November 10-15

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New ACR leadership confirmed at 2020 Business Meeting


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On Monday, Nov. 9, during the annual ACR Business Meeting, David Karp, MD, PhD, became the 84th ACR President. Additionally, current ACR/Rheumatology Research Foundation Secretary Kenneth G. Saag, MD, MSc, became ACR President-Elect, and Deborah Dyett Desir, MD, was confirmed by the membership as the new ACR Secretary.

David Karp, MD, PhD

David Karp, MD, PhD
David Karp, MD, PhD

Dr. Karp is professor of medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, where he has been the Chief of the Rheumatic Diseases Division since 2002. He holds the Harold C. Simmons Chair in Arthritis Research and the Fredye Factor Chair in Rheumatoid Arthritis Research.

Dr. Karp graduated from MIT in 1978 with SB degrees in chemistry and applied biology. He entered the Medical Scientist Training Program at Washington University in St. Louis and received MD and PhD degrees in medicine and cellular and integrative biology in 1984. He remained at Barnes Hospital for internship and residency in internal medicine and a year of clinical rheumatology fellowship. He then worked as a medical staff fellow in the Laboratory of Immunogenetics at NIAID from 1987-1990. In 1991, he joined the faculty at UT Southwestern as an assistant professor and an investigator in the Harold C. Simmons Arthritis Research Center. He was promoted to associate professor in 1999 and professor in 2010. Dr. Karp was the Director of the UT Southwestern Fellowship Training Program from 2010-2013 and has been Chair of a UT Southwestern Institutional Review Board since 2002.

Dr. Karp’s research has spanned basic, translational, and clinical investigations and he has published more than 110 original manuscripts, reviews, and book chapters. For the last 15 years, his scientific focus has been on people at risk for development of autoimmunity, specifically SLE, which has culminated in a multicenter clinical trial sponsored by NIAMS, with Dr. Karp as co–principal investigator.

Dr. Karp was a member of the Foundation Scientific Advisory Council for 3 years and chair for 3 years before becoming Foundation Vice President in 2011 and President in 2013. He served on the ACR Board of Directors from 2015-2018, was a member of the Finance Committee from 2018-2019, was ACR Treasurer in 2019, and became ACR President-Elect in 2019.

Dr. Karp lives in Dallas with his wife, Corinne. Their son, Alex, lives in Seattle. In his spare time, Dr. Karp enjoys photography, travel, and being the sous chef for Corinne’s gourmet cooking.

Kenneth Saag, MD, MSc

Kenneth G. Saag, MD, MSc
Kenneth G. Saag, MD, MSc

Dr. Saag is professor of medicine and holds the Jane Knight Lowe Endowed Chair in the Division and the Department of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He became Division Director of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology in July 2020. His research focuses on comparative effectiveness and safety of therapeutics as well as methods to improve quality of care in gout and osteoporosis. He is Vice Chair of Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Director of the UAB Comprehensive Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, Bone, and Autoimmunity Center. He has been a practicing physician with UAB Medicine and researcher in the UAB School of Medicine since 1998.

Dr. Saag is a past President of the National Osteoporosis Foundation Board of Trustees, the only rheumatologist to hold that position. He served UAB as Director, Center for Outcomes, Effectiveness Research and Education from 2009-2020. He directs the Center of Research Translation in Gout and Hyperuricemia and directed the UAB AHRQ funded Center for Education and Research on Musculoskeletal Disorders. An elected member of the American Association of Physicians, he has first-authored 3 original articles in The New England Journal of Medicine on treatment of GIOP and on fracture prevention in women with osteoporosis, as well as over 300 other original articles.

Trained as an engineer at the University of Michigan, he received his MD from Northwestern University and MSc in epidemiology from the University of Iowa. As a medical resident at Evanston Hospital, he was recognized as Outstanding Intern of the Year and as Chief Resident. He completed his fellowship in rheumatology at the University of Iowa. He served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa under Francois Abboud before joining UAB under the leadership of Bill Koopman and Bob Kimberly.

Deborah Dyett Desir, MD

Deborah Dyett Desir, MD
Deborah Dyett Desir, MD

Dr. Desir is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale University School of Medicine. She completed residency in internal medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital and fellowship in rheumatology at Yale University School of Medicine. She is the founder of the Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center, PC, in Hamden, Branford, and Milford, CT, and served as its medical director for 26 years. She is an assistant professor of clinical medicine in the Department of Medicine, Section of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology, Yale School of Medicine.

Dr. Desir serves as the ACR Alternate Advisor to the AMA RUC Committee. She is on the Finance Committee for the Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS) and serves as the CSMS Council representative from the Elizabeth Blackwell Woman’s Section. She was a member of the ACR Government Affairs Committee and Committee on Rheumatologic Care. She was a member of the State of Connecticut Partnership Advisory Panel on Lupus. She has served on the Ethics & Judicial Affairs Committee of the New Haven County Medical Association. She is currently the President of the New Haven County Medical Association.

She is active with the Theta Epsilon Omega chapter of AKA Sorority, the New Haven Chapter of The Links, Inc., the New Haven Chapter of Girlfriends, Inc., the Garden Club of New Haven, the Board of Directors of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, the Board of Trustees of Long Wharf Theater, and more. She currently serves on the Police Commission for the Town of Woodbridge, CT, along with the Democratic Town Committee. She is a member of Trinity Episcopal Church on the Green in New Haven, CT.

She is the wife of Dr. Gary Desir and the daughter of the late Dr. Benjamin I. Dyett and Mrs. Betty M. Dyett. She is the mother of Carl (daughter-in-law Piper), Matthew (daughter-in-law Cortni), Chrys, and Alexandra and the grandmother of Elodie and Amari.

Douglas White, MD, PhD

Douglas White, MD, PhD
Douglas White, MD, PhD

Dr. White, ACR treasurer, earned his MD and PhD degrees from the University of Iowa, followed by residency training in internal medicine at Parkland Hospital (UT-Southwestern) and fellowship training in rheumatology at Barnes-Jewish Hospital (Washington University in St. Louis). His PhD focused on effector functions of CD8 T cells and post-doctoral training on herpesvirus interactions with the host immune system.

In 2009 he became the Chair of Rheumatology and the head of the Rheumatology Research lab at Gundersen Health System in Wisconsin. He has served in a number of roles at the ACR since 2011 and serves on the board of the Local Lupus Alliance.

ACR Board of Directors, 2020-2021

President: David Karp, MD, PhD
President-Elect: Kenneth Saag, MD, MSc
Secretary: Deborah Dyett Desir, MD
Treasurer: Douglas White, MD, PhD
Rheumatology Research Foundation President: S. Louis Bridges Jr., MD, PhD
ARP President: Christine Stamatos, DNP, ANP-C

Anne Bass, MD
Sean Fahey, MD
Candace Feldman, MD
Norman Gaylis, MD, MACR
Kent “Kwas” Huston, MD
Bharat Kumar, MD, MMed
S. Sam Lim, MD, MPH
Amanda Myers, MD
Carol Langford, MD, MHS
Tamar Rubinstein, MD, MS
John Varga, MD, MACR
Angus Worthing, MD
Ellen Gravallese, MD, ACR Immediate Past President (Ex-Officio)
V. Michael Holers, MD, Rheumatology Research Foundation Vice-President (Ex-Officio)