguished Clinical Investigator Award
Graciela Alarcón, MD, MPH, MACR
Jane Knight Lowe Chair of Medicine in Rheumatology, Emeritus, The University of Alabama at Birmingham; Professor of medicine, Emeritus, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH), Lima, Perú
Background: Dr. Alarcón’s career is a mystery tale. She was fascinated by the “mysterious” multisystemic diseases, such as lupus, and gravitated to a career in academic research to “channel her interests, get closer to, and help those suffering from many diseases.” Six decades later, she looks back on a career in which she says she’s contributed “concrete and indispensable doses of hope” to her patients and their families.
Dr. Alarcón graduated UPCH as an MD in 1967 and, after training in medicine and rheumatology at Baltimore City Hospital and Johns Hopkins, earned her Master’s degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University in 1972. She joined the UAB faculty in 1980 and was named the Jane Knight Lowe Professor of Medicine in Rheumatology in 1998.
She was named an ACR Master in 2008 and was an active member of the ACR committee that established guidelines for the use of methotrexate, for reviewing the difficult area of fatigue, defining disease activity in lupus and lupus response criteria.
Her research discoveries range from the establishment that African-Americans with RA have a lower frequency of HLA-DR4 and of the shared epitope than Caucasians, to first reporting on methotrexate toxicity and how to ameliorate it with folic acid. Her observations on methotrexate and pulmonary and liver toxicity have withstood the test of time. Currently, she is continuing her two-decade-long investigation of lupus among Hispanics in the U.S.
Q: Your award is for a career dedicated to clinical investigation. What does that mean to you?
A: Being recognized by your peers is certainly quite rewarding. In my wildest dreams, I did not think I would obtain this recognition. Its meaning is based on the reality of doing something to improve the condition of real human beings suffering in front of my own eyes. By doing clinical research, using strict scientific methodology, I think I am also nourishing concrete and indispensable doses of hope to the patients and their families.
Q: What single moment stands out most?
A: Mentoring fellows dedicated to clinical research has certainly been the most rewarding aspect of my academic career. I was fortunate enough to receive funding from the Cornell Lupus Center of Excellence, and then directly from Rheuminations Inc., which allowed me to bring in young Latin American and Spanish-speaking rheumatologists, who worked with our research group in the LUMINA cohort; they were the driving force behind our excellent productivity, which allowed us to put lupus among Hispanics and other minorities in the U.S. on the clinical research map, so to speak.
Q: In today’s world of tight budgets and increasing demands, what lessons can a clinical researcher take from your career?
A: Clinical research is still possible, even nowadays. It requires dedication, organization and yes, resources, but there are still some private and government paths to follow that allow this option to be fulfilled, provided that there are solid lines of research, authentic teamwork approaches and consistent productivity.
ACR Distinguished Clinician Scholar Award
Murray Passo, MD, MEd
Professor of pediatrics and director of the Division of Pediatric Rheumatology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, S.C.
Background: Dr. Passo’s career track can be traced to one man’s prodding nearly 40 years ago. The man was Morris Green, MD, a nationally known pediatrician and the physician in chief at the time of Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. The prod? “He made a recommendation—I would call it a suggestion—that somebody should train in rheumatology to become the first pediatric rheumatologist for the state of Indiana,” Dr. Passo says. “In some ways, I felt targeted for that suggestion and took an elective in adult rheumatology, which at that time was a new division at Indiana. I was immediately intrigued [by] the diseases and with the idea that I could chart a new territory for the state of Indiana.”
It’s a career path that’s still going. Dr. Passo has focused primarily on patient care, education and quality improvement, including involvement in multiple clinical trials. He started the Section of Pediatric Rheumatology at Riley Hospital and ran it for 10 years. He moved to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where he was clinical and fellowship director for 19 years. He has been at the Medical University of South Carolina since 2008.
Dr. Passo has been involved in multiple national pediatric groups and has been a member of the Pediatric Rheumatology Collaborative Study Group since 1984. His teaching honors include the James Cassidy Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Earl Brewer Award from the American Juvenile Arthritis Organization of the Arthritis Foundation.
