Editor’s note: We were sad to learn that Rodanthi C. Kitridou, MD, MACR, passed away July 6, 2023, after a long illness. Dr. Kitridou was the longtime director of clinical rheumatology at at LAC/USC Medical Center in Los Angeles. In an article published in 2011, Dr. Richard Panush said of Dr. Kitridou, “[She] was intense, clinically superb, smart, demanding, commanding and obsessively thorough. Her knowledge of clinical rheumatology was vast and her clinical skills consummate. She was deeply devoted to her patients, with an almost maternal dedication. She would not tolerate her students, residents or fellows not caring as assiduously as she, and woe unto him or her who stinted. She demanded a higher standard. Often was the time when she would seemingly spend hours with a patient, during a busy clinic day, sympathizing, empathizing and displaying an amazing ability to figure out some novel way to help her suffering patients.” Here, we republish a story from 2012 featuring Dr. Kitridou.
Since the beginning of their medical careers, Rodanthi C. Kitridou, MD, and Bevra H. Hahn, MD, have seen a huge shift in the demographics of the field.
“When I came to the United States in 1963 for my residency, the U.S. had few female physicians and even fewer female rheumatologists,” says Dr. Kitridou. “It is remarkable to have seen how the subspecialty has grown through the years.”
In fact, when Drs. Kitridou and Hahn began their careers, only about 7% of physicians were female.1 Today, the number of female physicians has jumped to nearly 30% of the workforce, according to data from the American Medical Association. And the subspecialty of rheumatology has seen an even greater shift in the percentages, with females making up more than 60% of the current rheumatology fellows-in-training, as measured by the National Resident Matching Program. Both Drs. Hahn and Kitridou credit the influx of women entering medicine as the catalyst for gender shift within the subspecialty.
Drs. Hahn and Kitridou have witnessed these tides turn from the beginning. Certainly, their experiences and example can serve as a guide for the next generation, leading the way and setting the tone for future female rheumatologists.
Dr. Kitridou was born in Greece and trained at Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital (now Drexel University). She directed the rheumatology department at Hahnemann for five years, prior to joining the University of Southern California (UCS) as directress of clinical rheumatology, where she eventually became a professor of medicine. Dr. Kitridou has received numerous honors throughout her career, including being elected a master of the ACR in 2003 and receiving the Humanitarian Award of the Lupus Foundation of America, as well as an Honorary Life Membership. She retired from USC in 2008 and now volunteers at the lupus clinic of Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center.