I have always enjoyed puzzles and taking care of others, especially children. Pediatric rheumatology is a fun, challenging and quickly growing field. We take different pieces of a puzzle and put them together to help children with rheumatic diseases feel better and live healthy lives — even with a chronic condition.
As a pediatric rheumatologist, I enjoy caring for children with all rheumatic diseases, including juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM). I have a longstanding interest in widespread chronic pain and fibromyalgia conditions, and I am also experienced in musculoskeletal ultrasound to help evaluate arthritis. We use this exciting new tool to help us monitor kids with rheumatic diseases.
I believe it's important to get to know my patients and what they are like outside the clinical setting. I feel each child and teen should have a voice, so I make sure I speak to them and not around them. We often get to work together for years, given the chronic nature of some of our conditions in rheumatology. So it's important to me to build a trusting relationship with my patients and their parents and families. I consider it an honor to be a part of their medical team.
The Division of Rheumatology may be small, but we are a family filled with wonderful schedulers, medical assistants, nurses, doctors and social workers. We also value education greatly and have excellent physicians in fellowship training along with medical students in their rotations. We are very fortunate to have skilled physical and occupational therapists on site.
There are still numerous questions about our diseases, such as why they occur and how we treat them best. We are very active in research and offer many opportunities to contribute, so patients and families may also meet some of our skilled research assistants.
In our research, we collaborate with experts in pain psychology and neurobiology to understand the mechanisms of chronic widespread pain and interventions to help treat patients' pain. I’m also interested in furthering the use of musculoskeletal ultrasound in the evaluation and management of children with arthritis. We want to explore how ultrasound might be useful for monitoring other rheumatic diseases.
Whenever I get the chance, I enjoy traveling to new places and experiencing new cultures and foods.