Q: Being the first pediatric rheumatologist in Indiana means everyone with every question says, ‘Murray’s my guy.’ Was that fun? Scary? Daunting?
A: All three at once. I did my fellowship at Indiana, with Dr. Kenneth Brandt, [MD], and his colleagues, who caught me up as much as they could about pediatric rheumatology. They were down the street from me, so I felt I had some backup. But it was still somewhat daunting.
Q: Is there satisfaction that comes with that, too?
A: There’s a certain sense of ownership. There’s a sense of pride. It’s a nice position to be in a place where you know something about an area that virtually nobody else knows anything about. You can actually develop ways to teach people about it. You can offer a service that was not available before. There’s a lot of responsibility that goes along with being a new subspecialist in a new area.
Q: What changes have you seen over the course of your career?
A: In the ’70s and ’80s, we employed a lot of aspirin; we had a few nonsteroidal drugs. We still employed injectable gold and then there were, of course, glucocorticoids. Luckily, methotrexate came by in the mid 1980s, and it was amazingly better than anything we had been doing before. It still left a lot of room for improvement. Then, in the late 1990s, the biologic agents were introduced. Those have remarkably improved the way we treat patients, and thus, their outcomes are significantly better. The patient’s quality of life is better. It’s amazingly different than it was 35 years ago.
Distinguished Fellowship Program Director Award
David Sherry, MD
Section Chief, Rheumatology, Director of Clinical Rheumatology, Professor of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Background: Dr. Sherry remembers the exact moment it clicked.
It wasn’t until his third year of residency that he had taken a shine to pediatric rheumatology. His mentor, Deborah Kredich, MD, introduced him to the little-known subspecialty.
“I was sitting in the Duke University library, the ceiling opened up, a bright light shone, and I thought, ‘I would be so happy doing this the rest of my life.’ It was really an epiphany,” he says.
Dr. Sherry went on to a fellowship in pediatric rheumatology at the University of British Columbia, serving under Ross Petty, MD. He worked at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles for two years and then for 18 years in Seattle before settling at the University of Pennsylvania. He has trained more than 40 fellows and teams of healthcare professionals.
He chaired the Pediatric Rheumatology Sub-Board of the American Board of Pediatrics and now serves as medical editor. He’s an active member of the ACR’s Pediatric Section Committee, and is a previous winner of the Clinical Educator Scholar award. He organized the first national pediatric rheumatology OSCE (observed structured clinical evaluation).
Q: What lessons did you learn from your mentor?
A: Embrace the hard stuff. Don’t shy away. We’re always going to have hard cases. They are hard; they take time. Another lesson is that it’s OK to care for your patients. Many of our patients have serious sickness, and they are just kids. You can truly like your patients. You can be real with your patients.
Q: What’s unique about your fellowship training program?
A: We teach our fellows ultrasound. We do a lot of joint injections. We teach injections beyond all of the major joints that need to be injected. I think that’s the wave of the future. You’ve got to be teaching ultrasound these days, and I think we’re one of the few pediatric centers that teach ultrasound. We have two ultrasound machines, and we do ultrasound-guided injections. We do the PROSCE [pediatric rheumatology objective structured clinical examinations], and that’s sort of unique.
Q: What do you foresee as the future of pediatric rheumatology?
A: I think that more and more centers without a pediatric residency program are lacking. Not just for training, but for patient care. Centers that don’t have them are recognizing the need for them. Most pediatric rheumatologists don’t want to be the only physician specialist at a center. It’s hard. I think, in the future, we will have multiple pediatric rheumatologists at every center. And I think, because of that, kids will have better access to care and better outcomes. [Parents] won’t have to drive six hours to see their pediatric rheumatologist.
Q: What is it like to receive an award from your peers?
A: To me, it’s a reflection of all of the mentoring and support that I’ve received from so many people over the years.
ACR Distinguished Service Award
Robert Yood, MD, MD, FACP, FACR
Chief of rheumatology, Reliant Medical Group and Saint Vincent Hospital, Worcester, Mass.; clinical professor of medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Background: Sometimes a career is put in focus in one day. Dr. Yood put more than 30 years of membership and service into the ACR. There were multiple standing committees, he was a board member, and he helped craft guidelines for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. But one moment is forever etched in his memory.
