American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Stimulus Package)

NIAMS ARRA Chronicles

Multicenter Psoriasis Study Offers Benefits to Skin Research, Future Doctor
Dateline: Philadelphia, Penn.

June 30, 2011 (historical)

"This experience has given me invaluable research, clinical, and patient exposure that has uniquely prepared me to pursue a career as a physician."

Photo of Jane Steinemann

Photo ID: Jane Steinemann

Aspiring medical student Jane Steinemann is speaking of her role as research coordinator for a University of Pennsylvania-based project that examines the comparative effectiveness of treatments for psoriasis, a chronic skin disease characterized by scaling and inflammation. The study—and her central part in it—have been made possible by a grant funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

The investigation is headed by University of Pennsylvania scientist Joel Gelfand, M.D., M.S.C.E., and involves surveying people with moderate-to-severe psoriasis and obtaining their physicians’ medical assessments to see how well different treatments work. Importantly, a research network called DCERNSM (Dermatology Clinical Effectiveness Research Network)—created by Dr. Gelfand and his colleagues—provides the multidisciplinary, collaborative infrastructure necessary in comparative dermatology research. At a crucial intersection in the network is Steinemann, who manages the collection of data on patient demographics, medical and psoriasis treatment histories, health-related quality of life, and satisfaction with therapy. This means not only supervising data collection at the University of Pennsylvania site, but also overseeing research coordinators at seven other sites around the country. In addition, she trains site coordinators (people who manage clinical trials) and screens and interviews potential study participants. A total of over 1,400 patients have now been enrolled.

Steinemann, who will attend Drexel University College of Medicine in the fall, has learned much from the interactions with patients as a research coordinator. "Learning about their lives, their stories and their struggles with psoriasis has poignantly demonstrated the importance of our research," she says. "My experience has not only affirmed my desire to be a physician, but has also inspired me to incorporate research into my future career."

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The activity above is being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). To track the progress of HHS activities funded through the ARRA, visit www.hhs.gov/recovery. To track all federal funds provided through the ARRA, visit www.recovery.gov.