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. Stanford University recently announced the recipient of the Arthritis Foundation’s Jessica Saal Bequest. This 2019-20 award is specifically awarded to a pediatric fellowship student at Stanford University. Congratulations to recipient Uptej Khalsa, MD!
Dr. Khalsa earned her medical degree at St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies, and she completed a pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey in Newark. She is excited to be part of the pediatric rheumatology fellowship program at Stanford.
During her fellowship, Dr. Khalsa plans to improve how doctors, patients and their families communicate about treatment options. “My fellowship research is focused on studying how families and health care providers of children with chronic rheumatologic conditions interact with a new digital health platform, called OurNotes,” she explains.
OurNotes will engage patients and their families through mutual clinical progress notes. It aims to identify and prioritize the patient’s most pressing concerns, bringing providers, patients and their caregivers closer together
“OurNotes has the potential to improve the delivery of health care in the pediatric rheumatology setting,” Dr. Khalsa says. “We want to understand how to effectively and practically engage families so it’s meaningful to them.”
This fellowship award is funded by the Saal family, in memory of their daughter Jessica, who died in 2004 at the age of 34 from complications of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Jessica Saal served on the executive board of the Arthritis Foundation in the northern California region. She actively supported legislation for funding arthritis research and availability of prescriptions for arthritis patients. Thanks to the generosity of the Saal family, Dr. Khalsa is helping expand the number of new pediatric rheumatologists in training for this new fellowship program in her memory.