The year was 2001, and Dr. Yood was chair of the ACR’s Government Affairs Committee at a time when the organization was making concerted efforts to be more proactive in Washington, D.C. The committee had scheduled its inaugural ACR Capitol Hill reception, and Dr. Yood was excited to be in the nation’s capital, surrounded by like-minded colleagues from all over the country for a committee meeting prior to the reception. The only problem: The calendar read 9/11.
“I will never forget it,” Dr. Yood recalls. “A hotel manager came to our meeting room and said there had been an incident. A few minutes later, they told us what had happened. We sat there stunned. After a few minutes, I said, ‘Meeting adjourned.’”
Dr. Yood first got involved with the ACR through participation in CORC network activities in 1986. He was a member of the ACR Board of Directors from 2004–2007, and was chair of the ACR Ethics and Conflicts of Interest Committee.
Q: What has the ACR meant to you?
A: Personally, it has been invaluable. It has been a great opportunity and privilege to work with both the staff at the ACR, who are incredibly dedicated and good at what they do, and the physicians and allied health professionals who volunteer and are equally dedicated. If not for the ACR, I never would have had the opportunity to get to know and learn from so many leaders in our field. It has rounded out my career and helped me immensely professionally and personally.
Q: What does an award for distinguished service mean to you?
A: I think it recognizes someone who has contributed to how the ACR functions and interacts with its members. What I have really liked about the ACR is all the great people I have met. Distinguished service, in my case, must mean I have been around for a long time.
Q: What moment stands out from your time on the ACR board?
A: The difficult conversations we had about conflicts of interest and making sure that the organization dealt with those issues. For example, what interactions can officers of the ACR have with drug companies while they are officers?
Q: What does this award mean to you?
A: It is an absolute honor. The ACR is a great organization. To be recognized by the ACR is immensely gratifying. It also confirms that I have contributed, not only to patient care in my own office, but also contributed to furthering the specialty of rheumatology.
ACR Excellence in Investigative Mentoring
Earl Silverman, MD, FRCPC
Professor of pediatrics, Division of Rheumatology, Hospital for Sick Children (HSC), University of Toronto
Background: When you have a front row seat to greatness, it influences your decisions. Dr. Silverman trained at Stanford University under some of the most revered immunologists in the field, then returned to Toronto, where he helped establish a residency program in the city where he grew up. He has since mentored trainees from more than 70 countries.
But, more than anything, he makes no bones about what a “tough life” research can be. It’s a career that “demands sacrifice,” he says. “Our trainees learn a way of thinking, a rigor of thinking that will always benefit you. Even if you never again develop your own research project, it makes you a better doctor.”
Dr. Silverman trained at HSC, and, in 1984, he was appointed to the newly established Division of Paediatric Rheumatology/Immunology as an assistant professor. “I was fortunate enough to come back to Toronto at the time when the program was just starting,” he says. “The powers that be at my hospital really saw the light. Shortly after my return, they separated the immunology and rheumatology divisions, and I was allowed to help shape and develop a training program. Remember, at this time the subspecialty almost didn’t exist, yet we had enough people to begin a training program.”
Thirty years later, he has established the largest pediatric lupus cohort in the world and mentored pediatric rheumatologists from every corner of the world. In 2013, he was named editor in chief of the Journal of Rheumatology, and he says his current work focuses on making sure others succeed.
“Of the awards possible from the ACR, this is the one I wanted to win more than any other,” he says. “It is a great moment of satisfaction.”
Q: What is the value of mentoring?
A: You attempt to instill in the people under you the values that you have. In my particular case, that means you have to strive for excellence.
Q: What is a take-home point from your years as an educator?
A: Be realistic in your goals. It took me a long time to learn that. Focus on what you do best, and how you can move that forward. Let others do the other things.
Q: What single moment from your career stands out the most?
