Rheumatology Celebrates Three Professors
Dr. Richard Pope bestows an endowed professorship medallion upon Dr. Rosalind Ramsey-Goldman.
On November 10, the Division of Rheumatology invested Rosalind Ramsey-Goldman, MD, DrPH, and Leena Sharma, MD, as the Solovy/Arthritis Research Society Research Professors, and reappointed Syamal K. Datta, MD, as the Solovy/Arthritis Research Society Professor of Medicine. In recognizing these faculty members, the Feinberg School of Medicine bestowed upon them its highest honor, while recognizing the contributions of donor Jack Solovy and his efforts with the Arthritis Research Society.
Chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Richard M. Pope, MD, Mabel Greene Myers Professor of Medicine-Rheumatology, served as emcee of the ceremony, as well as formal extoller for both Drs. Ramsey-Goldman and Sharma. Dr. Pope stressed that each of the honorees strived to fulfill the mission of the Division of Rheumatology—the prevention, cure, and relief of suffering from arthritis and rheumatic diseases.
In addition, James Schroeder, MD, associate dean for academic affairs, shared his own thoughts about the professorships, “A chair is the highest honor bestowed by a university upon a faculty member—a tribute to their contributions to their field and an expression of confidence and expectation of future contributions. I have the highest regard for my honored colleagues. They are tireless in their pursuit of an understanding that will achieve prevention or relief from the burden of arthritis.”
In recognition of the late Jack Solovy, honored by the professorships, his surviving brother Jerold Solovy and widow Adrian Solovy spoke of the importance of philanthropy, and how much advancements in his own name would have meant to Mr. Solovy. “I recall how hard Jack worked to endow one single chair and now think of how he would feel to see three wonderful people use their scientific ability to further all he was hoping to achieve,” she said. “I am too overwhelmed to say more, other than thank you for all you do and for the three of you—Godspeed!”
“My brother was a singular person. No matter what adversity he faced, he was always kind and caring. His sense of courage, his sense of determination never changed,” Jerold Solovy said.
The Solovy/Arthritis Research Society Professorship was first endowed by the Arthritis Research Society in 1988 to support the efforts of distinguished scientists researching arthritis and other connective tissue diseases. An arthritis sufferer, Jack Solovy helped create the Society and fundraised extensively on behalf of arthritis research. Mr. Solovy passed away in 1988, at the age of 63. In the wake of the loss, friends and family found inspiration in his goal to endow a professorship, and contributed the remaining funds needed to formally establish the position. By 2007, the endowed fund grew capable of supporting two research professorships in addition to the original full professorship. Although Mr. Solovy was unable to see his philanthropic goal reached in his lifetime, his name is forever remembered through these professorships.
Dr. Rosalind Ramsey-Goldman joined Northwestern University as assistant professor of medicine in 1991. She subsequently was named associate professor of medicine in 1996 and professor of medicine in 2001. With a focus on improving the quality of life for lupus patients, her research interests include investigating prevention strategies to minimize complications related to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) including osteoporosis, cancer, and cardiovascular disease and studying genetic risk factors for disease susceptibility and severity in SLE. She is also active in designing, monitoring, and performing clinical trials testing innovative therapies for patients with SLE.
In thanking the Solovy family, she said, “You have made this evening even more memorable for me through your ongoing commitment to our joint objectives because I am able to share it with my distinguished colleagues, Drs. Sharma and Datta, who are also being honored tonight.”
After earning her medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1984, Dr. Leena Sharma continued her postdoctoral training at the University of Texas, and went on to complete a fellowship in rheumatology at Northwestern University in 1989. Since that time, she has served as a faculty member at the medical school, and was most recently named professor of medicine in 2006. Her seminal work has helped to elucidate the role of mechanical factors in the natural history of knee osteoarthritis. Some of her most recent investigations include studies of the effects of dynamic knee instability and hip and knee muscle weakness on MRI-based measures of disease progression, functional decline, and disability development in persons with knee osteoarthritis.
In her remarks, Dr. Sharma not only acknowledged the generosity of the Solovy family and the nurturing environment of the institution, but called out the important contributions of her research team to her success, “To my research group, with whom I have been blessed to work, thank you for your sustained energy, creativity, and teamwork.”
Dr. Syamal K. Datta, professor of medicine and microbiology-immunology was appointed as the first Solovy/Arthritis Research Society Professor in the Division of Rheumatology in 1993. Dr. Datta began to study the basic mechanisms of systematic autoimmunity (lupus) at Tufts University in Boston. His laboratory was the first to identify the primary immunogen that initiates and drives the pathogenic autoimmune response in lupus at the molecular level. These peptide molecules can be used to block lupus in animal models and hold great promise for restoring normal immune regulation and disease remission in lupus patients.