Timothy B. Niewold, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and a physician scientist in the Department of Immunology, Rheumatology at Mayo Clinic, specializes in patients with lupus and connective tissue diseases and serves as the chair for the Rheumatology Research Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Council.
Dr. Niewold’s involvement with the Foundation began early in his career when his mentor told him about its grant opportunities and encouraged him to apply. He feels lucky to have had the Foundation’s support as early as he did.
“It is a tricky stage to move from fellow to faculty member, and it can be hard to find anyone to invest in you,” said Dr. Niewold, who will moderate Targeted Research: A Rheumatology Research Foundation Special Session from 4:30 – 6:00 pm Tuesday. “Being awarded my first grant from the Foundation played a big role in getting my first faculty appointment. I think investing in people’s early career development is one of the most valuable things the Foundation does.”
Dr. Niewold continues to see this support for rheumatologists in their research careers as one of the Foundation’s greatest impacts during the past 30 years and now takes on the responsibility to encourage junior staff members to apply for the same grants. He saw firsthand the impact of the Foundation in early research careers at a meeting hosted by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). NIAMS had gathered one of its classes of early career award recipients and, when Dr. Niewold surveyed the room, he found that the majority of the NIH award recipients in attendance had received support from the Foundation.
“This is a testament to the reach of the Foundation and the impact it’s having on people’s careers in science,” he said. “We were really there for this group of people; we had touched many of them. This showed me how much of a difference the Foundation is making in getting these individuals to landmark moments in support of their careers in rheumatology.”
Dr. Niewold commends the Foundation for its last 30 years and sees the next 30 years as an opportunity to accomplish even more in both research and expanding the workforce in rheumatology. He wants the public to know that in order to continue the great work that impacts the lives of future rheumatologists and their patients, the Foundation needs the support of everyone, not only with time and research, but also with contributions.