Clinical Associate Professor
Pediatric Rheumatology; Pediatrics
I diagnose, and care and advocate for, children with rheumatic diseases such as systemic lupus, juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM), vasculitis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. I have particular expertise in JDM. I am careful and thoughtful in my approach to my patients who have chronic, complex rheumatologic diseases, because these illnesses have major effects on all aspects of my patients’ lives. My goal is to meet the complex needs of my patients and their families by working to control disease activity, preserve normal physical, social and emotional growth and development, minimize chronic disability and deformity and achieve disease remission. I understand the everyday difficulties families of children with rheumatic diseases often encounter, and I help them cope with the challenges of hospitalization, frequent outpatient visits and long-term treatment that includes injectable medications. I educate my patients and their families as much as possible, to help foster cooperation and compliance with my care.
I also customize my patients’ care by paying special attention to the psychosocial aspects of illness that can negatively influence adapting to chronic rheumatic diseases: e.g., depression, anxiety and sleep disturbance. I coordinate a team of health care professionals in rheumatology, physical therapy, occupational therapy and psychology to address these coexisting conditions with my patients and their families. Additionally, I support families as they make teachers and other school personnel aware of their children’s daily needs.
My research focus is JDM. My goal is to understand its etiology and why its manifestation is different from one patient to another. Another goal is to advance physicians’ ability to diagnose and care for patients with rheumatologic disease—research that will ultimately make a difference in patients’ quality of life. Medical students, residents and fellows are welcome to work with me on research projects.
I work with pediatric residents during their monthlong elective in rheumatology, teaching them how to diagnose and treat rheumatic disease. I also work with immunology fellows during their rotation in rheumatology. I help them develop an understanding of the presentations, natural history and complications of rheumatologic conditions in children. I also help trainees better understand autoimmunity and biologics—particularly, the mechanisms of how biologics work and how they are applied in patient care.