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Faculty

Rheumatology

Pulmonary Medicine

Cardiology/ Pulmonary Hypertension

Gastroentrology/ Michigan Bowel Control Program

Occupational/ Hand therapy

Hand/ Plastics Surgery


Rheumatology

Dinesh Khanna, MD, MS, Frederick G..L. Huetwell Professor of Rheumatology and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, is the director of the University of Michigan Scleroderma Program effective July 1, 2011.

Originally from New Delhi, India, Dr. Khanna received his medical degree from the University College of Medical Sciences.  He completed his postdoctoral training as an intern and resident in internal medicine at Wright State University School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio, and a clinical and research fellowship in rheumatology and a master’s in clinical research at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine.  Dr. Khanna was Assistant Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.  He was also the Clinical Director of UCLA’s Scleroderma Clinic.

Dr. Khanna is the author of over 200 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters.  He has won numerous awards, including the 2007 Spirit of Leadership Award and the 2011 “Best Doctor of the Year” award from the Scleroderma Foundation.  He is board certified in rheumatology.  Dr. Khanna is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health and is particularly interested in the design of clinical trials and assessing patient reported outcomes in patients with scleroderma and leading novel international clinical trials in scleroderma. He is leading the recently funded investigator-initiated trial were recently award a $7 million investigator-initiated award from Bristol-Myers Squibb to conduct an international clinical trial in patients with diffuse systemic sclerosis.  The $7 million dollar  Abatacept Systemic SclErosis Trial (ASSET)  evaluates abatacept (Orencia®), which is FDA approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, to reduce the symptoms of sclerosis.  In addition, mechanistic work in the trial is supported by the NIH/NIAID as part of the Clinical Autoimmunity Center of Excellence grant to the University of Michigan (PI: Dr. David Fox; Project PI: Dr. Dinesh Khanna). More information on the ASSET trial can be found at www.scleroderma-asset-study.org.

Dr. Khanna is a fellow of the American College of Rheumatology.  He was elected by his peers to the 2011-2013 Best Doctors in America, which recognizes the area’s top clinicians.

See a listing of Dr. Khanna’s publications on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

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David A. Fox, MD
Frederick G.L. Huetwell and William D. Robinson, Professor of Rheumatology
Chief, Division of Rheumatology

foxA member of the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Medicine since 1985, Dr. Fox is Professor of Internal Medicine and, since 1990, has been Chief of the Division of Rheumatology. In addition, he directs the University of Michigan Clinical Autoimmunity Center of Excellence.  In 2013, Dr. Fox became the Frederick G. L. Huetwell and William D. Robinson, M.D. Professor of Rheumatology.

Dr. Fox’s research focuses on defining and characterizing pathways of human T cell activation, determining the role of these pathways in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disease, investigating T cell interactions with synovial fibroblasts, regulating autoimmunity with genetically modified dendritic cells, understanding the role of interleukin-17 in arthritis, and exploring novel approaches to the treatment of scleroderma. He is author of more than 200 scientific papers and book chapters and has served on the Editorial Board of Arthritis & Rheumatism and as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Immunology and the Journal of Clinical Investigation. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.

In 2007-2008, Dr. Fox served as the seventy-first President of the American College of Rheumatology and the sixth ACR President from the University of Michigan.

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Kristine Phillips, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Medicine.

Dr. Phillips joined the University of Michigan in 2005 following a faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital.  She completed medical school and residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and trained in Rheumatology at Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School.

In addition to her work with the Scleroderma Program, Dr. Phillips’ research interests include examining outcomes of patients with arthritis.  She is Prinicipal Investigator and co-investigator for a number of rheumatology clinical trials at the University of Michigan.

See a listing of Dr. Phillips’ publications on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

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Elena Schiopu, M.D., is Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Rheumatology and active faculty in the University of Michigan Scleroderma Program. She joined the faculty in August 2005, after she finished rheumatology fellowship training at Detroit Medical Center/Wayne State University. She is board certified in both internal medicine and rheumatology.

Her interest in scleroderma started during her general medicine internship at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ., where she received clinical and research training in their Scleroderma Program.

Dr. Schiopu is a member of the Board of Directors of the Scleroderma Foundation - Michigan Chapter and is a very involved presence in the education of patients.

Her roles in the University of Michigan Scleroderma Program include patient care and education of medical students and postgraduate trainees. She is active in numerous research projects focused currently on treatment strategies, measures of outcome and translational studies of potential laboratory markers of disease activity.

See a listing of Dr. Schiopu’s publications on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

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Eliza PS Tsou, Ph.D., is Research Fellow at the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Michigan. She received her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the State University of New York at Buffalo and joined UM in 2008.

