In an effort to support and nurture the number of rheumatology fellows in Canada, as well as to attract future medical students into the therapeutic area, UCB Canada Inc. has partnered with the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA) and The Arthritis Society (The Society) to fund the Postgraduate Rheumatology Fellowship Award Program. These awards will provide complete funding over the course of two years to clinical or clinical research trainees who are completing a fellowship in rheumatology. By supporting the advanced, clinically-oriented training of rheumatology graduates, this fellowship award program aims to broaden the expertise found in the Canadian rheumatology community.
Moreover, by providing a financial incentive for medical students to pursue rheumatology as a specialty, the fellowship program has the potential to increase the number of practicing rheumatologists in Canada. A key criterion of the fellowship award states that candidates must be eligible to practice as a rheumatologist in Canada and to serve Canadian patients upon completion of their training.
The recipients of the fourth year of the UCB-CRA-TAS Post Graduate Rheumatology Fellowship award are as follows:
Recipient: Dr. Alison Clifford Supervisor(s): Drs. Carol Langford and Gary Hoffman Institution: Cleveland Clinic August 2012 to July 2014
Recipient: Dr. Amanda Steiman Supervisor(s): Dr. Murray Urowitz Institution: University of Toronto April 2013 to March 2015 Total Investment: $240,000
Recipient: Dr. Claire BarberSupervisor(s): Dr. John Esdaile and Dr. Deborah MarshallInstitution: University of CalgaryJuly 2011 to June 2013
Dr. Claire Barber was raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She obtained her undergraduate honours degree in microbiology and immunology from Dalhousie University in Halifax. She then completed her medical school and internal medicine training at Dalhousie University. Her rheumatology training was at the University of Toronto. She will be commencing a Master's degree in Epidemiology at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. John Esdaile and Dr. Deborah Marshall with a focus in the use of administrative data and cost analysis to examine the impact of infection as a co-morbidity in patients with systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases.
"The UCB/CRA/TAS Post Graduate Rheumatology Fellowship award has allowed me to pursue training in clinical epidemiology with experts in the field. I endeavour to plan a career in academic rheumatology and hope that my research will highlight important co-morbidities in patients with rheumatic diseases and offer insights into ways of reducing the morbidity and mortality of these diseases and ultimately improve patient care."
Infections are a common cause of hospitalization and death in patients with systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases (SARDs) such as systemic lupus erythematosus, vasculitis, scleroderma and inflammatory muscle diseases such as dermatomyositis and polymyositis. Patients with SARDs are at risk of infection for two reasons: 1) they are often treated with medications such as corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents; and, 2) the diseases are also associated with immune dysfunction which increases the risk of infections. These infections are associated with an increased risk of dying. To measure the number of infections and to identify which infections could be prevented is important. However, it remains challenging to do this as there are few studies on infections in persons with these diseases. These studies vary considerably in the way they have been conducted and it is difficult to compare studies to generate useful recommendations that can be applied in the clinic. To answer these important questions we propose that the use of administrative data generated from hospital admissions, physician visits as well as vital statistics would allow us to study this issue on a broad scale to ensure that our findings are universally applicable. We are currently working with a team of investigators to ensure that the way we define infections in these databases is sound and valid. Once we have defined how frequently serious infections requiring hospitalization or causing death occur in patients with systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases we will look at the type of infections to determine what percentage were preventable infections as well as the medication risk factors for infection. Infections are one of the top three causes of death for patients with systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases. Our study will determine the magnitude of the problem and identify medication risk factors and possible preventive measures to decrease hospitalization and death rates.
Recipient: Dr. Nataliya MilmanSupervisor(s): Dr. Peter TugwellInstitution: University of OttawaJuly 2011 to June 2013
Dr. Nataliya Milman was born and raised in Ukraine. She immigrated to Toronto with her family at the age of 15. She completed her undergraduate degree in computer science at the University of Toronto. She then moved to Ottawa, where she completed her medical school, internal medicine training, and rheumatology residency program.
Dr. Milman will be focusing her academic career on the various vasculitides. Having been granted the 2011/2012 UCB-CRA-TAS Post-Graduate Rheumatology Fellowship, she started a fellowship program in July 2011. The fellowship will include a Masters Degree in Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa and a research project on the application of the International Classification of Function, Disability, and Health (ICF) to the field of vasculitis. ICF is a generic tool developed by the World Health Organization as a standard way to describe the global health status of patients irrespective of their diagnoses. Dr. Milman's hope is that this fellowship will be the first step to a fulfilling academic career focused on vasculitides.
Recipient: Dr. Glen HazelwoodSupervisor(s): Dr. Claire BombardierInstitution: University of TorontoJuly 2010 to June 2012
Dr. Glen Hazlewood grew up in Victoria, British Columbia. He stayed close to home while he completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Victoria. He subsequently completed his medical school, internal medicine and rheumatology training at the University of Calgary. He is now starting his Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Toronto. His current research interests are in early rheumatoid arthritis, clinical decision-making and access to care. "Thanks to the UCB/CRA/TAS Post Graduate Rheumatology Fellowship Award, I feel my goals are now within reach. I can concentrate on pursuing an academic career in rheumatology with a focus on improving the treatment of early rheumatoid arthritis in Canada."
Recipient: Dr. Tabitha KungSupervisor(s): Dr. Katherine SiminovitchInstitution: University of TorontoJuly 2010 to June 2012
Dr. Tabitha Kung was raised in Scarborough, Ontario. She obtained her undergraduate biology degree at McMaster University with a focus in genetics. She then completed medical school at the University of Toronto (U of T), her internal medicine residency at Queen's University and returned to U of T to complete her rheumatology training. She will be commencing a Master's degree in Epidemiology, with a focus in Genetic Epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at U of T looking at the genetic characterization of rheumatoid arthritis. "I wish to pursue an academic rheumatology career combining my interests in genetics and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). I want to examine genetic determinants for susceptibility, outcome, treatment response and personalized medicine in RA. The UCB/CRA/TAS Post Graduate Rheumatology Fellowship Award has brought me one step closer to my aspiration."
Thanks only to the generosity of its donors and partners,The Arthritis Society was able to invest the total amount below insupport of the UCB Canada Inc. /Canadian Rheumatology Association / The Arthritis Society Rheumatology Postgraduate Fellowship for 2011/2012.
Total Investment: $240,000
The Arthritis Society provides leadership and funding for research, advocacy and solutions to improve the quality of life for Canadians affected by arthritis.
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