Phone: (414) 918-9822    Email: [email protected]

2018 Voting Guide: Round 1

Candidates (click the candidate's name to view their bio and candidate statement)

Finance Chair
Robert A. Colbert, MD, PhD

JDM Chair
Adam M. Huber, MSc MD FRCPC

SLE Chair
Aimee Hersh, MD

Small Centers Chair
Theresa Wampler Muskardin, MD

Who can Vote?
Voting is only open to CARRA voting members (pediatric rheumatologists, sponsored voting members, emeritus members)

How to Vote
Ballots were sent to the email address on file on 2/9/18. If you did not receive your ballot, please contact Brian Mondragon Jones at [email protected]

Voting Period
Voting Closes February 19 at 8pm ET.


Finance Chair

CARRA

Robert A. Colbert, MD, PhD
NIH/NIAMS

Candidate Bio

Candidate Statement
I am honored to be nominated for the position of Chair of the CARRA Finance Committee. I understand the responsibilities of this position, and if elected I intend to serve in this capacity.

I have been a member of CARRA since its inception, and have participated on several committees including Translational Research and Technology (TRTC) and JIA Research, and helped to initiate the juvenile spondyloarthritis working group. I was Chair of the TRTC between 2002 and 2004 and served on the CARRA Steering Committee during that time. I was Large Center Representative to CARRA from 2007-2008, and have attended most annual CARRA meetings. Much of my research focus has been on understanding the pathogenesis of spondyloarthritis. My laboratory discovered that abnormal folding of HLA-B27 promotes IL-23 production, and we were the first to demonstrate activation of the IL-23/IL-17 axis in spondyloarthritis. These and other studies have contributed to establishing IL-17 as an important target in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis. In collaborative work led by Pam Weiss we developed a disease activity measure for juvenile spondyloarthritis. I am currently Acting Director of a Pediatric Clinical Trials Unit in NIAMS, and overseeing an Expanded Access/Compassionate Use treatment protocol using a JAK inhibitor. We are extending this program to severe juvenile dermatomyositis in collaboration with Lisa Rider (NIEHS) and Hanna Kim (NIAMS). I have been extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with many outstanding and truly visionary colleagues over the years, first at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati, and now in the NIAMS Intramural Research Program (IRP) at the NIH.

I have been committed to training and mentoring physician-scientists at various career stages, and to promoting research and education in rheumatology. I co-directed the MD/PhD program at the University of Cincinnati, where we obtained NIH funding and recognition as a Medical Scientist Training Program. As Associate Director and then Director of the Division of Rheumatology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, I was principal investigator on an NIH-funded pediatric rheumatology training grant, as well as administering an institution-wide grants program to support junior faculty development. After moving to NIH in 2008, I worked with Larry Jung and Hemalatha Srinivasalu at Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC) to establish a joint ACGME accredited CNMC-NIAMS pediatric rheumatology fellowship program. From 2011-2016 I served on, and then chaired, the Pediatric Rheumatology Subboard of the American Board of Pediatrics, and in 2017 was appointed to the position of Deputy Medical Editor. I have been involved in organizing and planning several pediatric rheumatology symposia, from the 2003 “Park City and Beyond” meeting, to the most recent 2017 “PRSym” meeting in Houston. I was responsible for obtaining the first American College of Rheumatology (ACR) support for this symposium (the 2008 “Keystone Pediatric Rheumatology Symposium”), a meeting that I co-chaired with Ciaran Duffy. I have also been an Associate Editor for Arthritis & Rheumatology since 2015, working with other members of the editorial board to elevate the quality of the journal and its impact in rheumatology.

I have worked with several professional and patient organizations including the ACR and the Rheumatology Research Foundation (RRF) to promote research in rheumatology. I was a member of the ACR’s Committee on Research for several years, and chaired the committee from 2008-2011. The Committee on Research works extensively within the ACR and the RRF, and with outside organizations including the NIH to encourage and coordinate clinical and health services research in rheumatology, and organizes the annual Rheumatology Research Workshop. I was a member of the ACR’s Board of Directors from 2012-2014, and the Arthritis Foundation’s Research Advisory Council from 2013-2014. I have been involved with the Spondyloarthritis Research and Treatment Network (SPARTAN) for many years, serving as Vice-Chair from 2007-2009. I have also worked extensively with the Spondylitis Association of America on their Medical & Scientific Advisory Board to promote research and patient-oriented education about the disease.

These activities and leadership positions reflect a strong track record and ongoing commitment to promoting basic, translational, and clinical research, and career development, in pediatric (and adult) rheumatology. Moreover, they have given me a broad perspective and realization that collaboration fosters commitment and produces results that cannot be achieved by individuals working alone. Many of us have witnessed the development of pediatric rheumatology from its adolescence to adulthood, and have seen the tremendous impact that CARRA has had on research in the subspecialty. I also recognize the challenges, at many levels, of sustaining a robust research network that works for all members. I believe that I bring knowledge, leadership experience, and a unique perspective to CARRA, and am excited by the prospect of working with CARRA leadership to meet these challenges.

