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Volume 7  Issue 4 • April 2018 • Rheumatology Research Foundation


Funding the Future

In the coming fiscal year (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019), the Rheumatology Research Foundation has committed to fund more than $9.4 million to rheumatology research and training. About half of those awards will support efforts to recruit and train the next generation of rheumatology professionals. The remaining funds will be awarded to advance research projects that lead to breakthroughs in treating people with rheumatic diseases. In all, the Foundation has committed more than $161 million to fund more than 3,400 awards since 1985, making it the largest private funding source of rheumatology research and training in the United States.

Across the U.S., Foundation awardees are focused on improving the lives of those affected by rheumatic disease. The focus of their work varies— from investigating earlier detection to possible novel treatments — but they are all making progress towards improving the quality of life for millions of people living with rheumatic diseases.

On July 1, the Foundation will announce the fiscal year 2019 award recipients. The recipients, ranging from medical students and residents to experienced researchers and rheumatologists, will use the funding to enhance their education and training, as well as conduct innovative research projects that advance treatments. Their applications, which were submitted last year, were closely examined by experts in different areas of the field through an extensive peer review process.

One example of the Foundation-funded awards is the Investigator Award, which encourages junior researchers to continue innovative studies into the cause, prevention and treatment of rheumatic diseases. Another award, the Scientist Development Award, supports individuals who are in the early stages of their research career as they strive to establish themselves in the field. Additionally, the Foundation’s Medical and Graduate Student Preceptorship program recruits and trains the next generation of rheumatology health professionals by providing them with a full-time mentorship with an established rheumatology professional.

Be on the lookout for the July edition of Pathways to learn more about our new awardees and how they are advancing rheumatology and read more about last year’s award recipients.



The Foundation allows investigators from a variety of backgrounds to pursue novel concepts in rheumatology research. Watch this video to learn more about the innovative research we fund.  


Profiles of Success: Spotlight on Foundation-Funded Research

Research improves our understanding of both physician and patient decision-making. Beyond understanding, scientifically sound methods that incorporate patients' preferences into complex decisions involving difficult trade-offs are needed. Insights from Liana Fraenkel’s, MD, MPH, work are helping develop methods that patients and physicians can use to better navigate treatment options.

Dr. Fraenkel’s research interest is in developing robust and practical methods to elicit patient treatment preferences and to improve medical decision making. Her work has highlighted trends in decision making, which have important clinical implications. For example, research published in Arthritis Care & Research found an interactive, online support tool can assist patients with RA in making the decision to escalate care with biologic agents.

With support from the Foundation’s Innovative Research Award, Dr. Fraenkel has developed tools for patients that improve the likelihood of patients being informed of their available treatment preferences, improve patient-physician communication, and improve the likelihood that patients will have a treatment plan developed that is concordant with their values.

Learn more about the IRACP and the Foundation’s awards and grants program.


Liana Fraenkel’s, MD, MPH research is helping improve patient and physician decision making.

Liana Fraenkel’s, MD, MPH research is helping improve patient and physician decision making.



Give today and help transform the future for millions of people living with rheumatic disease.