News update from Thurston Arthritis Research Center

The most recent news items from the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and the Spring 2010 newsletter.

Jonas and Jerath elected as associate members of AOE
Beth Jonas, MD, and Maya Jerath, MD, have been elected as associate members of the Academy of Educators.  Dr. Jonas is the Director of the Rheumatology Fellowship Program at the Thurston Arthritis Research Center.  Dr. Maya Jerath is the Associate Program Director of the Allergy and Immunology Training Program and Clinic Director of the UNC Allergy and Immunology Clinic.

The mission of the Academy is to promote and support excellence in teaching and the work and career paths of excellent teachers, to promote and fund curricular innovation, evidence-based curricular change and a scholarly approach to the education mission and to provide a forum for education leadership and advice for the Dean, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, Executive Associate Dean for Medical Education and the leadership of the curriculum.

Golightly awarded Arthritis Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
Yvonne Golightly, MS, a physical therapist and a doctoral student in Epidemiology working at the Thurston Arthritis Research Center has been awarded an Arthritis Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. Golightly will defend her dissertation in June and then begin her doctoral work entitled “Quality of a Foot Outcome Measure in a Community-Based Osteoarthritis Study.”  This project will utilize and enhance the work of the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project.

The purpose of the Arthritis Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship is to encourage qualified physicians and scientists to embark on careers in research related to the understanding of arthritis and the rheumatic diseases. This $50,000 per-year award provides a salary stipend for MDs, DOs, PhDs, or equivalent for up to three years.

Student awarded grant for Thurston Arthritis Research Center project
Lisa Rothlein, a second year medical student at UNC, will return to the Thurston Arthritis Research Center this summer to continue her research with Dr. Teresa Tarrant.  Rothlein was awarded a Carolina Medical Student Research Program grant to fund her summer work. The Carolina Medical Student Research Program is funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH), Medical Alumni and the Medical Foundation.

This program provides medical students the opportunity for experience in the research field.  Student applications containing a research proposal are scored based on competitive criteria, and awards are based on that score.  About half the applications are awarded grants. In addition to their research, students are required to attend four summer luncheons, acquire an IRB and IACUU approval and submit a paper and abstract. In January, they present their work at the Student Research Day.

Remmes Martin receives 2010 Impact Award
Kathryn Remmes Martin, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and a recent PhD graduate in Health Behavior and Health Education has received a 2010 Impact Award from the Graduate Education Advancement Board.  These awards recognize graduate students whose research provides special benefits to the citizens of North Carolina.

As a doctoral student, Dr. Martin investigated the influence of community on health related quality of life.  She analyzed data from a sample of North Carolinians living in 32 N.C. communities. She found that the availability of public transportation, as well as the number of restaurants and hospital beds per 1,000 community residents predicted physical functioning, self-rated health, and the number of unhealthy days.

Better knowledge can help improve the health status reported by North Carolinians. Martin’s study helps us better understand which community resources influence health. This knowledge may help policy makers to better allocate resources so that state, local and federal dollars make the biggest impact on communities.

Thurston faculty particate in UNC Internal Medicine Conference
Thurston faculty participated in the 34th Annual Internal Medicine Conference at UNC on April 7 - 9. The conference provides an update on recent developments in the diagnosis and management of specific medical disorders encountered by primary care physicians and practicing specialists.

The introduction to the Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology section was given by Joanne Jordan, MD, MPH, Director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center. This was followed by presentations by Thurston faculty Amanda Nelson, MD, and Beth Jonas, MD.  Dr. Nelson’s presentation was entitled “Advances in Osteoarthritis” and Dr. Jonas’ presentation was entitled “Update on rheumatoid Arthritis and Other Inflammatory Arthritis.” Drs Jordan, Nelson and Jonas also participated in an open panel discussion.

Jordan featured in Triangle Business Journal article
Joanne Jordan, MD, MPH, Director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center was featured in an article in the Triangle Business Journal. The article highlighted Dr. Jordan’s work in the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a chronic degenerative disease characterized by the breakdown of the joint’s cartilage. The breakdown of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other, causing stiffness, pain and loss of movement in the joint. The work done in the long-term study in Johnston County has provided insight into the factors, including diet and obesity, that increase the risk of osteoarthritis, giving potential options to reduce the prevalence of the disease.

Spring 2010 Newsletter
For more news, please read the Thurston Arthritis Research Center's spring newsletter.

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