Program Highlights

The BUMC Rheumatology Fellowship Training Program is part of the Section of Rheumatology at Boston University School of Medicine, whose members include numerous internationally recognized rheumatologists. The program offers rigorous clinical and research training, preparing our trainees for careers in academic medicine as well as community practice. The following provides a few key highlights of the program:

1)      Clinical Training

Clinical Instruction of Fellows in Diagnosis and TreatmentThe clinical training portion of the fellowship program provides broad general rheumatology clinical training, as well as focused experiences in the form of tertiary care referral specialty clinics including scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus and sarcoidosis, as well as a VA outpatient clinic experience. The inpatient consult service also provides broad exposure to rheumatic disease emergencies and care of complicated rheumatic disease patients, many of which come from an indigent social background. The diversity of the local patient population, as well as the tertiary care referral population for rare rheumatic diseases ensures that our trainees have a well-rounded experience that more than adequately prepares them for diagnosis and management of all rheumatic diseases. The clinical training is complemented by a highly rated formal didactic curriculum (see Principal Teaching/Learning Activities).

2)      Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Training

UltrasoundOne of the unique aspects of the BUMC Rheumatology Fellowship Program is the well-established musculoskeletal ultrasound training program under the direction of Dr. Eugene Kissin, who is nationally recognized as an expert and pioneer in this area. Dr. Kissin has been instrumental in developing a standardized national training program for rheumatology fellows and currently serves as the Ultrasound School of North American Rheumatologists (USSONAR) Program Director. For further information of this training, see the USSONAR website. We currently have many ultrasound machines available for clinical care, research, and fellow training. 

3)      Research Training

Assessing knee strength and flexibilityA major strength of the BUMC Rheumatology Fellowship Program is the strength of the research training opportunities available for clinical, translational, and basic science research. This is largely due to the exceptionally strong faculty researchers at BUMC, all of whom are well funded (NIH, American College of Rheumatology, Arthritis Foundation, Scleroderma Foundation, etc.). BUMC rheumatology faculty peer-reviewed publications are ranked #4 in the country for impact, a remarkable feat given that the top 3 institutions have a much larger research faculty, illustrating the high quality of research performed at BUMC. Our trainees are also highly successful in obtaining career development awards to aid their research training endeavors.

Fellows interested in clinical research are encouraged and supported to participate in the Clinical Research Training Program (CREST) through which fellows can obtain a Master of Science in Epidemiology through the BU School of Public Health. Fellows also attend Research Accelerator meetings. Research opportunities in diverse disease areas are available (e.g., scleroderma, spondyloarthritis, gout, osteoarthritis, lupus, musculoskeletal ultrasound, MRI), that include cohort data, pharmacoepidemiology, “big data,” genetics, imaging, and clinical trials, among others. In addition, there are opportunities for basic and translational research: scleroderma basic and translational research program.

A research oversight committee helps fellows choose the best project for their interests that are high quality with high likelihood of achieving publication and presentation at national scientific meetings, and which are feasible for completion during the fellowship training period.

The Boston University/Boston Medical Center Difference…

  • Fellows participate in both faculty clinics with extra exposure to scleroderma, lupus, psoriatic arthritis and other skin issues as well as one fellow-based clinic each year. The first year is at Boston Medical Center and the second year is at the Boston VA
  • The Section of Rheumatology runs a cadaver-based injection training session for fellows each year
  • The Rheumatology Clinic has 4 ultrasound machines, with an additional one in the fellow’s room that is available for practice and to take on rounds
  • Four of our faculty have trained in MSK ultrasound
  • Our curriculum includes weekly x-ray teaching
  • Fellows have the opportunity to take sarcoid and pediatric rheumatology clinic electives.
  • Our program offers collaboration with the Section of Dermatology in our Combined Derm/Rheum clinic and didactics
  • Rheumatology has four or more faculty members involved at each clinic case rounds session.
  • Our program offers teaching of clinical research via a journal club based on research methodologies as well as participation in the weekly clinical research meetings.
  • Our fellows participate in inter-hospital rounds and present once a year
  • National leaders in rheumatologic epidemiology and clinical research
    • developed gout and RA national guidelines
  • National leaders in musculoskeletal ultrasound teaching and research
    • developed the Ultrasound School of North American Rheumatologists, as well as the national curriculum for musculoskeletal ultrasound training in fellowship programs
  • National leaders in scleroderma clinical care, clinical and basic science research
    • have the largest cohort of scleroderma patients in the northeast
A representative list of publications of research by past graduates of our fellowship training program performed during their fellowship, highlighting the strength of the research training and successes of our fellows:

