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Liana Fraenkel, MD, MPH Steps Up to Become President of the ACR's Rheumatology Research Foundation

Atlanta, GA. – The Rheumatology Research Foundation (Foundation) announced Liana Fraenkel, MD, MPH as the Foundation’s newly appointed president during ACR Convergence 2023, the ACR’s annual meeting.

“I have been an ACR member for thirty years and it has been my pleasure to volunteer in several capacities over the years. I am extremely grateful for the Foundation funding I have received for my own research as well as for the many others who have received funding both for their training, innovative education programming and research endeavors,” Dr. Fraenkel said. “The Foundation plays a critical role in ensuring that our patients will continue to benefit from exceptionally trained rheumatologists and new scientific breakthroughs. I’m honored to help spearhead these efforts."

Before her appointment as the Foundation president, she served as vice president and as a member of the Scientific Advisory Council. Along with Robert Shmerling, MD, Fraenkel founded Volunteers to Expand Rheumatology Access (VERA), an ongoing initiative aiming to improve access to care for uninsured and under-insured patients with rheumatic disease in the U.S. She was also a member of the ACR’s State of the Art planning committee and the COVID-19 Adult Clinical Guidance Task Force. committee, chair of the practice guidelines subcommittee, and lead author for the 2021 American College of Rheumatology Guideline for the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis. She was also a member of the ACR’s State of the Art planning committee and the COVID-19 Adult Clinical Guidance Task Force.

Fraenkel is a two-time graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec Canada where she earned her bachelor’s and medical degrees. She later earned a master’s degree in public health and completed her fellowship at Boston University.

She is currently the director of medical education and director of population health research at Berkshire Health Systems in Massachusetts and remains an adjunct professor of medicine at Yale University School of Medicine. Prior to moving to the Berkshires, she spent 20 years at Yale University where her research program focused on improving understanding of both physician and patient decision-making and on developing methods to improve risk communication and the quality of decision making for patients facing difficult decisions.

She has conducted numerous studies examining patient attitudes towards drug toxicity, physician and patient treatment preferences, and contextual influences on risk perception. She has also developed several novel methods of communicating risk information and engaging patients in shared decision making.

Fraenkel is a recipient of the ACR’s Henry Kunkel Young Investigator Award as well as the National Institute of Health’s K24 Mentoring award which enabled her to mentor trainees across a broad range of patient-oriented research projects. She is now focused on building a population health research program to address some of the most pressing health problems in western Massachusetts.

Fraenkel is committed to helping the Foundation meet its goals to accelerate discoveries, expand the pipeline of rheumatology professionals and investigators, and develop new relationships to support specific funding initiatives as outlined in the Foundation’s 2022-2027 Strategic Plan.

Fraenkel’s two-year term begins this month along with the Foundation’s 2023-2024 Executive Committee:

  • Vice President – Bryce Binstadt, MD, PhD
  • Scientific Advisory Council Chair – Ed Behrens, MD
  • Impact Advisory Council Chair – Al Kim, MD, PhD
  • Development Advisory Council Chair – Jody Hargrove, MD

As president of the Foundation, she will also serve as a member of the ACR Executive Committee.

The Foundation, established by the ACR in 1985 to support the rheumatology community, advances research and training to improve the health of persons living with a rheumatic disease. To date, the Foundation has committed $218M to fund 4,406 research and training awards.


About the Rheumatology Research Foundation
The Rheumatology Research Foundation is the largest private funding source of rheumatology research and training programs in the U.S.  Established in 1985, the Foundation is focused on advancing patient care and accelerating discoveries in rheumatic diseases. More information about the Foundation can be found at

About the American College of Rheumatology
Founded in 1934, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is a not-for-profit, professional association committed to advancing the specialty of rheumatology that serves nearly 8,500 physicians, health professionals, and scientists worldwide. In doing so, the ACR offers education, research, advocacy and practice management support to help its members continue their innovative work and provide quality patient care. Rheumatology professionals are experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of more than 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases.

About ACR Convergence
ACR Convergence, the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, is where rheumatology meets to collaborate, celebrate, congregate, and learn. With more than 320 sessions and thousands of abstracts, it offers a superior combination of basic science, clinical science, business education and interactive discussions to improve patient care. For more information about the meeting, visit the ACR Convergence page, or join the conversation on Twitter by following the official hashtag (#ACR23).


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