Since I was 10 years old, I knew I wanted to be a doctor, and I am forever grateful that I stayed with my ambition. I came to pediatrics because I find it truly compelling to help children. I treat each child the same way I would want one of my own children to be treated if they had a rheumatic disease. I view my responsibility in treating each child as a sacred trust and know that I’m participating in the care for the most important person in the parents’ world.
I chose rheumatology after a patient in the hospital where I trained in pediatrics was admitted with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. There was no one at that hospital that specialized in pediatric rheumatology. As I learned then, and it is still true today, there are always at least 10 states in the U.S. without even one pediatric rheumatologist. The need was obvious.
In my practice, I specialize in the evaluation and care of children with rheumatic and related diseases, such as arthritis, lupus, dermatomyositis, scleroderma and various types of vasculitis.
The care of children with rheumatic diseases requires a team of healthcare providers including rheumatologists and other medical specialists, occupational and physical therapists, specialized nurses and social workers. In our Rheumatology Clinic, we have such a team, and every team member was hand-picked for their dedication and experience in caring for children with a rheumatic disease.
Our division is truly committed to providing the most sophisticated and effective therapy in the world for children with rheumatic diseases. This has been a core value of the Division of Rheumatology since it was founded.
I have received three awards that are most dear to me. I am the Joseph E. Levinson Endowed Chair in Pediatric Rheumatology, which is an award from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Research Foundation. Dr. Joseph Levinson founded this Division of Rheumatology and was my first boss in my first job as a pediatric rheumatologist. Over time, he became my mentor and friend. I am truly honored to hold a position named after him.
I received the 2019 James Cassidy Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Early in my career, I was given the Earl Brewer Research Award from the Arthritis Foundation. I was blessed enough to know and work with both Drs. Cassidy and Brewer, who were founding fathers of our specialty in North America.
My entire research career has been focused on identifying and evaluating more effective treatments for children with rheumatic diseases. I chair an international network of pediatric rheumatology centers called the Pediatric Rheumatology Collaborative Study Group (PRCSG). All the new therapies approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the treatment of children with rheumatic diseases in the last 30 years were approved based on studies performed by the PRCSG.
In my free time, my favorite thing to do is to ride horses in the Teton Wilderness. I’ve learned the hard way how to ride for six to eight hours per day. I also love being a grandfather and find it to be a wonderful, never-ending source of joy.