Vagishwari Murugesan, Tracian James-Goulbourne:
Sonographic Features of Salivary Glands in Sjögren’s Syndrome and Its Mimics. James-Goulbourne T, Murugesan V, Kissin EY. Current Rheumatology Reports  2020 (914); In Press DOI: 10.1007/s11926-020-00914-7

Jessica Barlow:
Sympathetic joint effusion in an urban hospital. Tan, IJ, JL Barlow. ACR Open Rheumatology 1.1 (2019): 37-42.

Is There an Association of Serum LDL, HDL and Total Cholesterol with the Development of Knee Osteoarthritis? Jessica Barlow, et al. Abstract Number: 2199 • 2019 ACR/ARP Annual Meeting

Benjamin Persons:
Scruples Over Speckles. Persons B, Kissin EY. J Med Ultrasound 2020; In press. DOI 10.4103/JMU.JMU_122_19

Linett Martirossian:
Modern Landscapes and Strategies for Learning Ultrasound in Rheumatology. Widener BB, Cannella A, Martirossian L, Kissin EY. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2020 Feb;46(1):61-71.

Basic calcium phosphate crystal periarthritis involving the distal interphalangeal joints in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus. Martirossian L, Bujor AM, Kissin E. Am J Case Rep. 20 (2019):1132-1137.

Shing Law:
Patient preferences in medication for treatment of spondyloarthritis: A qualitative study. Dubreuil M, Frese C, Law S, Fraenkel L, Losina E, Neogi T. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2017; 69 (10).

Comparison of Ultrasound Features of Major Salivary Glands in Sarcoidosis, Amyloidosis, and Sjögren’s Syndrome.  Law ST, Jafarzadeh SR, Govender P, Sun X, Sanchorawala V, Kissin EY. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2019 Jul 15. doi: 10.1002/acr.24029. PMID:31309727

Use of intravenous epoprostenol as a treatment for the digital vasculopathy associated with the scleroderma spectrum of diseases. Shing Law, Robert W. Simms and Harrison W. Farber. Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA Boston University, Boston, MA. Arthritis & Rheumatol 2016; 68(10):14L

Andreea M Bujor:
Comparison of oral versus parental methotrexate in rheumatoid arthritis: A meta-analysis. Janua S, Bujor A, LaValley MP, Duran J, Duran J, Felson DT. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2017; 69 (10).

Margarita Bockorny:
Methotrexate dosage as a source of bias in biological trials in rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review.Durán J, Bockorny M, Dalal D, LaValley M, Felson DT. Ann Rheum Dis. 2016 Apr 18

Sadao Jinno:
Trends in emergency department visits and charges for gout in the United States between 2006 and 2012. Jinno S, Hasegawa K, Neogi T, Goto T, Dubreuil M. J Rheumatol. 2016

Alicia Rodriguez-Pla:
Primary angiitis of the central nervous system in adults and children. Rodriguez-Pla A, Monach PA. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2015;41(1):47-62

Deepan Dalal:
Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs correlates with the risk of venous thromboembolism in knee osteoarthritis patients: a UK population-based case-control study.Lee T, Lu N, Felson DT, Choi HK, Dalal DS, Zhang Y, Dubreuil M. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2016 Jun;55(6):1099-105.