A: The 25th anniversary party we held in 2010 for the training program. My colleague and I said to each other, ‘We did well and should be proud.’ We knew that at the end of that day, we have a legacy that will certainly outlive us.
Q: What is the key thing you learned from your mentors?
A: Whatever you do, be proud of it. It’s you, it’s your name, and you should be proud of it. Don’t publish something just for the sake of publishing it. Do your best. Spend the time. Know that you sometimes have to do the scut work. If something doesn’t make sense, go back and review it yourself. Don’t take someone else’s word for it.
ACR Henry Kunkel Young Investigator Award
Kevin Deane, MD, PhD
Associate professor of medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colo.
Background: During his residency at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Dr. Deane encountered multiple patients who were suffering from rheumatic diseases. The meetings got him thinking. Working alongside rheumatologist and fellowship director Sterling West, MD, got him thinking more.
It “really led me to think that rheumatology was a field where there were complex diseases that needed careful attention,” Dr. Deane says.
Dr. Deane’s research focuses on preclinical identification of autoimmune disease, with an emphasis on rheumatoid arthritis (RA). He’s currently a co-investigator in a multicenter study investigating the relationship between genetics, environmental exposures and the development of RA-related autoimmunity.
He has special interests in the mechanistic role of the lung in the initial generation of RA-related autoimmunity, building statistical models using biomarkers and other factors in order to predict future development of RA in currently asymptomatic individuals and, ultimately, developing a prevention trial for RA.
Dr. Deane has served as a co-chair of the ACR Clinical Research Conference and a member of the ACR Research Agenda Task Force. His teaching has been recognized with a number of awards, including a Medical Student Teaching Award and the Golden Apple Medical Student Teaching Award.
He prefers awards from his students, though. “A couple of my trainees have just surpassed me in a few areas,” Dr. Deane says. “I was proud that I was able to participate in their training, allowing them to do that.”
Q: Once you identified rheumatology as an interest, what narrowed your focus to RA? And then further to preclinical identification?
A: The major factor that drove my interest in RA—and in particular preclinical RA—was meeting my mentors, Mike Holers and Jill Norris. I also want to thank all the other researchers and clinicians who have provided me mentorship in preclinical RA. In particular, Chris Striebich, Hani El-Gabalawy, Elizabeth Karlson, Jim O’Dell, Ted Mikuls and Michael Weisman.
Q: What do you see as the future of preclinical identification?
A: I think that preclinical studies are really the next frontier in rheumatology, although to some extent we are already there. I think with the appropriate focus on this area of rheumatic diseases we can make prevention of these diseases a reality in the near future.
Q: How does still being involved in clinical activities help inform your research?
A: It is highly informative to see the people who are affected by this disease, to see the physical manifestations of the disease. Since I am working toward prevention of rheumatic diseases, it really helps to see the whole person and understand not only how a disease affects specific areas of their body, but broader issues, such as how an individual may decide to participate in prevention or a particular approach that they may choose to avoid future disease, for example, taking a pill or making a lifestyle change.
ACR Henry Kunkel Young Investigator Award
Tuhina Neogi, MD, PhD, FRCPC
Associate professor of medicine, Boston University School of Medicine; associate professor of epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health
Tuhina Neogi, MD, PhD, FRCPC Many rheumatic researchers feel torn between their science and their clinical practice. Not Dr. Neogi.
“I enjoy interacting with patients and the intellectual challenges of figuring out what the underlying problem is and how best to manage it,” she says. “More broadly, it is a privilege to have the opportunity to meet so many different people, learn about their lives, and see if there is something that we can do to help them.”
She has focused those opportunities on osteoarthritis (OA) and gout, including research on the roles of vitamin K and of bone in the pathophysiology of OA, and work on pain mechanisms.
Dr. Neogi chairs the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Arthritis Advisory Committee and co-chairs the ACR Classification and Response Criteria Subcommittee. She won a Young Investigator Award from Osteoarthritis International Research Society International and the J.V. Satterfield Award from the Arthritis Foundation.
Q: You pursued a research fellowship under your mentor. How gratifying or educational is it to be on faculty with him?