Dr. Tsou’s main role is conducting scleroderma research. She has been actively involved in numerous scleroderma research projects, examining the mechanism of tissue fibrosis and vasculopathy in scleroderma. She utilizes cells isolated from skin biopsies from healthy volunteers as well as scleroderma patients and determines the key factors affecting the disease pathogenesis. Dr. Tsou is currently supported by the Arthritis Foundation.

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Pulmonary Medicine

Kevin R. Flaherty, MD, MS
Professor of Internal Medicine-Pulmonology & Critical Care

Kevin FlahertyDr. Kevin R. Flaherty received his medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States in 1993.  He completed his residency in internal medicine at Indiana University and his fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at University of Michigan.  He also completed a Master's Degree program in Biostatistics and Clinical Study Design at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health.

Dr. Flaherty has been on faculty at the University of Michigan since 2000 and is currently a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Dr. Flaherty also serves as Vice-Chair of the Medical School Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects Research.  He is a member of several medical organizations, including the American Thoracic Society, the European Respiratory Society, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the Michigan Thoracic Society.  

Dr. Flaherty’s clinical and research interests center around the diagnosis, monitoring, and care of patients with interstitial lung diseases.  He has been and continues to be the principal investigator on numerous grants and clinical trials related to the study and treatment of patients with idiopathic interstitial pneumonias, particularly idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.   Dr. Flaherty is a reviewer for the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Chest, European Respiratory Journal, Journal of the American Geriatric Society (JAGS), American Journal of Medicine, Respiration, Expert opinion on Medical Diagnostics, Respiratory Research, and American Journal of Physiology.  He is the author or coauthor of numerous articles for journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Chest, European Respiratory Journal, Postgraduate Medicine and American Journal of Medicine.   

Dr. Flaherty is co-director of the connective tissue disease (CTD)-ILD clinic and takes care of patients with different CTD’s-associated ILD, including scleroderma along with Dr. Khanna.

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Eric White, MD
Associate Professor Internal Medicine-Pulmonology & Critical Care
Director, Sarcoidosis Program

Dr. WhiteDr. White’s clinical interests include interstitial lung diseases (ILD), including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, scleroderma-associated ILD, and sarcoidosis, and he sees patients on Tuesday mornings with Dr. Khanna in the connective tissue disease-ILD clinic. Dr. White participates weekly in the Multidisciplinary Interstitial Lung Disease Conference, where patient cases are presented to provide a consensus opinion on the diagnosis and treatment options for patients with all ILDs.  In the lab, Dr. White focuses on understanding the biologic underpinnings of lung fibrosis and repair with an emphasis on the role of the extracellular matrix in these processes. By employing a translational approach using human tissues, we are exploring the ways in which the matrix contributes to lung fibrosis and might be exploited either therapeutically or as biomarkers to predict disease progression.

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Cardiology/ Pulmonary Hypertension

Scott Visovatti, M.D.
Clinical Lecturer in Internal Medicine-Cardiology

Bo Schembechler Heart of a Champion Award Recipient

Scot VisovattiDr. Scott Visovatti grew up in Evanston, Illinois. He first moved to Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan as an undergraduate during the great era of Coach Bo Schembechler. He then moved to Boston, where he attended Boston University Medical School, developed a passion for medical research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and fell in love with his wife, Moira.

Dr. Visovatti returned to Ann Arbor for his residency, chief residency and cardiovascular medicine training. Over this eight-year period he became a vascular biologist under the research mentorship of Dr. David Pinsky. With clinical mentorship from Dr. Vallerie McLaughlin and Dr. Dinesh Khanna, Dr. Visovatti began to explore the triggers for a particularly deadly form of pulmonary hypertension that develops in patients with a rheumatologic condition called “scleroderma.”

After completing his training, Dr. Visovatti accepted his dream job at the University of Michigan. He now divides his time between his pulmonary hypertension clinic, heart catheterization laboratory and research laboratory. His research remains focused on the causes of pulmonary arterial hypertension in patients with scleroderma.

In his first three years, Dr. Visovatti has started a new program that uses exercise to unmask hidden pulmonary hypertension, identified an enzyme that likely plays an important role in the development of pulmonary hypertension and pioneered the use of new methods for finding pulmonary hypertension as early as possible.

Bo Schembechler Heart of a Champion Award Recipient
Research focus: Metabolomics-Based Screening tor Scleroderma-Associated Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Scleroderma is a condition that leads to hardening (“sclera”) of the skin (“derma”). Though skin changes are the most visible results of the disease, many organs, including the heart and blood vessels of the lungs, can also be affected. About 15% of people with scleroderma — many of them young women — develop high blood pressure in their lungs — a condition called “pulmonary arterial hypertension” or “PAH.” PAH often leads to severe shortness of breath, making it difficult for patients to walk even a few feet, dress themselves or play with their children. We do have medications that can improve the shortness of breath, but often times they are started too late. Unfortunately, many patients develop heart failure and die within two years, even with treatment.

