Rheumatology

The Pediatric Rheumatology Division at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is one of the most distinguished programs in the country. The Division is composed of four full-time clinicians, one clinician investigator, and three basic scientists. Two of the clinicians (Kietz and Brunner) have trained in both pediatric and adult rheumatology.

The mission of the Division of Rheumatology is to assure outstanding care for children with rheumatologic diseases now and in the future. The Division is dedicated to the following goals to accomplish its mission: 

  • To provide state-of-art, compassionate care to children with rheumatologic disorders.

  • To generate new knowledge by clinical and basic research that will lead to improved care and cure.

  • To provide high-quality education and training in the field of pediatric rheumatology to students, trainees, and other health professionals.

The clinical service provides consultation for inpatients (90 in 2017) and has a very busy outpatient practice (~5000 visits in 2017). To accommodate the need for the prolonged infusions of some of the new rheumatologic drugs the CHP Infusion Center is a valuable asset where the division supervised over 750 infusions in 2017. Use of ultrasound for diagnosis and treatment is routine with the support of the sedation team as needed. 

Clinical, translational, and basic research are all high priorities for the division. Participation in the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Network (CARRA), as well as pharmaceutical trials specifically for children, are ongoing. Pediatric scleroderma is a focus with a specialized, nationally-recognized clinic for patients with pediatric scleroderma led by Dr. Kathryn Torok who is investigating inflammatory and profibrotic cytokines. Other areas of research include defining subsets of sepsis, abnormal activation of the inflammasome, and IL-18 and macrophage activation syndrome in Dr. Canna’s lab; chromatin accessibility, epigenetic and transcription factor networks contributing to immune cell differentiation and function in Dr. Poholek’s lab; and the understanding the immunology of aging and inflammatory syndromes in Dr. de Vallejo’s lab