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Volume 7  Issue 3 • March 2018 • Rheumatology Research Foundation


Foundation-Funded Award Provides Unique Research Opportunity for Community-Based Practitioners

Rheumatologist Dr. Norman Gaylis who made $1 million commitment to Rheumatology Research Foundation.

Rheumatologists in community-based practices work closely with patients, which allows them to notice trends and nuances that researchers may not. Unfortunately, few opportunities exist for rheumatologists to test their own observations through research, in addition to taking care of patients. Limited funding, time constraints, and competition from larger academic medical centers are some of the barriers that hinder clinical research in this setting. The Rheumatology Research Foundation is addressing this issue with the Innovative Research Award for Community Practitioners (IRACP).

The IRACP enables community-based practitioners to pursue research topics that have the potential to improve treatments, patient outcomes, and increase quality of care for millions of people living with rheumatic diseases. This innovative, collaborative approach to research equitably involves all partners in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings.

An outstanding recipient of the IRACP will be chosen by the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Council to receive the distinguished Norman B. Gaylis, MD, Research Award for Rheumatologists in Community Practice. Established with a commitment to the Foundation from Dr. Gaylis, he said, “I feel very strongly that practicing rheumatologists have day-to-day exposure and relationships with patients that allow them to notice trends and nuances that regular researchers might not have, yet they usually don’t have access to funding. I really want to support this kind of research for clinicians with ideas but who didn’t have the resources or the time to develop their ideas. ”

Dr. Gaylis’s investment allows community-based practitioners to explore research topics of importance to the community with the aim of combining knowledge and action for a chance to improve health outcomes for people living with rheumatic diseases. It’s through innovative programs like this that discoveries leading to advances in care for millions of patients are possible.  Learn more about the IRACP and the Foundation’s awards and grants program.



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


Spotlight on Research: Improving Outcomes and Mitigating Risks of Pneumonia in People with RA

Many patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are at an increased risk of infection due to both the disease itself, and the immunosuppressants often prescribed to manage rheumatic diseases. Research indicates that respiratory complications are a major contributor to the excess morbidity and mortality for patients with RA. While treatment can successfully regulate many aspects of RA, including infection risk, understanding the risk and its outcomes could lead to prevention of infections for people living with RA.

Foundation-funded investigator Jeffrey Sparks, MD, MMSc and his team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital are addressing this issue. Dr. Sparks has developed predictive algorithms for factors associated with pneumonia and to identify patients at risk for recurrent pneumonia. Pneumonia is both common and serious in people with RA. During the entire course of RA, 10-20% of patients will experience at least one episode of pneumonia. Some patients have multiple episodes of pneumonia and these patients have particularly high risk of poor outcomes, including mortality.

The algorithms developed by Dr. Sparks help predict and identify RA patients at risk for pneumonia and reoccurring pneumonia. Ultimately, he hopes to develop interventions to decrease the risk of pneumonia and mitigate outcomes that occur after an episode. Dr. Spark’s work is benefiting patients, researchers, and physicians by providing new avenues for identifying and improving outcomes for patients at risk for pneumonia.



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