If you think how far we’ve come in treating children with arthritis over the past two decades is nothing short of miraculous, get ready for some spectacular new discoveries in the not too distant future. That’s what Dr. Yukiko Kimura firmly believes – and she should know, since she’s been on the front lines of treating juvenile arthritis (JA) and other childhood rheumatic diseases for more than 25 years.
Dr. Kimura is the chief of pediatric rheumatology at the Joseph Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. She earned her MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and did her pediatric rheumatology fellowship at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in NYC. The Arthritis Foundation supported her early training with a fellowship research award.
Ever since, Dr. Kimura has been all-in, working with the Arthritis Foundation to create new and better programs for kids with JA and related conditions. She helped bring the first JA camp and JA family days to New Jersey, and serves on the Arthritis Foundation’s local and national JA committees.
Amazing progress ahead in even shorter time
These days, Dr. Kimura’s work brings her even more satisfaction than she ever imagined. “There are so many ways we can help our patients than ever before,” she points out. “There’s so much more hope than there ever was in the past. It’s amazing to see how far this field has come in such a short period. I am sure we will make even more amazing progress in an even shorter period of time.”
Dr. Kimura and her Walk to Cure Arthritis team, the Hackensack JA Heroes, are eager to make more progress happen in just a few weeks. Though she doesn’t recall how many thousands of dollars her team has raised for the Arthritis Foundation, she does know 2016 is a landmark year.
“Our team has together raised more than $26,000 so far, and the donations keep coming in,” she says proudly. That doesn’t count the sponsorship dollars Dr. Kimura’s Heroes have secured. Whatever the final tally, the team will have raised more than ever for a single event.
As this year’s medical honoree for the New Jersey event, Dr. Kimura takes seriously her role to inspire JA patients and their families to get involved. “We need to show our commitment to the Arthritis Foundation and their mission, so they can keep supporting research, education, advocacy and other programs,” she says. “I have been touched by all the support I’ve received from patients and their families, colleagues and friends.”
Even more kudos to Dr. Kimura
Dr. Kimura’s outstanding leadership and bedside manner have been recognized by the arthritis community in other significant ways, too.
Last summer, the Arthritis Foundation saluted her with our Earl J. Brewer Award for Physician Leadership, named after a pioneer and visionary in the field of pediatric rheumatology research. In her acceptance remarks, Dr. Kimura said: “If I could accomplish a fraction of what Dr. Brewer did to improve the lives of the children we treat and their families, it would be a lifetime achievement.”
On July 1, Dr. Kimura will begin a two-year term as the new chair and president of CARRA, the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance. Dr. Kimura says the Foundation’s renewed commitment to the pediatric rheumatology research network is crucial. “The Arthritis Foundation is helping to transform the research CARRA is doing, elevating us to even greater discoveries and progress.”
What inspires Dr. Kimura most of all is what drew her to the field of pediatric rheumatology in the first place: the strength and courage of children suffering from arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. “I very much wanted to be able to help them in any way I could, because most physicians did not even know how to diagnose them, much less how to treat them,” she remembers.
Today, Dr. Kimura urges patients and their families to get involved with the Arthritis Foundation and connect to a community of others who are going through the same issues. “Our patients need to know they are not alone.”
New Jersey Walk Kicks Off Health & Fitness Expo
The New Jersey Walk to Cure Arthritis fundraiser on May 14 kicks off one of the largest public health events ever at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. Teaming up with the four-time Super Bowl champion New York Giants and NBC, this family-friendly Health and Fitness Expo gives visitors a lot to choose from. After doing the Walk to Cure Arthritis, you can meet local celebrities, get free health screenings, drop in on cooking demos, visit the Family Fun Zone (zip line, rock wall, 40-yard dash) and much more!
Thank You to Our 2016 National Walk to Cure Arthritis Sponsors!