Children's receives one of only two national pediatric rheumatology training grants

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh's Rheumatology Division received one of only two National Institutes of Health (NIH) training grants and is recognized as one of the foremost programs devoted to children with rheumatic diseases in the United States.

Children's was awarded a five-year grant from the NIH to train fellows in pediatric rheumatology. Under the leadership of Raphael Hirsch, MD, division chief of Pediatric Rheumatology at Children's, the program will receive funding for training four fellows a year (two second-year fellows and two third-year fellows).

Dr. Hirsch said the NIH-funded grant is critical to the survival of experts in the field of pediatric Rheumatology. Since there are a very limited number of certified pediatric rheumatologists in the United States, without properly training young medical professionals, the number of specialists will continue to decrease.

According to the American Board of Pediatrics, there are only 207 certified pediatric Rheumatologist in the United States. There are 6 full-time faculty, and 22 staff, in the Rheumatology division at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Many states do not have a pediatric rheumatology program and are without a pediatric rheumatologist.

"There is a tremendous need for this because pediatric rheumatology is one of the most under-represented pediatric specialties, with only about 20 fellows a year in training nationwide," said Dr. Hirsch. "With this grant, Children's will have a major impact on the training of pediatric rheumatologists."

Children's provides comprehensive, family-centered care to children, adolescents and young adults with rheumatic diseases. As a leading researcher in pediatric rheumatology, Dr. Hirsch labors in a field desperate for like-minded scientists and answers to the most fundamental questions about juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) and other rheumatic diseases. Dr. Hirsch's NIH-funded laboratory is one of the few dedicated to fi

Contact: Melanie Finnigan
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

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