Riley Rheumatology is one of the larger groups of physicians specializing in inflammatory, autoimmune diseases and arthritis in childhood in the country. With a current staff of 3 full-time pediatric rheumatologists and two physicians who divide their time between pediatric rheumatology and either rheumatology in adults (Blakley) or general academic pediatrics (Klausmeier), we have recruited two other pediatric arthritis and autoimmunity specialists and 2 research scientist to join our group in 2017. This increases our physicians to 4 full-time pediatric rheumatologist and 5 physicians who divide their time between other disciplines including research and pediatric rheumatology care.
We are all teaching physicians with academic positions at Indiana University School of Medicine, and see teaching as our legacy and the future of our field. We teach medical students, residents in pediatrics and internal medicine, and post-doctoral fellows (pediatricians who are spending 3 years studying and doing research to become subspecialists in pediatric rheumatology). We are involved in educating our peers among Indiana’s physicians, and through our teaching at national and international meetings, we teach on a broader stage. This is a major mission of our division – education.
It is an exciting time in pediatric rheumatology. Because the diseases we treat are uncommon or rare, research has taken off with the development of multi-institutional collaborations. Science is advancing rapidly in our field, with improved understanding of the mechanisms of inflammation, we now have medications to treat once debilitating or life-threatening diseases and give people back their quality of life. We are members of the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance, CARRA, a collaborative alliance of specialists across the US and Canada dedicated to advance research and treatment for the children and families we serve. To provide newly developing medications available only through clinical trials to our patients we also are members of the Pediatric Rheumatology Collaborative Study Group, who organize many of the ongoing clinical trials. We at Riley Rheumatology participate in research studies that may be observational (understanding the natural course of a disease, what triggers flares and remissions, and gaining insight into how to control the disease), or interventional, offering cutting edge therapies to those who need them now, while we are still studying their effectiveness.
We offer consultations to patients and their physicians on a broad variety of diseases, and sometimes on diseases that may not yet have a name. We diagnose and treat rare autoimmune diseases like scleroderma, systemic vasculitis, dermatomyositis, and a broad range of arthritis processes in childhood. We also help manage children with inborn errors in the mechanisms that control inflammation, the “autoinflammatory” disorders like Familial Mediterranean Fever, TRAPS, NOMID, and other recurrent fever syndromes as well. Most often, we are able to reassure a worried family that their child does not, indeed, have one of our chronic inflammatory diseases, and we explain to them the biomechanical issues that cause the child’s pain. In all our services, we gather a detailed medical history, perform a thorough physical examination, and address the problems at hand while considering all aspects of the child’s health issues. And we are always willing to reassess children who did not have arthritis when we first saw them, for example, and re-evaluate them if their symptoms change.