One of the reasons that so many people die from PAH due to scleroderma is that we are not very good at identifying those patients with scleroderma who are likely to develop PAH. As a result, PAH is often severe by the time it is diagnosed. Through our work in the clinic, the heart catheterization laboratory and the research laboratory, our team is working to find PAH in patients with scleroderma in its earliest, most treatable stage. It is our hope that, given enough of a head start, we can stop or even reverse this devastating disease.

Dr. Visovatti’s team will use the support of the Heart of a Champion Award to deploy a new field called “metabolomics” to identify scleroderma patients who are likely to develop PAH. Every second of every day, our bodies survive by responding to internal and external influences, including diseases, using millions of chemical reactions. Each reaction produces small molecules, called “metabolites,” that circulate in the blood. Many of these metabolites can be identified, giving us the ability to take an instantaneous “snapshot” of all the blood metabolites present at a specific point in time. Just as each of us has a unique set of fingerprints that identifies us unmistakably, these metabolomic “snapshots” can be used to unmistakably identify patients with scleroderma who will go on to develop PAH in the future.

This work is possible only at the University of Michigan, where experts in the fields of pulmonary hypertension (Dr. Vallerie McLaughlin), scleroderma (Dr. Dinesh Khanna) and metabolomics (Dr. Charles Burant) have provided a collaborative and empowering mentorship experience.

If successful, this research will facilitate clinical trials designed to test the benefits of currently available PAH medications in patients with scleroderma who are at high risk for the development of PAH.


Vallerie McLaughlin, MD
Kim A. Eagle MD Endowed Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Program.

Dr. McLaughlinShe received her MD from Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL, USA, in 1989. This was followed by a residency and internship at the University of Michigan Hospitals, Ann Arbor, (1989–1992), and a Cardiology Fellowship at Northwestern University, Chicago (1992–1995). She is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, American College of Chest Physicians and the American Heart Association (AHA) (clinical cardiology and epidemiology).

Dr McLaughlin has been the Principal Investigator of several major clinical trials of drug therapies for pulmonary arterial hypertension and has published numerous papers in this field. She is an editorial board member of Chest, a Guest Editor for the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and is a past Editor-in-Chief of Advances in Pulmonary Hypertension. She is a past chair of the Scientific Leadership Committee and immediate past Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, has chaired the American College of Cardiology Foundation/AHA Clinical Expert Consensus Document Committee for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, and is the Chair of the Cardiovascular Medical Research and Education Fund Steering Committee.

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Gastroentrology/ Michigan Bowel Control Program

William D. Chey, MD, AGAF, FACG, FACP, RFF
Timothy T. Nostrant Professor of Medicine
Director, GI Physiology Laboratory
Co-Director, Michigan Bowel Control Program
H. Marvin Pollard Institute Scholar
Division of Gastroenterology

Dr. CheyDr Chey received his BA degree from the University of Pennsylvania and medical degree & training in internal medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine. He completed a fellowship in gastroenterology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Following fellowship, Dr Chey has remained at the University of Michigan, where he is currently a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Director of the GI Physiology Laboratory, and Co-Director of the Michigan Bowel Control Program.

His research interests focus on the diagnosis and treatment of the functional bowel disorders, acid-related disorders, and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. Dr Chey has received funding for his research from federal and private sources.

Dr Chey has authored more than 300 manuscripts, reviews and book chapters. He is Co-editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Gastroenterology (2010-2016), Clinical & Translational Gastroenterology (2011-2014) and serves on the editorial boards of several other medical journals.

Dr. Chey is a member of the Board of Trustees, Practice Parameters Committee and Publications Committee of the American College of Gastroenterology. Dr. Chey joined the Board of Directors of the Rome Foundation in 2010 and is a member of the planning committee for the development of the Rome IV criteria. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the International Foundation of Functional GI Disorders.  He is past Chair of the Clinical Practice Section (2006-2008) of the American Gastroenterological Association.

He has participated in and directed numerous national and international continuing medical education programs in gastroenterology and has been elected to the roster of “Best Doctors” since 2001 and “America’s Top Doctors” since 2009. In 2014, Dr. Chey was named as one of the “160 Gastroenterologists to Know in America” by Becker’s ASC, inducted into the Clinical Excellence Society of the Department of Internal Medicine, inducted into the League of Research Excellence, and received the Dean’s Outstanding Clinician Award at the University of Michigan. In 2015, he was named the inaugural Timothy T. Nostrant Professor of Medicine at the University of Michigan.

