Fall 2020

Emily von Scheven, MD, MAS
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital

It is almost the end of August. In any other year, we would be getting ready for the last few days of summer before heading into a new academic year……for some that brings the apprehension of a new teacher and new friends. Maybe a new book bag. For others a new commute. Maybe a new job.

This year, the world looks very different. For many there will be no returning to in-person school, which means fewer new friends. Others may have no commute, and sadly, no job.

But as reported in the CARRA 2020 update, CARRA has many reasons to be optimistic. We have many accomplishments to build upon. And we will continue to find creative ways to do our work in this new world that we find ourselves today.

Together, we have a lot to do, including the following;

  • We have over 8,000 patients in the CARRA Registry who need to be re-consented so that we can stay in touch with them virtually, through email and text.
  • We have a new disease affecting our patients (Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)) to figure out.
  • We must take new steps towards ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion across all aspects of our organization.

CARRA’s mission will continue to steer us as we move forward. As President, my vision is that our work will also be guided by the following four words:

INCLUSIVE. COVID has brought to light the terrible health disparities that have long existed in our society. My vision is that we will take action, guided by the newly formed CARRA Taskforce for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, to become a more inclusive organization across all of our activities.

RELEVENT. CARRA’s success is spawning many new opportunities, sometimes too many for us to take advantage of. We need to be careful to not do things just because we can. But rather because they have meaningful impact and help us to further our mission. So, over the next two years my goal is that we become good at making sure that we stay relevant. Scientifically relevant, and relevant to our patient’s lives and what matters most to them.

CONNECTED. CARRA has always been a virtual organization. As COVID has forced so many programs to pivot to virtual formats, we too must work together as a research community to find new ways to stay connected. My vision is that we will become even more connected, both with each-other and with our patients and their families.

FINISHERs. Finishing is hard. There are so many great starters in our community; people who want to succeed, and have promising ideas for how to make that happen. They inspire me. They begin each new pursuit with enthusiasm. But they don't always finish, because finishing is hard. One of my goals as President is to make sure that we finish what we start.

In recognition of our ambitious goals and the reality of our challenges, CARRA is launching several new programs to support our members, and to continue to move the organization forward:

  • We have expanded the intramural funding program, thanks to our partnership with the Arthritis Foundation, to provide more money, longer awards, and new funding opportunities for investigators in our community.
  • The Early Investigators (EIs) have developed a Research Development Program (RDP) to support CARRA EI's who would like additional guidance in project development and grant writing.
  • This Spring we will award an Outstanding Service Award to a CARRA member that has made meaningful contributions to the organization and consistently demonstrates excellence in teamwork and collaboration. See the request for nominations in this newsletter.

I would like to thank all of the individuals who have served on the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee and the Steering Committee, our administrative team and the many talented and dedicated CARRA leaders and members whose efforts every day bring us closer to achieving our mission. I would also like to acknowledge the commitment and support of the Arthritis Foundation, whose support and partnership has been critical to our success.

I am excited to serve as President of CARRA as we continue to grow and evolve over the coming years. I welcome your suggestions and questions. Feel free to email anytime, or drop by during my zoom office hours, every Tuesday at 1:30 pm PST (Zoom ID 415-502-6627).

Take care and stay healthy,

Emily von Scheven, MD MAS