History of Rheumatology at Johns Hopkins

The Johns Hopkins tradition in rheumatic disease dates back to the turn of the century with the contributions of its first professor of medicine, Sir William Osler. The divisional structure of the Department of Medicine was established in the 1950s by Dr. A.M. Harvey who appointed Lawrence E. Shulman, M.D., Ph.D. Director (1955-1975) of the Connective Tissue Division. A vigorous and prominent program with pre-and post-doctoral education, clinical research and patient care was developed. Succeeding Dr. Shulman was Dr. Mary Betty Stevens (1975-1987), appointed by Dr. Victor A. McKusick, who continued and expanded the program of the now renamed Division of Rheumatology; Johns Hopkins became one of the N.I.H. Multipurpose Arthritis Centers during this period.

In the late 1980s, with added emphasis on the basic research component of the Department of Medicine, Dr. John D. Stobo established a co-directorship of the again renamed Division of Molecular and Clinical Rheumatology with Douglas T. Fearon, M.D., Division Director and Director of Research (1987-1993) and David B. Hellmann, M.D., Clinical Director (1987-1992).

In 1992, Dr. Fredrick M. Wigley became Director of Molecular and Clinical Rheumatology at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. In 2002, Dr. Antony Rosen became Director of the Division. Most recently, in 2012, Dr. Phil Seo became the Director of the Fellowship Program.

Thus, during its 48-year existence, Rheumatology at Johns Hopkins can be characterized by an early, longstanding and continued focus of outstanding clinical research, the subsequent development of a strong and productive basic immunology program, and a current emphasis on vigorous interaction between the molecular and clinical components of the Division. The commitment to excellence in research, education and patient care, continues.

Under the combined direction of Drs. Rosen, Seo and Wigley, the overall goal of the Johns Hopkins Rheumatology Fellowship Program is to support the training and foster the development of outstanding academic rheumatologists. The program will recruit, train and enhance the development of a cadre of rheumatology investigators, and will provide trainees with rigorous instruction in research methodology and mentored research projects. The graduates of this training environment will further our understanding of human rheumatic diseases through their excellence in research. We remain committed to cultivate postdoctoral fellows into investigative and leadership positions in the field of rheumatology.

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