Methotrexate dosage as a source of bias in biological trials in rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review. Durán J, Bockorny M, Dalal D, LaValley M, Felson DT. Ann Rheum Dis. 2016 Apr 18

Patrick Hook:
Joints. Chan KK, Hook P, Kissin EY. Point of care ultrasound, Soni NJ, Arntfield R, Kory P, Elsevier, 2015 ISBN: 978-1-4557-7569-9

Amy Wu:
Patients’ perspective of skin involvement in systemic sclerosis. Ada Man, Amy Wu, Jessica Ziemek, Romy Christmann, Robert W. Simms, David T. Felson, and Robert Lafyatis. Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA Boston University, Boston, MA. Arthritis & Rheumatism 2014; 66(11):S1191

Kyu Chan Kim:
Prevalence of radiographic and symptomatic hip osteoarthritis in an urban United States community: the Framingham osteoarthritis study. Kim C, Linsenmeyer KD, Vald SC, Guermazi A, Clancy MM, Niu J, Felson DT. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2014 Nov; 66(11):3013-7

Diana Vradii:
Sonographic Differentiation of Heel Pain: Focal Degenerative Versus Systemic Inflammatory Enthesitis. Patrick Hook, Diana Vradii, Maureen Dubreuil, Hau Pham and Eugene Y Kissin, Arthritis & Rheumatism 2014; 66(11:S61

Ada Mann:
Patients’ Perspective of Skin Involvement in Systemic Sclerosis. Ada Man, Amy Wu, Jessica Ziemek, Romy Christmann, Robert W. Simms, David T. Felson, and Robert Lafyatis. Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, Boston University, Boston MA. Arthritis & Rheumatism 2014; 66(11):S1191

Maureen D Dubreuil:
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2013: in-press, American Journal of Medicine 2013: in-press;  Seminars Arthritis Rheum 2013:

Irina Buhaescu:
Arthritis Care & Research 2011:

Nadia Gibson:
Journal of Rheumatology 2012: 

Peter C. Grayson:
Arthritis Care & Research 2013:;  Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2012: ;   Journal of Rheumatology 2012:; Seminars Arthritis Rheum 2011:; Arthritis Care & Research 2011:

Devyani Misra:
American Journal of Medicine 2013:; Arthritis Care & Research 2011:; Journal of Rheumatology 2011:; Seminars Arthritis Rheum 2011:

Gunnar Tomasson:
Rheumatology 2012:; Journal of Rheumatology 2011:; Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2010:; Curr Opin Rheumatol 2009:

Suzanne L. Chapnick:
Arthritis Care & Research 2010:

William F. Harvey:
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2012:; Annals of Internal Medicine 2010:; Arthritis & Rheumatism 2007:

Barton L. Wise:
Journal of Rheumatology 2011:; Journal of Rheumatology 2009:

Steven C. Vlad:
Journal of Rheumatology 2011:; Arthritis & Rheumatism 2009:; Arthritis Research & Therapy 2009:; Archives of Internal Medicine 2008:; Neurology 2008:; Arthritis & Rheumatism 2007:

Michael York:
ACP J Club 2006:; Journal of Rheumatology 2006:

Grace H. Lo:
Arthritis & Rheumatism 2005:; Annals of Internal Medicine 2005:; JAMA 2003:

Eugene Y. Kissin:
Arthritis & Rheumatism 2006:; Arthritis &  Rheumatism 2003:; Rheum Dis Clin North Am 2003:; Arthritis & Rheumatism 2002:


Fellows have free full-text access to the major rheumatology journals through the Boston University Alumni Medical Library and access to major rheumatic disease and radiology textbooks in the fellow’s office.

Major Journals: (All are available online via BU Alumni Medical Library)

Arthritis and Rheumatism
Journal of Rheumatology
Arthritis Care & Research
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery
New England Journal of Medicine
Annals of Internal Medicine

Available Free Resources:

Up-To-Date (
MicroMedex (
(access available through BMC home page)

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