Rheumatology Ambassadors

/Rheumatology Ambassadors
Rheumatology Ambassadors 2018-10-01T15:19:25+00:00

Rheumatology physician ambassadors 

Special thanks to our 2018 Physician Ambassadors for their help promoting awareness during Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month.

If you are a journalist looking for a subject matter expert to discuss rheumatic disease signs and symptoms and/or the healthcare policy issues that were discussed in the ACR’s 2018 Rheumatic Disease Report Card, contact Jocelyn Givens at pr@rheumatology.org or 404-633-3777. We would be happy to connect you with an ambassador or other subject matter expert.

 

Meet our Ambassadors

Dr. Luke Barre

Luke Barré MD, MPH

Providence, RI
Practicing medicine – 6 years

Tell us about your practice/specialty. What kinds of patients and rheumatic diseases do you treat?
I am in an academic rheumatology practice, helping to train new rheumatologists while treating patients with a variety of rheumatic diseases.

What motivated you to specialize in rheumatology?
As a medical student, I learned that the immune system was incredibly important, and initially I believed that I would one day become an immunologist. I realized during my practical rotations that rheumatology was the most practical application of immunology that would allow me to develop relationships with patients.

What advice or encouragement would you give a patient who is looking to “live well with rheumatic disease?”
Rheumatic diseases can be managed to allow you to live a full and fulfilling life. Don’t be discouraged by initial setbacks. Instead, work with your physician to find the best solution. Even though the field of rheumatology has undergone a renaissance recently, we still sometimes have to find our way to the right treatment.

Dr. Chase Correia

Chase Correia, MD

Chicago, IL
Practicing medicine – entering 7th year

Tell us about your practice/specialty. What kinds of patients and rheumatic diseases do you treat?
I am a rheumatologist at a major academic teaching hospital. I mostly see patients with systemic sclerosis as this is my research interest, but I also see general rheumatology patients.

What motivated you to specialize in rheumatology?
I was fascinated by the systemic nature of autoimmune conditions and how they could cause a wide number of unique symptoms in every organ system.

What advice or encouragement would you give a patient who is looking to “live well with rheumatic disease?”
Having a rheumatic disease does not mean that you can no longer do the things that you love. Find new ways to safely do the things that you love, and find new activities to enjoy. Then, please share your experiences with others, so they can know that they can continue to live well too!

Dr. Beatriz Y. Hanaoka

Beatriz Y. Hanaoka, MD. Assistant Professor, Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology

University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) – Birmingham, AL
Practicing medicine – 8 years

Tell us about your practice/specialty. What kinds of patients and rheumatic diseases do you treat?
I see patients with a wide variety of rheumatic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis, myositis, lupus, vasculitis, gout, etc., at the Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. As a physician scientist, I also spend a substantial amount of time conducting clinical studies to understand the reasons behind the decline of physical function in patients with RA. In these studies, I focus on obesity, nutrition, and physical activity. My goal is to improve the health and quality of life of patients who live with chronic rheumatic diseases through direct patient care and research.

What motivated you to specialize in rheumatology?
In medical school, I had a wonderful mentor who was a rheumatologist. She was very knowledgeable and approachable, and she left a long lasting impression on me. Later in residency, I was very drawn to the complex, multi-system nature of rheumatic diseases, the exciting research leading to major therapeutic advances in the field, and the ability to have a positive impact on the lives of patients with chronic, life-threatening, and disabling diseases.

What advice or encouragement would you give a patient who is looking to “live well with rheumatic disease?”
In a short time span, we have seen tremendous advances in the treatment of rheumatic diseases. Patients can live long, productive lives in spite of chronic illness. I advise patients to actively participate in their health care, work in partnership with their health care provider, seek early treatment, stay physically active, and follow a healthy diet.

Dr. Mona Idrees

Mona Idrees, MD

Anmed Health – Anderson, SC
Practicing medicine – 11 years total, 5 years in rheumatology

Tell us about your practice/specialty. What kinds of patients and rheumatic diseases do you treat?
I am located in small town between Greenville, SC and Atlanta, GA, so I provide care to an underserved rural community. Due to the shortage of rheumatologists, I also see patients from the bigger city of Greenville. Unfortunately, this means the rheumatology patients I see tend to be more sick than most.

