Grants & Funding

2021 CARRA-Arthritis Foundation Spring Grant Awardees


Congratulations to the 2021 Spring Grant Cycle Awardees!


Fellow Grant Recipient


Jordan Roberts, MD

Boston Children's Hospital

Project Period: July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022

Project Title: "Insurance Status and Delays in Care Among Children with JIA"

Lay Summary: The goal of this project is to better understand the impact of insurance status on use of biologic medications in the treatment of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Children with public insurance have longer delays in seeing a pediatric rheumatologist from the time their symptoms start than children with private insurance, and insurance barriers to approval of medications are commonly encountered in clinical practice. In adults, prior authorization requirements have been shown to delay start of biologic medications, and having public or no insurance may lead to later start of medications for arthritis. We are interested in understanding whether the type of insurance a child has is associated with how long it takes to start a biologic therapy for arthritis, and whether children with public insurance are less likely to be started on a biologic medication in their first year after diagnosis than children with private insurance.


Publication Support Grant Recipients


Alexis Boneparth, MD

Columbia University Medical Center

Project Title: “Epidermal Neurite Density in Skin Biopsies from Patients with Juvenile Fibromyalgia”


Susan Kim, MD MMSc

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital

Project Title: “Access to Care and Diagnostic Delays in Juvenile Dermatomyositis: Results from the Childhood Arthritis & Rheumatology Research Alliance Legacy Registry”

Small Grant Recipients


 Stephen Balevic, MD MHS

Duke University Medical Center

Project Period: July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2023

Project Title: “PRECISE (Precision Biologics in Rheumatology)"

Lay Summary: Dosing for biologic agents such as adalimumab and etanercept in children do not account for the physiologic changes resulting from obesity. These changes may result in a high inflammatory state and can affect how the medications are handled by the body, potentially leading to treatment failure and worsening arthritis. In this proposal, we will use advanced pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic modeling to determine how obesity impacts treatment with adalimumab etanercept in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and use the model to optimize dosing to reduce arthritis disease activity.

 Jessica Bloom, MD

Children’s Hospital Colorado

Project Period: July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022

Project Title: "Clinical Characterization of Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis in Children"

Lay Summary: Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (EGPA), previously known as Churg-Strauss syndrome, is a lifethreatening disease seen in both children and adults in which the body’s immune system targets its own blood vessels resulting in asthma, arthritis, breathing difficulties, and more. Despite clear evidence that children and adults experience disease differently (both physically and mentally), diagnostic criteria and therapies have only been studied in adults. The goal of this project is to use the resources within CARRA to collect the current available data on children with EGPA and assess for gaps in knowledge. I will then develop methods to optimize data collection and design a pediatric study to validate the Diagnostic and Classification Criteria in Vasculitis Study’s recently developed ACR-EULAR criteria for EGPA. This knowledge is critical to accelerate research in EGPA in children, with an overarching goal to improve care and reduce disability from this disease.


Andrea Doria, MD PhD MSc MBA                        Ronald Laxer, MD

The Hospital for Sick Children                                               The Hospital for Sick Children  


Project Period: July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2023

Project Title: “Elastography Ultrasound in Localized Scleroderma (Morphea): A Prospective, Longitudinal, Multicentric Pilot Study"

Lay Summary: Localized scleroderma (LS) is a skin disease that can cause complications such as disfigurement and limitation of mobility. Treatment for LS should be initiated early in the disease, as late-stage scleroderma does not respond well to treatment. Objective tools for diagnosis and follow-up of treatment for LS are not available clinically and are urgently needed. Our group has previously studied a new non-invasive ultrasound technique called "elastography” which measures stiffness of tissues. This technique holds potential for providing objective measures for follow-up of treatment of LS in children and adolescents. We now plan to conduct a four-center study in North America to determine whether elastography ultrasound can show changes in skin stiffness for a period of 9 to 12 months after initiation of treatment for LS. This novel technology may add information to the existing imperfect clinical tools, thus improving the way therapy is offered to patients with LS.

Farzana Nuruzzaman, MD

Stony Brook Children’s Hospital

Project Period: July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2023

Project Title: “Development and Validation Testing of Web-based Standardized Scoring System for MRI Images in Chronic Nonbacterial Osteomyelitis"

Lay Summary: Chronic nonbacterial osteomyelitis (CNO) is an autoinflammatory bone disease that causes pain and destruction. Appropriate diagnosis and treatment of CNO is needed to prevent these complications. Radiological imaging aids in the assessment of disease activity in CNO and guides physicians about medication recommendations. However, radiological reports are often descriptive and prone to interrater discrepancies. Our team has created a reliable scoring system for magnetic resonance imaging and has the potential as a research measuring tool in clinical trials. We propose to refine this tool by adapting this paper-based scoring tool into a web-based platform. Thus, radiological interpretation of imaging in CNO can be standardized and accessible for radiologists at multiple sites of future clinical trials. We will evaluate the agreement of scores of this adapted tool between independent radiologists and see how they correlate with patient/parent’s and physician’s impression. Results of this project will advance clinical research in CNO.