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Hospital for special surgery physician-scientists share advances in rheumatology research
Nov 5, 2011 - 4:00:00 AM

Hospital for Special Surgery physician-scientists who focus on arthritis, lupus, vasculitis and related conditions are traveling from New York City to Chicago this week to share their recent findings at the 75th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

Special Surgery investigators will present advances that should influence the future of clinical care. Of the meeting's highlights, results from the nine-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded study led by Jane Salmon, M.D., senior author, rheumatologist and Collette Kean Research Professor at Hospital for Special Surgery, found a favorable prognosis for pregnancy outcomes in women with lupus. The study's results will be presented on Monday, Nov. 7 and at an ACR press conference on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 8:30am CT.

We have demonstrated that with diligent care and counseling, successful pregnancy can be a reality for women faced with lupus, says Dr. Salmon. Historically, doctors have cautioned against becoming pregnant, but with the medical insights we have learned from our research, these women have reason for new hope.

Additional significant topics presented by HSS experts include socioeconomic factors that influence patients' appointment compliance at a specialized lupus clinic, one-year results following a cardiovascular prevention program in lupus and antiphospholipid syndrome patients, expectations for rheumatoid arthritis patients following total knee replacement, use of anti-TNF medications before patients undergo total knee replacement, and the link between mental health and inflammatory flares in Wegener's granulomatosis disease.

The goal for the physicians at Hospital for Special Surgery's Division of Rheumatology is to better understand disease so that we can better care for patients, explained Physician-in-Chief Mary K. Crow, M.D. We hope to take the knowledge we gain at the laboratory bench and apply what we learn to patients who need the most innovative care.

At the meeting, the ACR will also honor three Hospital for Special Surgery faculty members with prestigious awards: Dr. Laura Robbins, DSW, CSW, MSW, senior vice president of education and academic affairs and scientist at Hospital for Special Surgery, will receive the ACR's Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Theresa Lu, MD, PhD, pediatric rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery, will receive the Henry Kunkel Young Investigator Award, and Physician-in-Chief Emeritus Stephen A. Paget, M.D. will receive the Distinguished Clinician Scholar Award.

The Lifetime Achievement Award being given to Laura Robbins is the highest honor that the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP) bestows, and is presented to an investigator whose career has demonstrated a sustained and lasting contribution to the field of rheumatology. The Henry Kunkel Young Investigator Award is granted to a young physician scientist, age 45 or younger, who has made outstanding and promising independent contributions to basic and clinical research in the field of rheumatology. The Distinguished Clinician Scholar Award is awarded to a rheumatologist who has made outstanding contributions in clinical medicine, clinical scholarship, or education.

It is remarkable that three Hospital for Special Surgery experts in rheumatologic disease have been honored with ACR Awards, said Dr. Crow, who is also a past president of the ACR. Each of these Special Surgery experts has significantly contributed to the field of rheumatology.

Dr. Robbins, the first ARHP President, focuses on qualitative research as a way to understand the role of culture and ethnicity in rheumatologic patients' health care experience. Dr. Lu is studying the contribution of blood vessels to the altered immune system function that is responsible for autoimmune diseases, including lupus and scleroderma. Dr. Paget served as the hospital's physician-in-chief and chair of the Division of Rheumatology from 1995 to 2010, and today continues to advance delivery of outstanding care to patients and superior education of rheumatology trainees through the hospital's new Rheumatology Education Academy.

Highlights of presentations by Hospital for Special Surgery physician-scientists include:

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