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UNC TARC's Dr. Leigh Callahan receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Leigh F. Callahan, Mary Link Briggs Distinguished Professor of Medicine at UNC’s Thurston Arthritis Research Center will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) / Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP) Annual Scientific Meeting in Boston, MA on November 15, 2014. This award is the highest honor that the ACR/ARHP bestows.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a current or former member of ACR/ARHP whose career has demonstrated a sustained and lasting contribution to the field of rheumatology and rheumatology health professionals.  



Dr. Joanne Jordan nominated Dr. Callahan for the prestigious award and says, “Dr. Callahan’s entire professional career has focused on the advancement of arthritis research, advocacy for the importance of this chronic disease to the nation’s public health agenda, and devotion to recruiting and mentoring multidisciplinary researchers in the arthritis mission.  She sparkles with energy that is infectious to all around her and is tireless in championing the priorities of arthritis-related initiatives.”



Dr. Callahan is also a Professor of Social Medicine, and an adjunct professor in the Department of Epidemiology in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She is Associate Director of Epidemiology and Outcomes Research and the Associate Director of the Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Center at the UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center.  She also directs the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA), which was recently acquired by UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center from the Arthritis Foundation.  Dr. Callahan has an undergraduate degree from UNC and a PhD from Vanderbilt University.  She has over 30 years of experience in arthritis and health outcomes research, and experience in public health as a former arthritis epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Dr. Callahan has served on a number of editorial boards, is a former editor for the Arthritis Care and Research journal and has been a reviewer for numerous journals including the Journal of Rheumatology, Arthritis and Rheumatism, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Medical Care.  She recently served on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee that produced the report, Living well with chronic illness: A call for public health action. She formerly served on the United States Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI) Board of Directors and is on the Steering Committee of the USBJI’s Chronic Osteoarthritis and Management Initiative (COAMI).  She is a member of the Non-Pharmacologic Trials Working Group of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) Guidelines for Conducting Clinical Trials in Osteoarthritis Committee.  Dr. Callahan is a long-time volunteer for the Arthritis Foundation (AF) on both the state and national level, and received the Charles B. Harding Award for Distinguished Service in 2005 for her work with the Foundation.  In 2006, she received the Addie Thomas Service Award from the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals.  She has authored more than 200 research articles, book chapters, commentaries and editorials.  She is a frequent presenter at conferences and meetings worldwide, and continues to spearhead a number of projects examining the factors surrounding arthritis, epidemiology, health outcomes, and health disparities.  She has received numerous grants from the NIH, CDC and Arthritis Foundation.

[This achievement is also featured in VitalSigns]

Sheikh and Rogers named co-directors of new UNC Rheumatology Lupus Clinic

The Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology proudly announces the establishment of the UNC Rheumatology Lupus Clinic, co-directed by Drs. Saira Sheikh and Jennifer Rogers. This clinic will provide state-of-the-art care to patients with all forms of Lupus.

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

Richard Loeser, MD receives the OARSI Basic Science Research Award

Dr. Mary Goldring (left) nominated and introduced Dr. Loeser (center) and Dr. Virginia Kraus (right) is the President of OARSI and presented the award.

On April 24, Dr. Loeser received the Basic Science Research Award from the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) World Congress in Paris, France.

Dr. Loeser is the Herman and Louise Smith Distinguished Professor of Medicine in our division and Director of Basic and Translational Research in our center. He was honored "for outstanding work in helping to improve our understanding of the basic mechanisms by which aging contributes to the development of osteoarthritis."

The purpose of the OARSI Basic Science Research Award is to promote advancement in basic research in the field of osteoarthritis. Research targets include all areas of basic science with relevance to osteoarthritis and in a number of specialty disciplines having an interest in osteoarthritis. This research has primarily been conducted within the last five years.

Dr. Richard Loeser joins our team as the Director of Basic and Translational Research

We are extremely pleased to announce that Richard Loeser, MD, joined the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology and the Thurston Arthritis Research Center on Monday, March 3, 2014.

Dr. Richard LoeserWe are extremely pleased to announce that Richard Loeser, MD, joined the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology and the Thurston Arthritis Research Center on Monday, March 3, 2014.  Dr. Loeser is a rheumatologist and was previously the Dorothy Rhyne and Willard Duke Kimbrell Professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, where he also served as Section Head of Molecular Medicine. 

Upon his arrival at the Thurston Arthritis Research Center, Dr. Loeser was awarded the Herman and Louise Smith Distinguished Professor of Medicine and appointed as the Director of Basic and Translational Research.  He will be an active partner in our mission to serve patients, lead and conduct research, and mentor trainees in our Division and the Department of Medicine.   

Once settled at UNC, Dr. Loeser will recruit three additional basic and translational research faculty members to the Thurston Arthritis Research Center.  We are fortunate that he brought several valuable colleagues with him to Chapel Hill.  Scott Wood, a post-doctoral student; Meredith Greene, a graduate student; and Y (Mary) Zhao and Kathryn Kelley, both laboratory technicians.  Dr. Loeser, his faculty recruits and all associated staff and students will be housed on the fourth floor of the Thurston Building.     

Dr. Loeser’s translational research interests include osteoarthritis, aging, inflammatory diseases, and cell signaling.   His laboratory has studied the basic biology of healthy cartilage cells in joints for over 20 years, was the first to describe certain types of cell receptors, and has published over 100 original manuscripts on these topics, among others.  Dr. Loeser is the Principle Investigator on multiple, currently-funded NIH grants studying cell signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms involved in the development of osteoarthritis.  Dr. Loeser looks forward to active collaboration with multiple groups across the Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, and the Gillings School of Global Public Health, including the Center on Aging, the Departments of Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Cell Biology and Physiology, Biomedical Engineering, and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.  

I hope you will join in our excitement in welcoming Dr. Loeser as his leadership will be transformative for our Division and our Center.


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