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Richard Joseph Saad, MD
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine-Gastroenterology

Richard Saad, M.D.Dr. Richard Saad received his medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA in 1995.  He completed his residency in internal medicine at Brooke Army Medical Center and his fellowship in gastroenterology at the University of Michigan in 2005. 

Dr. Saad has been on faculty at the University of Michigan since 2005 and is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

Dr. Saad’s clinical and research interests centers around the functional bowel disorders in the elderly, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, nonulcer dyspepsia, helicobacter pylori, and peptic ulcer disease.

He is part of the Michigan Bowel Control Program and sees patients with scleroderma and gastrointestinal involvement.

 

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Occupational/ Hand therapy

Carole Dodge, BS, OTR, CHT
Occupational Therapist, UMHHS

DodgeCarole Dodge graduated from Boston University in 1979 with her Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy, and earned her credential as a certified hand therapist in 2007.  She has been employed at the University of Michigan Hospital and Health Systems in the Department of Physical Medicine since 1997, and currently has both clinical and managerial responsibilities for three out-patient hand therapy clinics. Areas of specialty include rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, scleroderma, joint replacements, and traumatic hand injuries.

Carole participated in the development of an Occupational Therapy Hand Residency program at the University of Michigan Hospital and Health Systems which was the first hand residency program accredited by AOTA in October 2013. She is the current director of the residency program.

Carole has been invited by the Minister of Health of Macedonia on two occasions in 2009, and 2014 to teach hand therapy in Skopje, and Bitola, and present at an international conference held in Ochrid, Macedonia.

She is also involved in the care of people with scleroderma and hand disabilities and actively participates with the Scleroderma Program.

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Hand/ Plastics Surgery

Kevin C. Chung, MD, MS
Charles B. G. De Nancrede (Chair of the Department of Surgery at University of Michigan, 1847-1921) Professor of Surgery, Plastic Surgery and Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr. ChungDr. Chung received his health services research training as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar from the University of Michigan. He obtained his general surgery training from the University of Texas in San Antonio, his plastic surgery training from the University of Michigan and his hand surgery training from the Curtis National Hand Center in Baltimore. At the University of Michigan Medical School, he serves as the Assistant Dean for Faculty Affairs in charge of Tenure and Promotion, and is the Associate Director for Global REACH, the global health program of the Medical School. Dr Chung is Chief of Hand Surgery for the University of Michigan Health System and Director of the Multidisciplinary Hand Center.

Dr. Chung is a past Director for the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery. He has served as the Treasurer/Secretary for the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He is the past Vice-President for Research for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and is the President for the Plastic Surgery Foundation. He is the Research Director, a Council member and a Trustee for the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and its Foundation. He serves as a member of the Plastic Surgery Residency Review Committee. He is Past Chairman of the AO North America Hand Education Committee in charge of hand surgery educational programs for the US and Canada.

He has published over 360 peer-reviewed manuscripts, over 200 book chapters, and 15 textbooks. He is a National Institutes of Health funded researcher who is the principal investigator of an R01 grant for a multicenter clinical study on the rheumatoid hand that has received a competitive renewal, and another R01 grant on an 18 center clinical trial for the treatment of distal radius fracture in the elderly. He has also received a K24 Midcareer Investigator Grant in Patient-Oriented Research that received a second renewal, a R34 Clinical Trial Planning grant and a R21 Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award from the National Institutes of Health. He is the first recipient of the Weiland Medal from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand to honor a hand surgeon whose research work advanced the specialty. He is the 2011 Researcher of the Year for the American Association of Plastic Surgeons. In 2008, Dr. Chung received the Dean's award from the University of Michigan Medical School for Clinical and Health Services Research that is bestowed on a faculty member for outstanding research accomplishments. Dr. Chung is the Deputy Editor for the Journal of Hand Surgery (American), the Editor for Hand Clinics and Associate Editor for Journal of Hand Surgery (European). He is the Outcomes Section Editor for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

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Jennifer F. Waljee, MD
Assistant Professor in the Section of Plastic and Reconstructive School of Medicine.

Dr. WaljeeShe received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, and completed a Masters of Public Health Degree in Epidemiology at the University of Michigan. She then completed medical school at Emory University, and returned to the University of Michigan for her surgical training. She completed her General Surgery residency training in 2009, and spent an additional two years completing training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Michigan. In 2012, she completed a fellowship in Hand Surgery, and joined the faculty in July 2012.

Dr. Waljee is clinically focused on the treatment and reconstruction of upper extremity conditions and burn injuries. 

Dr. Waljee is involved in evaluating patients with severe Raynaud’s phenomenon and digital ulcers with scleroderma and other connective tissue diseases.

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