An elderly lady places her hand on her husband's shoulder.

Finding Opportunity In Challenging Times

Rheumatoid arthritis patient Ali Berger

Ali Berger has become a champion of the Rheumatology Research Foundation. She works with the Foundation to share the importance of funding critical rheumatology research and building a more robust workforce to provide people across the country better access to treatment. 

Ali experienced an irreversible change in her life when she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in November 2012. At the time, she made the challenging decision, though living in New York City, to return to her hometown of Chicago to seek a rheumatologist closer to her family. After months of tests, doctors’ appointments and dead ends, Ali along with her rheumatologist, Dr. Eric Ruderman, were able to find a successful treatment plan.

Along with new beginnings come new challenges. Like many individuals living with rheumatic disease, COVID-19 created a series of new obstacles for Ali. Many rheumatologists have turned to telemedicine. Through telemedicine, patients like Ali can consult with a rheumatology professional from a safe and secure distance. “Telemedicine allows me to connect with my rheumatologist in a safe manner,”  says Ali.   

Now, Ali has been able to stay safely in her home, while virtually connecting with Dr. Ruderman. She proudly proclaims, “This is the most active I’ve ever been since I was diagnosed. I’m walking outside every day, I’ve been playing tennis weekly…I feel grateful that I’m well enough to do it.”


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