Rheumatology at Penn Medicine has a long and distinguished history. Penn physicians pioneered the study of arthritis and wrote many of the early American textbooks on rheumatic diseases. This rich tradition of clinical excellence continues today. Rheumatologists at Penn Medicine are committed to providing the best clinical care for patients. Furthermore, Penn rheumatologists are known nationally and internationally for their clinical expertise and research scholarship. Many faculty members serve as chairs and committee members of national and international rheumatology organizations including the American College of Rheumatology, the American Association of Immunologists, the National Institute of Arthritis, Skin and Musculoskeletal Diseases and more.
The mission of Penn Rheumatology is to deliver outstanding care to patients, to provide exceptional training to the next generation of rheumatologists and to advance the understanding and treatment of rheumatologic diseases through innovative research.
Penn Pioneers in Rheumatology
Philadelphia boasts a strong tradition in medical education, starting with the nation's first medical school at the University of Pennsylvania founded in 1765, as well as rheumatology training and discoveries. Pioneers in the field of rheumatology at Penn include:
Ralph Pemberton, MD (1877-1949), thought by some to be "the Father of American Rheumatology," graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1903 and began Pennsylvania's first arthritis clinic at Presbyterian Hospital (now Penn Presbyterian Medical Center) in 1926 and was instrumental in the education of medical trainees.
Joseph Lee Hollander MD (1910-2000), one of Pemberton's students and also a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (1935), continued this tradition. As chief of the Department of Medicine Arthritis Section of the University of Pennsylvania he began Philadelphia's first fellowship program in rheumatology with the first fellow graduating in 1950. Over the past 60 years more than 100 rheumatologists have graduated from the fellowship program at the University of Pennsylvania making it one of the largest alumni groups in rheumatology in the United States.
H. Ralph Schumacher Jr. MD joined Hollander in 1967 at the University of Pennsylvania and has been instrumental in the education of hundreds of medical trainees in the field of rheumatology and specifically crystal arthropathies, continuing the strong tradition of quality education up to this day.