What motivated you to specialize in rheumatology?
I find the science behind rheumatology fascinating and feel like rheumatologists are the detectives of medicine. Most of all, I enjoy building long lasting relationships with patients and helping them live their lives to the fullest. Rheumatology is the perfect combination of both.

What advice or encouragement would you give a patient who is looking to “live well with rheumatic disease?”
Know your disease and educate yourself with all the treatment options – do not fear your disease. It is never easy to receive any diagnosis, but all you can do is face it and challenge it with positivity. And remember that you know your body better than anyone else. Be aware of it, and listen to it. Your doctors can only help you if you tell them. You are your biggest advocate.

Dr. Imran Iqbal

Imran Iqbal, MD

Dallas, Texas
Practicing medicine – 15 years in rheumatology

Tell us about your practice/specialty. What kinds of patients and rheumatic diseases do you treat?
While I see patients with all kinds of rheumatic diseases, my practice consists of mostly patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus (SLE), and inflammatory myopathies.

What motivated you to specialize in rheumatology?
I found it to be a challenging field in internal medicine, and that made me do a fellowship in rheumatology.

What advice or encouragement would you give a patient who is looking to “live well with rheumatic disease?”
Follow up with your rheumatologist regularly. Take your medicines as prescribed. Exercise regularly. And do not give up.

Dr. Christopher Mecoli

Christopher Mecoli, MD MHS

Baltimore, Maryland
Practicing medicine – 8 years

Tell us about your practice/specialty. What kinds of patients and rheumatic diseases do you treat?
I specialize in adult patients who have less common rheumatic diseases including inflammatory myositis and scleroderma.

What motivated you to specialize in rheumatology?
My interest in rheumatology stemmed from the complexity of the diseases and the resultant challenge of diagnosis and treatment. I was also drawn to the longitudinal patient relationships and continuity of care.

What advice or encouragement would you give a patient who is looking to “live well with rheumatic disease?”
I’m a proponent of physical activity in addition to good mental health. Many of my patients have found great success with various types of exercise, such as tai chi and yoga combined with patient support groups.

Dr. Vaneet Sandhu

Vaneet Kaur Sandhu, MD

Loma Linda, California
Practicing medicine – 5 years

Tell us about your practice/specialty. What kinds of patients and rheumatic diseases do you treat?
While my research interest lies in SLE, Systemic Sclerosis and healthcare outcomes, I see patients from all realms of rheumatology. I work in a multi-ethnic region with clinical service in the private-university setting, as well as the community-county setting. Our health services cover more than 3 million lives from different walks of life and rheumatic diseases ranging from inflammatory arthritis to crystalline arthropathies to vasculitis, lupus, myositis, scleroderma, and numerous rare autoimmune conditions. This provides me with a wealth of exposure to different rheumatic diseases while having the opportunity to give back to the underserved. I treat any and all of it, and welcome the challenge.

What motivated you to specialize in rheumatology?
Rheumatology is an under-recognized field whose diseases affect far more than one can imagine. As a patient of an autoimmune disease myself, I recognize the importance of timely diagnosis and management and felt it only appropriate to contribute to the field as one of their own.

What advice or encouragement would you give a patient who is looking to “live well with rheumatic disease?”
Not allowing the rheumatic disease to define you is key. YOU define the disease, and your way of tackling it will help you live well with the disease. A healthy lifestyle is of utmost importance, and while this certainly includes exercise and a good anti-inflammatory diet, it also includes addressing and minimizing stress. Mental health also plays a pivotal role in one’s capacity to live well with any disease and ensuring complete mental health is the key to success here. Finally, it’s important to know you are not alone.

Dr. Kelly Weselman

Kelly Weselman, MD, FACR, RMSK, RhMSUS

Atlanta, GA
Practicing medicine – 17 years since completing fellowship

Tell us about your practice/specialty. What kinds of patients and rheumatic diseases do you treat?
I treat all rheumatic diseases – both the more common ones and the less common ones, including, but not limited to: rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus (SLE), psoriatic arthritis, vasculitis, scleroderma, uveitis, gout and osteoarthritis (OA).

What motivated you to specialize in rheumatology?
Rheumatology is a challenging field due to the complexity of the disease, but it’s very gratifying to help people live successfully with these difficult chronic diseases.

What advice or encouragement would you give a patient who is looking to “live well with rheumatic disease?”
Perspective makes a difference. Focus on living and continuing to enjoy your family, friends, and work rather than focusing on your disease on a daily basis.