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

Rheumatology Research Foundation Announces 85 Recipients of Education, Training and Research Funding

Awards will help train future rheumatologists and fund innovative research

July 1, 2016

ATLANTA – Today, the Rheumatology Research Foundation announced the 85 rheumatology award recipients. The recipients, ranging from medical students and residents to experienced investigators and rheumatologists, will receive funding for essential education and training, as well as innovative research projects. Their applications were closely examined by experts in different areas of the field through an extensive peer review process.
In the 2017 fiscal year (July 1, 2016–June 30, 2017), the Foundation will fund an estimated 275 awards totaling nearly $10.48 million. Recipients of the remaining awards will be announced later this year.

One example is the Investigator Award, which encourages junior investigators to continue innovative research 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 as investigators 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.

Funding from the Foundation’s awards program helps recruit and train the next generation of rheumatologists, while also advancing discoveries leading to new treatments and cures.  As a rheumatologist and professor at Temple University, Audrey Uknis, MD, has witnessed several students gain valuable experience from Foundation preceptorships and career development awards. She is also one of the first awardees of the Foundation’s Physician Scientist Development Award. “The Foundation has enabled scientists, physicians and other healthcare professionals to have the ability to acquire the skills and to have the resources to improve the care that we can provide to patients,” says Dr. Uknis.

The Foundation is able to provide its critical funding, thanks to generous donations from patients and families, the rheumatology community, and corporate supporters. Among the Foundation’s biggest corporate supporters are members of the Corporate Roundtable (CRT), a dynamic partnership between the Foundation and industry leaders.

AbbVie, a member of the Corporate Roundtable and Leadership level donor, has been a major supporter of the Foundation for several years.  “Our ongoing support of the Rheumatology Research Foundation represents our commitment to advancing significant discoveries that have the potential to transform care for people around the world,” says Jim Salanty, vice president, U.S. Rheumatology, AbbVie. “Together, we’re focused on fostering an increased understanding of rheumatologic diseases and creating unique advancement opportunities for healthcare professionals who dedicate their lives to bettering patient care in rheumatology.”

Amgen, Inc., the first Leadership level campaign donor, has also been an integral supporter of the Foundation’s awards and grants program. “Amgen is dedicated to supporting and empowering healthcare providers who will be on the frontlines of treating patients with rheumatic diseases,” said Daniel Billen, vice president and general manager, Inflammation and Nephrology, Amgen. “We are proud that through our commitment to the Foundation, we are able to help advance the rheumatology community’s knowledge and ultimately help improve the care of patients living with these diseases.”

Another Leadership level campaign donor, Pfizer Inc., has increased its investment in the Foundation over the years. “At Pfizer, we believe in the value of investing in emerging areas of science and developing innovative therapies for those in greatest need, especially those suffering with chronic inflammatory conditions,” says Andrew Koenig, medical director, Inflammation and Immunology, Pfizer. “It is our goal to partner with the global health care community, including organizations like The Rheumatology Research Foundation, to help improve patient outcomes. We hope that the Foundation’s awards will help identify best practices, persistent treatment gaps, and actionable processes that can result in an overall improvement in patient care.”

For those affected by rheumatic diseases, the Foundation’s awards provide hope for improved health. Melissa Young, who has rheumatoid arthritis, says, “It’s tangible what the Foundation is doing. They’re actually showing strides and steps in a direction toward finding better solutions, and, ultimately a cure.”

Learn more about the exciting work being done by the latest recipients of Foundation funding.


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