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JDM Chair

CARRA

Adam M. Huber, MSc MD FRCPC
IWK Health Centre

Candidate Bio

Candidate Statement
I have had the honor and privilege of serving as the Chair of the JDM committee for the last 3 years. In this role, I have had the opportunity to work with a wide range of colleagues interested in this complex disease. I would like to put my name forward for a second term in the position of Chair. If elected, I would be delighted to continue this work.

The JDM Committee has had a number of focuses over the last 3 years. Continued work on Clinical Treatment Plans (CTPs) has been one area of considerable success. We have had 2 additional publications of CTPs, both in children with JDM and either persistent or predominant skin disease. We are moving forward on improving understanding of calcinosis in JDM, and I think that this is an important area of research for the future. A group is also tackling the challenge of developing quality measures in JDM. Another group is considering the role of biologics in the management of JDM. We are also trying to improve collaboration with our colleagues in dermatology. Finally, assessing longer term outcomes in adults who previously had JDM is being pursued.

My personal focus over the last 2 years has been facilitating the inclusion of JDM in the CARRA Registry. I am very happy to say that this has been successful, with a go-live date in December 2017. It is my hope that this will provide critical infrastructure to allow a number of research projects to progress, including evaluation of the CTPs.

Our relationship with our friends at Cure JM is another area that I am very proud of. Cure JM is providing substantial support to the JDM component of the CARRA Registry. This relationship continues to provide value to the work that CARRA is doing and to our patients.

We have successfully engaged a number of senior fellows and junior faculty to reinvigorate the JDM Committee. Most committees have leadership from a mixture of junior and senior people, which will hopefully contribute to the sustainability of the research being conducted. As chair, I have worked hard to create an environment where young investigators feel welcome and able to contribute.

I hope that my efforts over the last 3 years have demonstrated my abilities to lead the JDM Committee. I have tried to create an open environment, and over the last year, have focused on improving communication within the committee. This has included initiatives like distributing minutes of monthly teleconferences and opening those teleconferences to all members. We have also tried to make the collaboration website more useful, with the outstanding assistance of one of our senior fellows.

In the coming 3 years, I look forward to collecting data on an inception cohort of children with newly diagnosed JDM. This has the potential to become one of the largest cohorts in the world, and when we are able to collect linked biological specimens, will become an incredibly valuable resource. I also hope to move forward with evaluation of the CTPs, now that the registry is available. In collaboration with Cure JM, we have identified that flare prediction is a priority of our patients, and so moving forward with research in this area will become a priority. Finally, the JDM committee with remain a place where new ideas are welcome, and I look forward to helping support these in any way I can.

I look forward to the opportunity to continue this work. Thank you for allowing me to put my name forward. I look forward to the opportunity to continue working with CARRA and the JDM Sub-Committee.

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SLE Chair

CARRA

Aimee Hersh, MD
University of Utah Health Sciences Center

Candidate Bio

Candidate Statement

Thank you for the opportunity to run for the position of SLE Chair.

I am an associate professor at the University of Utah. I have been an active member of CARRA on the SLE subcommittee since completing my rheumatology fellowship in 2008 and am completing my 3 year term as Vice Chair of the SLE Committee in July 2018. Since fellowship my research career has been focused on the adult outcomes of pediatric rheumatic disease, including SLE and JIA, and I currently have an NIH NIAMS K23 award to support this work.

I am committed to CARRA’s mission and strongly believe that collaborative research is the key to advancing knowledge in our field and improving outcomes for our patients. This is particularly true in SLE, which is a relatively rare childhood disease. While serving as the Vice Chair I have had the privilege to work alongside a talented group of Lupus investigators who are advancing the field in pediatric Lupus through collaborative research, engaging both pediatric rheumatologists as well as other pediatric subspecialists, patients and families, and community organizations invested in the care of children with Lupus. As the SLE Chair I would like to continue to foster these relationships and continue to engage our membership in the important work being done by the various SLE workgroups.

As the Vice Chair I also had the opportunity to assist with the development of the CARRA SLE (and related diseases) Registry. We are excited about the opportunity to collect more extensive data about pediatric SLE patients. As the Lupus Chair I would continue to prioritize seeking funding for biosample collection, and the potential for leveraging the registry infrastructure for clinical trials in pediatric Lupus.

Lastly, the Lupus Committee is currently in the midst of a research prioritization project in collaboration with the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), which is designed to set research and funding priorities for CARRA and the LFA. It would be exciting to see the project through to completion over the next year.

