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About Sickkids
About SickKids

October 19, 2009

Prestigious international rheumatology awards for Laxer and Yeung

Dr. Ron Laxer and Dr. Rae Yeung have returned from the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting with two of the most prestigious awards in rheumatology, rarely awarded to paediatricians and rarely to Canadians.

Laxer, Staff Rheumatologist at SickKids and Professor of Paediatrics and Medicine at the University of Toronto, received the Distinguished Clinician Scholar Award. The Distinguished Clinician Scholar Award is given to a rheumatologist who has made outstanding contributions in clinical medicine, clinical scholarship or education. He is only the second Canadian to win the award.

“This is a fantastic achievement and a fitting recognition for Ron’s contributions to the field,” says Mary Jo Haddad, president and CEO. “At SickKids, we’ve long recognized Ron’s clinical and teaching excellence, and his compassion and caring for patients. He is a wonderful colleague and mentor, whose clinical achievements and dedication to training the health-care practitioners of the future will have long-lasting impact on children’s health.”

Laxer has published widely in many areas of rheumatology, and has made a number of important clinical observations. His description of the Camptodactyly-arthropathypericarditis syndrome helped to ultimately identify the genetic mutation. He was the first to describe the association of psoriasis with chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis. The treatment protocol described by him and his group has become the standard for treating children with localized scleroderma.

He has led the development of an internationally renowned paediatric rheumatology training program, with trainees from 23 countries, and pioneered the development of an academic training program for physical and occupational therapists, the PT/OT Practitioner Program, which has now been adopted across Canada. Laxer also played a leadership role in the creation of the SickKids Learning Institute and the University of
Toronto’s Centre for Patient Safety.

Yeung, Staff Rheumatologist, Senior Scientist in the Cell Biology Program and Associate Professor of Paediatrics, Immunology and Medical Science at the University of Toronto, received the Henry Kunkel Young Investigator Award. The award is given to a young physician scientist, age 45 or under, who has made outstanding independent contributions to basic or clinical research in the field of rheumatology.

She is investigating the mechanisms governing autoimmunity, specifically the mechanisms involved in initiating and sustaining the immune response in childhood arthritis and rheumatic diseases. Her research has challenged existing paradigms in disease pathogenesis. Basic science findings have been translated into clinical correlates, which in turn are leading to new therapeutic interventions to improve the outcome in affected children. Check out her SickKids website for more information at http://www.sickkids.ca/Research/yeunglab/index.html.

Yeung, a former Chief Resident at SickKids, is not only active in research but is an enthusiastic teacher. She has developed and taught a hugely successful course on the ‘Immunologic Basis of Rheumatic Disease’ that has been so successful that a national curriculum for all trainees in rheumatology, both paediatric and adult, is now being implemented based on this program.

“These are remarkable achievements and remarkable examples of how outstanding our faculty members are,” says Dr. Brian Feldman, head of the Division of Rheumatology.

Both awards were presented during the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting, held October 16 to 21 in Philadelphia.