Nearly 6,400 children in Minnesota have a rheumatic disease such as lupus, systemic scleroderma, or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
Specialized treatment for these children is vital. Pediatric rheumatologists have the expertise to properly diagnose the illness and provide prompt treatment to prevent lifelong problems, which can include severe pain and disability. But there is a serious shortage of specialists in the country—fewer than 200 practicing pediatric rheumatologists to treat more than 300,000 patients.
The Minneapolis-based Wasie Foundation hopes to improve that ratio by helping to establish a pediatric rheumatology fellowship program at the University of Minnesota. The Wasie Foundation has offered to provide a matching gift of $500,000 if the University can raise $500,000 by June 30, 2009, for the $1 million needed to jump-start the program.
With your help, the program—led by University pediatric rheumatologists Richard Vehe, M.D., and Bryce Binstadt, M.D., Ph.D.— could begin as early as this summer.