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Burlington Resident Susan Corbett Selected to Serve as Department of Defense Patient Reviewer for Lupus

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Aug. 11, 2014 – The Lupus Foundation of America, North Carolina Chapter (LFANC) recently announced that one of its lupus advocates, Susan Corbett, has been selected to serve as a Department of Defense Patient Reviewer for their Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP).

Lupus is listed as a disease area eligible for application to the PRMRP. In addition, the appropriation increased from $50 million to $200 million in FY 2014, so LFANC expects the Department of Defense to receive a large number of lupus grants.

"Our chapter nominated Susan [Corbett] not only because of her own journey living with lupus, but also because of her advocacy work within the lupus community, and her professional background as a pharmacist," said Christine John-Fuller, LFANC President and CEO. "We are proud to know that North Carolina will have representation for this very important time for lupus through the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program."

Corbett is a lupus thriver, advocate for LFANC, and a team captain and top fundraiser for the Walk to End Lupus Now: Raleigh. She resides in Burlington with her family.

About Lupus:
Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with, and a challenge to treat. Lupus is a cruel mystery because it is hidden from view and undefined, has a range of symptoms, hits out of nowhere, and has no known cause and no known cure. Its health effects can range from a skin rash to a heart attack. Lupus is debilitating and destructive, and can be fatal, yet research on lupus remains underfunded relative to its scope and devastation.

About the Lupus Foundation of America, North Carolina Chapter
The Lupus Foundation of America, North Carolina Chapter is part of the national force devoted to solving the cruel mystery of lupus while providing caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact. We work with local health professionals and volunteers to provide information and programs to ensure people with lupus and their families get answers and health professionals know about new means to diagnose and manage the disease. The chapter serves an estimated 45,000 living with lupus in North Carolina. For more information about lupus or the LFANC, visit or call (877) 849-8271. For the latest news and updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Christine John-Fuller, Lupus Foundation of America, North Carolina Chapter
704-716-5640, ext. 5 (office)/704-604-9639 (mobile)

Koch wins ASA’s Peace Award for outstanding contributions

Gary G. Koch, PhD, professor of biostatistics at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been named recipient of the American Statistical Society’s 2014 Karl E. Peace Award for Outstanding Statistical Contributions for the Betterment of Society.

Koch is a biostatistical consultant to TARC on numerous grants, manuscripts, and center projects, including MCRC and the Johnston County OA (JoCoOA) Project for over 20 years.  He is a mentor to Todd Schwartz, DrPH, our director of methodology core, who has been involved with TARC and JoCoOA for over a decade.   Todd still consults with Gary on biostatistical issues as needed for JoCoOA issues.

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Welcome Kirsten Ambrose, MS to the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance Team

We are thrilled to welcome Kirsten Ambrose, MS to the Thurston Arthritis Research Center as the new Program Manager for the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA). The OAAA consortium was recently awarded to TARC under the direction of Dr. Leigh Callahan.
The OAAA is a national coalition of concerned organizations committed to elevating Osteoarthritis (OA) as a national health priority and promoting effective policy solutions that aim to address the individual and national toll of OA.  They work with the health community to ensure people with OA have the access, skills and capacity to benefit from effective and proven interventions.  The OAAA has three working groups focused on physical activity, injury prevention and weight management.  
Kirsten comes to us after serving as Project Director for the Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders, working with their clinical trials operation, developing pre-award grant proposals, and contributing to strategic planning.  She has also served as a Research Specialist in the Center for Neurosensory Disorders in the School of Dentistry, as a Consultant/Project Manager for Algynomics, Inc, as a consultant writer/editor for various organizations, and as a Lead Research Specialist in the Chronic Fatigue and Pain Research Center at the University of Michigan.  

Kirsten received her BA in Psychology from Carnegie-Mellon University and her Masters of Science in Exercise Science from The George Washington University.  She is the author of 21 scientific papers and 35 abstracts.  She is committed to the benefits and importance of physical activity for overall health, illness prevention and rehabilitation from injury, as reflected in her choice of graduate study, her professional experience in research and personal training of individuals with special needs, and her personal lifestyle.  
Kirsten officially joined us on July 14 and is working on the transition of operations of the OAAA to UNC – including updating its website, organizing Lunch and Learn webinars, writing and distributing its newsletter, managing membership and subscription lists, working on member recruitment and engagement, managing and supporting the three workgroups, and supporting the Steering Committee.   These many roles will not only serve the OAAA, but also the Chronic OA Management Initiative (COAMI), the MCRC, and TARC in general.  

Dr. Rebekah Layton joins TARC and the PALS team

Dr. Layton recently joined the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and our Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Center (MCRC) as a member of the Partners in Active Living Study (PALS) research team.

Rebekah “Beka” Layton earned her Ph.D. (Social and Personality Psychology, 2014) and M.A. (Psychology, 2011) from the University at Albany, State University of New York, and her B.A. (Psychology and History & Sociology of Science, 2005) from the University of Pennsylvania. Rebekah is also a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom where she served as a Military Police Officer in Baghdad, Iraq. As a paratrooper, she was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and completed her active duty service in Seoul, Korea as a Captain in the US Army.

