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Keck School physicians start up Pediatric Rheumatology Core at CHLA

Funded with a $650,000 grant from Thousand Oaks-based biotechnology firm Amgen, Keck School physicians are creating the Pediatric Rheumatology Core at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

Andreas Reiff, head of the division of rheumatology at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and associate professor of pediatrics at the Keck School, said the core will ensure the best treatment outcomes for children with rheumatic diseases through excellence in clinical care, research and education.

In addition, it will boost access to the highest level of quality comprehensive care in Southern California and underserved neighboring states by combining existing expertise in pediatric rheumatology.

Amgen’s donation will fund two full-time pediatric rheumatology fellows for the next five years as part of the core’s educational program.

The core will be operational at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles by July 2010.

Pediatric rheumatologists treat both non-inflammatory and inflammatory rheumatic disease, ranging from chronic pain disorders to arthritis, inflammatory muscle disease, systemic lupus erythematosus and other life threatening forms of vasculitis in children.

There are 300,000 children with diagnosed rheumatologic conditions in the United States, not including the multitude of children who are waiting to have a rheumatologic diagnosis excluded.

Unfortunately, the demand for services greatly exceeds the available supply, and there is a well-known shortage of pediatric rheumatologists in the United States.

In fact, there are only about 150 practicing pediatric rheumatologists in American available to meet this need. This means long agonizing waiting times for families who worry about their children’s health.

Reiff said several regional hospitals have shown interest in becoming part of the core, including Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach and the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Keck School physicians start up Pediatric Rheumatology Core at CHLA

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