The Division of Rheumatology is the only pediatric rheumatology center in the WWAMI area and plays a major role in providing clinical care, education and leadership in research for our region and beyond.
We offer telephone consultation and triage for physicians in our area and to outreach clinics in Richland, Wash., and Anchorage, Alaska. Our large clinical service facilitates interactions with our clinical and basic research endeavors. Our outpatient service conducts about 4,000 outpatient visits each year, providing inpatient care and responding to consultation requests for patients from other services. Our focus is the diagnosis of possible inflammatory and autoimmune musculoskeletal problems together with comprehensive ongoing management for children with confirmed rheumatic diseases such as juvenile onset arthritis, spondyloarthropathies, dermatomyositis, systemic lupus erythematosus, vasculitis and scleroderma. Our team includes clinical nurse specialists, a nurse practitioner, a social worker and physical and occupational therapists to provide comprehensive multidisciplinary care. Because many of our children have multisystem diseases, we work closely with health professionals in other specialties such as ophthalmology, nephrology and orthopedics. We also collaborate with the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation for parent support and advocacy.
Our goal is to meet the needs of patients and families with rheumatic diseases; educate present and future physicians about these conditions; advance the understanding and treatment of these diseases through research and provide optimal, state of the art treatments.
Pediatric rheumatology is an underserved field, with only 200 board-certified pediatric rheumatologists for the estimated 385,000 children in the United States who have rheumatic diseases. About one-third of medical schools do not have a pediatric rheumatologist, and many practicing pediatricians and family physicians have had no training in these conditions. Our faculty is involved with the education of physician trainees at all levels. We participate in the medical school curriculum, precept pediatric residents, offer rotations in pediatric rheumatology to adult rheumatology trainees, teach community physicians and allied health professionals and train new pediatric rheumatologists and investigators in our fellowship program.
All our physicians are involved with basic or clinical investigation into the mechanisms, management or outcomes of childhood rheumatic diseases. In the arena of clinical investigation, our center holds a leadership role in the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance, a national network of pediatric rheumatology centers undertaking collaborative studies to improve understanding and treatment of rheumatic diseases in children. We offer the opportunity for patients to participate in a number of clinical studies. In the area of basic science, our section has a special interest in mechanisms that may initiate the onset of autoimmune diseases.