Her research focus is in self-control and goal-setting, with additional research interests in physical fitness activity, emotion, and mindfulness.  Rebekah is thrilled to join the PALS team, led by Dr. Christine Rini. She is joined by her husband Seth, daughter Ariya, cat Sonic, and dog Lola. Rebekah loves to row (crew) and sing in her free time, and enjoys all things Broadway. She originally hails from Rensselaerville, NY, where she grew up in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, loves hiking along with any outdoor activity. 

Please join us in welcoming Beka!

Dr. Joanne Jordan discusses Muscles, Joints, Aches and Related Diseases

Dr. Cristy Page and Dr. Adam Goldstein with the UNC Family Medicine’s Weekly Health Radio Show YOUR HEALTH®, have a conversation with Dr. Joanne Jordan.

Tune in via podcast at:

Listen live on:
WCHL 97.9 FM, Saturday (7/26) at 9 AM, Sunday (7/27) at 9 AM & 5 PM and Monday (7/28) at 6 & 10 PM

WBNE 103.7 FM Saturday (7/26) at 3PM

KKAG 88.7 FM Sunday (7/26) at 7 AM

Nancy Wade and Linda Miles retire

Nancy Wade and Linda Miles will be dearly missed at JoCo and will always be a part of the UNC TARC and JoCo family!  We extend our warmest wishes to Nancy and Linda as they start this new chapter in their lives.

Janice Woodard, JoCo Project Manager for over 20 years, shares a few thoughts about two special ladies;

“Ask Linda." That has been the most used phrase in Johnston County for the past 18 years. Linda Miles has been the go to person for many projects.  Her contributions were invaluable keeping everyone organized, from making sure the participants' information was updated to creating forms for all the different studies.  She generally made the work easier for all of us! We will miss her experience, her willingness to always help and her friendship, but we are excited about this next season in her life. We all wish her many years of relaxation pursuing leisurely interests.

If you ask Nancy about JoCo, she always says there is never a dull moment in the county!  There all always new projects to work on and all of them are interesting. Nancy’s smile and friendship have been so important to our JoCo family and we will miss her contagious positivity! Nancy will be missed by all of us in the office and also by the participants who have worked with her. Even though she is retiring, we will know where to find her, at her pool, at the beach or just hanging out with her grandchildren.

UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center to lead Osteoarthritis Action Alliance

Leigh F. Callahan, PhD, will serve as Director for the OAAA

The UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center has been selected as the new home for the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA), the Arthritis Foundation announced on May 28.

The OAAA is a national coalition of concerned organizations mobilized by the Arthritis Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This coalition is committed to elevating osteoarthritis (OA) as a national health priority and promoting effective policy solutions that aim to address the individual and national toll of OA.
“Under the leadership of Drs. Joanne Jordan and Leigh F. Callahan at UNC, the Thurston Arthritis Research Center is uniquely positioned to take on the OAAA,” said Melanie Thompson, Osteoarthritis Action Alliance manager at the Arthritis Foundation.

“They currently have a National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases-funded Multidisclipinary Clinical Research Center (MCRC) titled ‘Mitigating the Public Health Impact of Osteoarthritis,’ and the OAAA goals are completely congruent with the goals of the MCRC.
The MCRC draws together multiple units and investigators at UNC interested in OA into novel collaborative relationships. Dr. Callahan was also part of the Steering Committee for the National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis and has been involved in the OAAA since the beginning. The Arthritis Foundation remains committed to the OAAA and will provide UNC financial support to lead the OAAA through a cooperative agreement with the CDC,” Thompson said.

Leigh F. Callahan, PhD, the Mary Link Briggs Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center, will serve as Director of the OAAA. “We are thrilled to be selected to bring this consortium to UNC and the Thurston Arthritis Research Center,” said Joanne M. Jordan, MD, MPH, the Joseph P. Archie, Jr. Eminent Professor of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology and Director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center. “Dr. Callahan is the perfect leader for this initiative, which will dovetail beautifully with other efforts we have undertaken to improve the care of people with osteoarthritis or at high risk for osteoarthritis.”

Read the full story in Vital Signs

Dr. Dore selected to present his research at the 2014 American College of Rheumatology Research Workshop

Dr. Dore was selected to present his research study “The Relationship between Lower Limb Osteoarthritis Burden and Risk for Falls: The Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project” at the 2014 American College of Rheumatology Research Workshop in Seattle, Washington in June. This course is a two- day workshop designed to promote interactions between young and established investigators to foster collaboration and career mentoring.

Matthew J. Billard, PhD receives public policy fellowship from AAI

On May 1, The American Association of Immunologists (AAI) launched the fourth year of its Public Policy Fellows Program (PPFP), a program designed to engage postdoctoral fellows and junior scientists in public policy activities that impact biomedical research. Following careful review of the applications received, the AAI Committee on Public Affairs named the following ten individuals as the 2014-2015 AAI Public Policy Fellows.

Matthew J. Billard, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Billard's research is broadly concerned with cellular trafficking during normal inflammation and invasive disease states, such as arthritis and breast cancer. Dr. Billard conducts interdisciplinary work that combines traditional cell biology techniques with mathematical modeling.

View the full announcement of Dr. Billard's fellowship online

2014 OARSI World Congress - Paris, France

Numerous faculty and staff of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center attended the OARSI World Congress in Paris, France April 24 - 27.

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