Because access to care is not always guaranteed, we’ve been working to help close the gap on the nation’s rheumatologist shortage through our fellowship initiative. As one of the five new 2020 fellowship grant awardees, Duke University announced their fellowship has been awarded to Dr. Laura Cannon.
Dr. Cannon earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in English from Duke University. She completed her medical degree at the University of North Carolina Medical School at Chapel Hill, where she also completed her pediatric residency training. She then returned to Duke University for pediatric rheumatology fellowship training.
Dr. Cannon explained how she came to the field of pediatric rheumatology, “One of the most rewarding aspects of choosing a career in medicine for me (and in particular pediatrics) has been getting to know patients and their families and being able to impact their life in a positive way with both preventative medicine and treatment of disease.
“I had little exposure to rheumatology until a rheumatology elective during my final year of residency, and I was immediately drawn to the field,” Dr. Cannon explained. “Not only was the pathophysiology of diseases within the specialty fascinating, but I loved the opportunity to get to know children with these complex conditions from the time of their diagnosis into their treatment and remission of their disease.
“During my experience in residency, I began to learn about the exciting new treatments emerging, and how with thoughtful choices in therapy and building strong partnerships with patients, the diseases were treatable, enabling children to get back to school and the activities they enjoy,” she continued.
Dr. Cannon feels Duke’s fellowship program has been an incredible training experience, with a rich learning environment. “Given the size of the division, I have been able to learn from many different pediatric rheumatologists with diverse approaches, backgrounds and interests within rheumatology. This has been a unique experience given the scarcity of pediatric rheumatologists across the country. Duke’s tradition of excellence within the research community has given me numerous opportunities to participate in research; it has also made me appreciate the importance of investigation of these rare diseases to continue to improve treatment of children affected by rheumatic disease across the country and the world,” Dr. Cannon explained.
Dr. Cannon’s fellowship award has been made possible by the generous donors at the Arthritis Foundation. “I am very grateful the Arthritis Foundation will help fund this experience,” she said. “The organization means a tremendous amount to me and so many of my patients with all the work they do for youth who are living with arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation provides a wonderful resource for patients and providers, and I feel fortunate the Foundation has such a strong commitment to improving the scarcity of pediatric rheumatology providers so young people living with rheumatic disease can receive better care and we can move further to discover cures for these diseases. I am thankful for the Foundation’s support of my education and look forward to working with the organization throughout my career.”
Learn more about donating to support our fellowship program.