Colbert Named Director of Rheumatology at Cincinnati Children's

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

CINCINNATI -- Robert Colbert, MD, PhD, has been named director of the Division of Rheumatology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. The division is generally considered the best pediatric rheumatology division in the United States for patient care and research. Dr. Colbert replaces David Glass, MD, who recently was named associate director of the Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation.

Dr. Colbert joined the faculty of Cincinnati Children's in 1994. His research lab focuses on the understanding and treatment of the spontaneous autoinflammatory diseases known as spondyloarthritides. In addition to his laboratory research at Cincinnati Children's, Dr. Colbert has served on a National Institutes of Health study section on arthritis connective tissue and skin sciences, the National Arthritis Foundation's medical and scientific advisory committee and the Spondyloarthritides Association of America's medical and scientific advisory committee. He also is a member of the American College of Rheumatology's research committee.

"Bob Colbert has no peers within the United States," says Dr. Glass. "In addition to being an excellent pediatric rheumatologist, he is an outstanding scientist, with research interests ranging from the molecular to the clinical."

In the coming months and years, Dr. Colbert plans to expand efforts in several areas, including:

  • Quality Improvement Efforts: The division will continue its longstanding quality improvement work focused on the delivery of comprehensive health care for children and adolescents with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), and it will expand this effort into systemic lupus erythematosus. "These efforts emphasize timely, efficient, effective, patient-centered, equitable and safe health care to improve outcomes and maximize quality of life," says Dr. Colbert. In addition, rheumatologists in the division are joining with the American College of Rheumatology, American Board of Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics and pediatric rheumatologists throughout the country to develop quality measures for pediatric rheumatology.
  • Clinical Center of Excellence for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Care: Children with lupus, an autoimmune disorder, often have multi-organ system disease. The division already has a multidisciplinary clinic for patients with lupus and hopes to expand this into a Clinical Center of Excellence, enabling Cincinnati Children's to become a Midwest region referral center for the care of children with complicated, difficult to treat, lupus.
  • In research, Dr. Colbert says the division will continue its work on genetics and functional genomics of JRA. "Our division has made considerable inroads into understanding the genetic complexity of susceptibility to JRA," says Dr. Colbert. "As susceptibility genes are defined, we need to understand how variation in these genes causes arthritis to occur and how we can translate these findings into new medications that can be used to treat patients with arthritis." In addition, Dr. Colbert envisions expansion of research into juvenile dermatomyositis, an autoimmune disorder of skin and muscle. And, along with the division directors of developmental biology and orthopaedics, is looking into hiring a scientist interested in bone and joint development.

Dr. Colbert earned his PhD and MD degrees from the University of Rochester's Medical Scientist Training Program in the mid-1980s. After his pediatric residency and serving as chief resident for outpatient services at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, he went on to clinical and research fellowships in pediatric rheumatology at Duke University and the University of North Carolina.

"There is no one better to take on the leadership of this outstanding division than Bob Colbert," says Thomas Boat, MD, chairman of pediatrics and director of the Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation. "He has an unusual ability to ask important clinical questions, work out an understanding of the biology in the laboratory, and create potentially helpful solutions."

Cincinnati Children's is a 475-bed institution devoted to bringing the world the joy of healthier kids. Cincinnati Children's is dedicated to transforming the way health care is delivered by providing care that is timely, efficient, effective, family-centered, equitable and safe. It ranks third nationally among all pediatric centers in research grants from the National Institutes of Health. The Cincinnati Children's vision is to be the leader in improving child health.

Contact Information

Jim Feuer, 513-636-4656,