Spotlight on Research for 2005

August 2005 (historical)

Pediatric Rheumatology to Benefit From Training Grant

The nationwide shortage of pediatric rheumatologists will be addressed by a training program at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. There are slightly more than 200 board-certified pediatric rheumatologists in the United States, according to Raphael Hirsch, M.D., division chief of pediatric rheumatology at Children's Hospital, who will head up the program. Pediatric rheumatologists focus on musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases of childhood, the most common being juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

The program is being funded by a grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health. In each of the five years of the grant, four fellows will be trained in one of the newest specialties in rheumatology.

According to Dr. Hirsch, "One of our central missions is to educate a new generation of academic pediatric rheumatologists who can play a leading role in the specialty as physician scientists. We intend to do so by providing, within a single center, the research role models, mentorship, and rich environment necessary for nurturing such individuals and ensuring their success."

This is the second NIAMS grant specifically for training pediatric rheumatologists. Robert A. Colbert, M.D., Ph.D., heads up a similar NIAMS-funded program at Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati, Ohio. Other NIAMS grants fund training programs for both adult and pediatric rheumatologists. One is under the direction of C. Garrison Fathman, M.D., at Stanford University, and another is headed by Philip L. Cohen, M.D., at the University of Pennsylvania.

The mission of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), a part of the Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health, is to support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases, the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research, and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. For additional information, call the NIAMS Clearinghouse toll free at 1-877-22-NIAMS, or visit the NIAMS Web site at www.niams.nih.gov.