A: Transitioning from a mentor–mentee relationship to one of collaboration has been successful in large part because we have been thoughtful and deliberate in guiding that evolution. I still gain a lot from my interactions with David [Felson], and I enjoy being able to contribute to his and the group’s work. Similarly, I continue to have fruitful collaborations with my PhD supervisor, Dr. Yuqing Zhang. Our research group’s philosophy of “team science” fosters a culture in which all members of the research team are valued; we continually learn from each other.
Q: And now you work with junior investigators. Knowing how important a mentor–mentee relationship is, what is that like for you?
A: This is a role I quite enjoy and a responsibility I take seriously. I derive a lot of satisfaction from seeing the successes of my junior colleagues. At the same time, when there are disappointing results, I can share my own struggles to provide encouragement. It is particularly challenging in this era of limited funding to attract and keep promising junior investigators in research. We try to optimize the chances of success by using a ‘team science’ approach, wherein mentees benefit by receiving guidance from a number of individuals who have their own particular strengths and all of whom are invested in the success of mentees.
Q: What are the most important questions on osteoarthritis and gout you’d like to see answered in your career?
A: So many questions remain unanswered for osteoarthritis, including how the disease starts, how to prevent its onset and progression, and how best to manage the associated symptoms. In contrast to osteoarthritis, a lot is already understood about gout pathophysiology and management. However, management of gout is quite poor despite effective therapies being available, although additional therapeutic options are needed. As with most rheumatic diseases, we still don’t understand why some people develop osteoarthritis or gout despite having a similar risk factor profile.
ACR Paulding Phelps Award
Herbert S. B. Baraf, MD, MACR
Managing partner, Arthritis and Rheumatism Associates (ARA), Wheaton, Md.; clinical professor of medicine, George Washington University
Background: The law is in Dr. Baraf’s blood. His father, two brothers, one of his daughters—even her spouse—have all been successful attorneys. And yet medicine is where Dr. Baraf has made his mark.
“One of the beauties of rheumatology practice is that it offers very collaborative, long-term and gratifying relationships with patients. We get to see the benefits of our work,” he says. “There are moments every week when you kind of hit yourself in the head and say, ‘Wow, this is great. I’ve really made a difference in someone’s life.’”
He earned his MD from the State University of New York (SUNY), Downstate Medical Center, and completed his internal medicine residency at The George Washington University and rheumatology fellowship at Duke University. Three years after joining ARA, he founded its Center for Rheumatology and Bone Research in 1981, and he has been a principal investigator on more than 350 research projects.
As a member of the ACR Annual Meeting Committee, he helped develop a recurring set of programs relevant to the office practice of rheumatology, and was influential in the ACR’s decision to adopt musculoskeletal ultrasound courses for its membership. He was elevated to Master by the College in 2012.
Dr. Baraf’s work life took a surprisingly pleasant turn several years ago. Invited to give a talk about practice management at the 2001 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting, he parlayed that chat into a “new mini-career,” as a speaker across the country. “It gave me a chance to present the lessons I’ve learned about how to manage a practice, how to negotiate with insurance companies, the advantages of private practice, what makes for a strong private practice, how to keep it strong, and so on,” he says, noting his penchant for building consensus, the power of compromise, and working for the common good. “Speaking to rheumatologists, young and old, gives me great joy.”
Q: Your award is for outstanding service to patients, community and the practice of medicine. What does that mean to you?
A: It means giving each patient what he or she needs. It means listening to the nature of their problems, responding with the best possible advice, and then adjusting that advice as the situation plays itself out. In the wider community, it means being active in patient-focused, disease-focused and specialty-focused organizations in order to influence the quality and accessibility of care. I am extremely honored to receive this award.
Q: What has your work with the ACR meant to you both professionally and personally?
A: It’s wonderful to be part of something bigger than yourself. Being part of a national, even international, community of likeminded people who take care of patients with rheumatic disease is very important to me. Interaction with people in research, academics, industry, and also in practice; sharing perspectives and experience: the ACR is the only platform where all of this happens. My work with the ACR is always gratifying.
Richard Quinn is a freelance writer in New Jersey.