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ATLANTA – The State of Texas Association of Rheumatologists (STAR) has created a $1 million endowment fund with the Rheumatology Research Foundation. This generous commitment establishes the State of Texas Association of Rheumatologists Fellowship Training Award Endowment, which provides partial salary support annually to one fellow at a qualifying ACGME-accredited adult rheumatology fellowship training program in the state of Texas.  

STAR is a rheumatology state society membership-based organization founded by Rudy Molina, MD, FACP, MACR in 2015 with the assistance of executive treasurer, Brian Loggins, and the support of several colleagues who are now our existing Board of Director: Fehmida Zahabi, MD, President, Prashanth Sunkureddi, MD, President-Elect, Naser Elkhalili, MD, Treasurer, Jane Ayala, MD, Secretary, Matthew Mosbacker, MD, Past President, Alex Limanni, M.D, Past President. STAR's mission is to promote the highest quality, evidence-based, specialty care for patients with rheumatology diseases and to provide cutting-edge education to its patients and the health-care community at large while promoting the advancement of the specialty of rheumatology in the great state of Texas. 

"We are thrilled to make this commitment to bolster the rheumatology workforce in Texas. Last year, we had 187 applications for one fellowship in San Antonio. So the need is clearly there." said Dr. Molina. "Making this investment to support future rheumatology professionals in Texas was an easy decision. I'm delighted we could do it at this time due to the substantial growth STAR has seen in membership and sponsorship."  

According to the CDC, by 2040, the number of United States adults diagnosed with arthritis is projected to increase by 49% to 78.4 million. The 2015 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Workforce Study projected that by 2030 adult rheumatology providers (physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants) will decline by 25% in terms of full-time equivalents, resulting in demand exceeding the supply of rheumatology providers by 102%.   

The Foundation's Fellowship Training Awards address the growing demand for rheumatologists by providing robust education and training opportunities. These awards help to cultivate future generations of rheumatology professionals and ensure people with rheumatic diseases have access to the care they need.  

"This exceptional commitment demonstrates the collective impact groups like state societies can have by rallying around pertinent issues affecting their local communities," said Foundation executive director Rachel Myslinski, MBA. "STAR's commitment to supporting the workforce in Texas is unprecedented. We are grateful for their vision of philanthropic support and for the opportunity to partner with them to create an avenue to invest back in the rheumatology workforce in Texas."  

The State of Texas Association of Rheumatologists Fellowship Training Award Endowment is funded from the income generated from STAR's members' registration and sponsorship fees for their annual meetings. The intent is to rotate the award between the five adult rheumatology training programs in Texas based on qualified applications received each year: 

  • Texas University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Program 
  • University of Texas Medical Branch Hospitals Program

  • Baylor College of Medicine Program

  • University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Program

  • University of Texas Health Science Center 

As the largest private funding source for rheumatology research and training in the U.S., the Rheumatology Research Foundation is dedicated to providing funding for innovative ideas that advance treatment options, improve care, and impact the lives of the 54 million Americans living with rheumatic disease. The Rheumatology Research Foundation is a 501(c)3. because of the generosity of donors. in the most recent fiscal year, the Foundation distributed more than $12 million in grant awards focused on research, education, and workforce and career development within the field of rheumatology. For more information about the Rheumatology Research Foundation, please visit 


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