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Good News for Community Rheumatologists: Your Own Research Grant

Good News for Community Rheumatologists: Your Own Research Grant

For the past four decades, I have been caring for patients with rheumatic diseases, while also conducting research trials.  Over the years, I have seen the benefits that clinical research has had on my patients, offering them new treatment options and better ways to manage their diseases.

Rheumatologists have day-to-day contact and relationships with their patients that allow them to notice patterns and nuances that deserve to be studied in greater detail. At times, we observe certain signals or disease responses and want to explore these ideas to find out if there is a trend or pattern that may help us treat our patients more effectively.

In most instances, funding to pursue these concepts is not available, and many potential contributions to the clinical care of our patients are never realized

I have been fortunate enough to be able to explore some of my own ideas, which has been both exciting and gratifying. This is a large part of the reason why I am working with the Rheumatology Research Foundation to fund a new research award, intending to close the gap in funding opportunities for rheumatologists who want to conduct research based on their own clinical experiences. 

The Norman B. Gaylis MD Research Award for Rheumatologists in Community Practice, established with a $1 million donation, will be used to support rheumatologists in community-based practices who, in addition to their active patient care, want to test their own observations and ideas through innovative research.

This new grant, open only to community-based rheumatologists, will give clinicians more freedom to design and control the objectives of their own studies as an alternative to the more traditional pharmaceutical company-based research where studies have predetermined goals and endpoints. This award encourages research that can be designed and controlled by the rheumatologists themselves.

I hope this award will not only encourage community-based rheumatologists to explore other aspects of the field, but will also bring recognition to the important role that we play within the specialty.  Ideally, as a result of this award other like-minded rheumatologists may consider making their own contributions to the Rheumatology Research Foundation.

My ultimate goal is to improve the health of people with rheumatic diseases around the world.  As a secondary goal, a large component of my hopes for the benefit of this award is to support and enhance recognition of the importance of community-based rheumatologist.

Rheumatologists will be able to apply for the Norman B. Gaylis award in 2016, with the first funds distributed in 2017. For further information, contact the Rheumatology Research Foundation at http://www.rheumatology.org/Foundation .

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