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Why is Rheumatology Important?

Joint complaints account for 10% of visits to primary care physicians. Musculoskeletal disorders are the leading cause of disability in the United States and account for more than 50% of chronic conditions in patients over the age of 50. The economic burden of musculoskeletal disease both in direct health care costs and indirect costs through lost wages is estimated to be $950 billion dollars annually. Multidisciplinary patient care and patient-focused research is urgently needed to improve quality of life and clinical outcomes in patients with rheumatic disease.

Autoimmune diseases affect the joints, bones and muscles and can sometimes cause inflammation in other internal organs such as the kidneys, lungs, blood vessels and brain. Treatment of these complex multisystem diseases requires physicians trained in Rheumatology. GW Rheumatology offers clinical training to medical students, residents and fellows wishing to learn more about caring for patients with rheumatic diseases and research opportunities for trainees interested in learning about rheumatology research.

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Clinical Trials

  • The purpose of the WE-HEAL Study is to help researchers use human tissue samples and health records to study the reasons why some patients heal quickly and some have problems healing wounds. All patients seen with an open wound and Hidradenitis suppurativa are asked to participate. Information from this research may help to understand how to prevent and treat certain diseases.
  • The Scleroderma bioreposiTOry and Pathogenesis Study (STOP Scleroderma) will help researchers use clinical data and human biospecimens to investigate why scleroderma patients develop certain complications from their disease. Patients with confirmed scleroderma, raynauds or positive autoantibodies are invited to participate. This research may help us understand how to prevent and treat scleroderma and other diseases.