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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​What is Rheumatology

Rheumatology is the medical specialty dealing with disorders of the joints and connective tissues, such as arthritis. With rheumatic conditions comprising over 150 diseases and syndromes – and affecting millions – these disorders give rise to huge health care expenditures and an enormous loss of work, all while diminishing the quality of life of people around the globe. Currently, more than 160,000 people in Ontario over the age of 20 suffer from some form of rheumatic disease.​

Image of arthritis body with spine

The Rheumatology Division​

The Division of Rheumatology at is part of the multidisciplinary Arthritis Program at University Health Network (UHN), which is the largest Arthritis program in Canada.

The mission of the Division of Rheumatology is to improve the lives of patients with autoimmune and inflammatory rheumatic diseases through research, education and clinical care. Its vision is global leadership in early diagnosis, innovative treatment and prevention of autoimmune and inflammatory rheumatic diseases.

The Division of Rheumatology has an international reputation for groundbreaking research and exceptional patient care, and it serves as a preferred teaching centre for rheumatology trainees worldwide. Breakthrough research coming out of the Division has already enabled doctors around the world to diagnose patients earlier, resulting in the prevention of irreversible damage. Early diagnoses also mean patients can receive treatments tailored to their specific needs during the first phase of their ailments, radically improving the quality of their lives.

Spearheading Next Steps to Improving Patient Care

Due to the increasing accuracy of prognosis, the number of patients with rheumatic diseases continues to grow around the globe. As a result, there is a demand for early intervention and specialized treatments.

The doctors in the Division of Rheumatology at University Health Network are first in their field to meet this demand. Currently, the doctors are documenting patients thoroughly in all aspects of their health, utilizing clinical features and biomarkers that are available.

By following large numbers of patients over long periods of time, patterns are being identified that further our knowledge about the disease. At this time, the doctors are working to establish a new database system to efficiently collect and store patient data. This system will allow for the systematic study of various rheumatic diseases, and is key to understanding and predicting these diseases like never before. This will ultimately lead to early intervention and specialized treatments that will improve the quality of life for the millions suffering from rheumatic diseases.

Research Priorities

With the help of our donors we can continue to build on our world-leading research, efforts that build towards better understanding, improved treatments, and an eventual cure for rheumatic diseases. Priorities include:

  • New Database System
    The integration of patients’ clinical data into one database system will allow for the systematic study of rheumatic diseases.
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis (Dr. Robert Inman and Dr. Nigil Haroon)
    The Spondylitis Program seeks to significantly improve patient outcomes through early detection and innovative new treatments.
  • Lupus (Dr. Murray Urowitz, Dr. Dafna Gladman, Dr. Jorge Sanchez-Guerrero, Dr. Zahi Touma, Dr. Carolina Landolt-Marticorena and Dr. Joan Wither)
    The Lupus Clinic and Research Program provides patient care, education and research in lupus. Its vision is to improve the lives of patients by increasing our understanding of the disease and finding better treatments.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis (Dr. Dafna Gladman and Dr. Vinod Chandran)
    The Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) Research Program is dedicated to improving the health outcomes for patients with psoriatic arthritis. Project areas being pursued include the susceptibility and early diagnosis of PsA, disease expression, and impact on quality of life.
  • Rheumatic Disease Basic Science Laboratory Research (Dr. Joan Wither and Dr. Carolina Landolt-Marticorena )
    Rheumatology Division specialists collaborate within the Rheumatic Disease Basic Science Laboratory. Areas of focus include defining the genetic basis of lupus, characterizing immunologic events that lead to rheumatic disease, and identifying biomarkers that predict disease outcomes.
  • Rheumatic Disease Educational Activities (Dr. Lori Albert)
    Educational activities within the Division of Rheumatology seek to raise the profile of rheumatology, and encourage summer medical students and fellows to specialize in the area in order to meet the needs of an increasing number of patients with rheumatic diseases in Canada and abroad.
  • Scleroderma (Dr. Sindhu Johnson)
    The Scleroderma Clinic accepts patients who have various scleroderma-related conditions, including Raynaud’s phenomenon, morphea and eosinophilic fasciitis.
  • Sjögren’s Syndrome (Dr. Arthur Bookman)
    The Sjögren’s Clinic is the only multidisciplinary Sjögren’s program in Canada incorporating care from rheumatologists, ophthalmologists, and ear, nose and throat doctors.
  • Vasculitis (Dr. Simon Carette)
    Vasculitis researchers are leading the way in treating patients with the disease. As part of their efforts, the team has been involved in the creation of the Canadian Vasculitis (CanVasc) Network.

Help us support the Arthritis Campaign.
For more information please contact:
Anette Larsson, CFRE, Director, Campaigns, Arthritis Program
Phone: 416 603 5800 ext. 4059 Fax: 416 603 6224 Email: ​ anette.larsson@uhn.on.ca
Website: www.cureforarthritis.ca​