The Frances Hamburger Institute Fellowship – Dr. Josef F. Smolen, MD

The Frances Hamburger Fellowship: Identification of Factors Impacting Patient and Disease Outcomes in Rheumatic Musculoskeletal Diseases

Rheumatic musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) are complex, systemic diseases that are mainly chronic, leading to an adverse impact on patients’ quality of life, morbidity and mortality. Multiple factors have been identified that influence the outcomes of patients with RMDs. Early diagnosis and intervention have been reported to have beneficial effects on long term outcomes and disease progression. The coincident presence of more than one condition, so called multimorbidity, is common in RMDs and is increasingly recognized to deliver adverse impact upon outcomes. Still the understanding of the interrelation between all these factors is scarce.

Objectives: To identify the contributors and pathways to patient reported and clinical outcomes in patients with RMDs we plan to: (1) Identify baseline characteristics (clinical and laboratory parameters, gender, age, autoantibody profiles, imaging) that influence patient reported and clinical outcomes; (2) Investigate the impact of different treatments and treatment strategies on the course of RMDs and its outcomes; (3) Identify multimorbidity clusters (all coexisting diseases in one individual), and to understand the temporal relation and the impact of these clusters with respect to the underlying RMD.