 I believe that this is a pivotal time for CARRA and the SLE subcommittee. There is great momentum with the work currently being done and potential opportunities for new projects with the new CARRA SLE registry. If I am elected to this position I will serve the term as expected.

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Small Centers Chair

CARRA

Theresa Wampler Muskardin, MD
NYU Langone Health

Candidate Bio

Candidate Statement

I am writing to express my enthusiasm in running for the position of Small Centers Chair and to state my intent-to-serve, if elected.

I have desired to be actively involved in CARRA since attending my first meeting as a fellow in 2010. With the exception of a brief hiatus as I began my faculty position at Mayo, I have been as active as allowable for my role in the Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Translational Research and Technology committees (TRTC), and Small Centers committees. I have been a fellow participant, then voting member, and from 2016 - 2017 served as Vice Chair of the Biobank workgroup of TRTC, wherein I was able to facilitate an arduous but important process of developing a request for applications for biorepositories and critical evaluation and careful consideration of the applications, keeping CARRA’s vision, mission, and future in mind. Our work helped the Executive Committee choose a final site. Being actively involved in this sort of ground-work for CARRA truly excites me.

Similar to the cross-disease-cutting importance of the work of TRTC, the importance of Small Centers in the work of CARRA cannot be overstated. From the inception of CARRA, involvement of Pediatric Rheumatologists who work in very small practices (“small centers”) has been crucial in ensuring optimum success/progress in CARRA endeavors. Small centers see a significant fraction of all pediatric rheumatology patients. Some small centers see patients with unique demographics and ancestral backgrounds in comparison to some of the larger sites. Although Pediatric Rheumatologists have grown in numbers, and the number of small and non-small centers along with it, involvement of as many Pediatric Rheumatologists as possible in the activities of CARRA remains key to ensure we are getting the best understanding of Pediatric Rheumatology diseases and optimal treatment strategies and impacting Pediatric Rheumatology in a meaningful way. Small Centers are important to CARRA, and CARRA is important to Small Centers to ensure the best care for our patients. About this, I am passionate; as such, and with the fortune of being elected to do so, since the fall of 2016 I have served in the role of Small Centers Vice Chair.

My fellowship site was a Pediatric Rheumatology small center, and, I began to understand just some of the challenges of being a participating site in a small center when the first CARRA registry (“Legacy”) started. I gained additional insight from my time at Mayo and at NYU too. Being a part of a small center brings a number of challenges with it, which at times are onerous enough to preclude engagement with and involvement in CARRA. It is critical for us to identify and address these to allow for small center participation, so that we, as a larger group can achieve optimum success in advancing knowledge of disease and care for our patients in Pediatric Rheumatology.

As Small Centers Vice Chair, and have been working closely with Peter Blier, who is completing his second 3-year term as Small Centers Chair. I have learned a tremendous amount during my time as Vice Chair – from working with Peter himself (who is full of insight and has tremendous skill in interacting with and listening to colleagues) to being a voice for Small Centers on the Steering Committee at a time of tremendous growth an opportunity in CARRA. Currently, from planning with Peter and Small Center members over the past year and a half, the Small Centers Committee is poised to address critical questions and pursue endeavors that will help lay the groundwork for on-going successful engagement and participation of Small Centers in CARRA for years to come. I want to ensure progress and keep this important work moving forward.

I think that I am now well-suited for the Small Centers Chair position. I am approachable, work well with others, and shy away neither from forging new paths nor navigating challenging territory. I have trained and worked in several different clinical and hospital systems (thirteen, total). I have gained valuable experience in leadership and in being an intermediary. I was the first Pediatric Rheumatology fellow, and the first combined adult and pediatric subspecialty fellow at the University of Minnesota. Dual subspecialty training required working with and between departments and divisions that do not routinely interface. From my combined adult and pediatric training and practice, I am able to offer experience and discover opportunities and/or “lessons learned” from adult rheumatology to pediatric rheumatology and vice versa. This has already allowed for some useful contributions to work group discussions, and has also benefitted my research. At NYU (not having trained here), I am (so far, successfully) navigating another complex system as an Early Investigator in clinical translational research with appointments in two different Departments. My overall goal and current plans with regard to research are described in my Biosketch. As an investigator in clinical translational research at a small center myself, my insight can be of value in helping CARRA small centers maintain focus on successfully participating in and pursuing research to better understand pediatric inflammatory diseases and improve care for our patients.

I am familiar with the responsibilities of the Small Centers Chair, and I would be delighted to serve CARRA and the Pediatric rheumatology community in this role. I have the support of my division and my research mentor in pursuing this position, and, I am confident that I possess the necessary perspective (CARRA’s mission and vision at the heart), leadership and organizational skills, and commitment to serve in this capacity. I hope to get your vote!

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