13th Annual Conference May 18 - 20, 2023
The 2023 Caribbean Association of Rheumatology conference will be held May 18-20, 2023 in St. Thomas, USVI. We are proud to announce that this year’s meeting will be hosted in person after the hiatus caused by the covid-19 pandemic. St. Thomas is easily accessible to international flights via the Cyril E. King International Airport (CEKA) in St. Thomas, USVI.
As per usual, this two-day conference features clinical and basic science updates pertinent to medical professionals involved in the diagnosis, management and overall care persons with rheumatic diseases. The conference promises to be highly informative while still allowing for participant interaction, with the overall aim of strengthening participants understanding of rheumatologic disorders. We continue to offer our traditional ultrasound workshop as a pre-conference session on Thursday, May 18, 2023. Saturday afternoon will be devoted to teaching rheumatology to non-rheumatologists who are involved in the care of patients with rheumatic disease.
This year’s keynote speaker giving the Eon Nigel Harris lecture is Professor Iain McInnes from the University of Glasgow. Professor McInnes currently serves as the Vice Principal and Head of College to the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, Muirhead Professor of Medicine, and Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He is the immediate Past President of the European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Professor McInnes was awarded a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to medicine by Her Majesty the Queen in 2019.
Some of our other featured distinguished international speakers include Dr. Grace Wright who is founder of the Association of Women in Rheumatology and affiliated with NYU Langone Health Tisch Hospital, Dr. Ted Mikuls from the University of Nebraska and Dr. Myma Albayda from the Johns Hopkins University, who along with a number of luminaries in their fields from across the Caribbean, will share their expertise.
This meeting will allow us to connect and collaborate with colleagues on the latest in rheumatic disease treatments, in an atmosphere that is welcoming and open to all, including family and friends.
Please see the preliminary program.
We look forward to seeing you there !
Professor Iain McInnes is Vice Principal and Head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, Muirhead Chair of Medicine and Versus Arthritis Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Glasgow. He is also Director of the Versus Arthritis Centre of Excellence for Inflammatory Arthritis, led from Glasgow and including Universities of Oxford, Newcastle, and Birmingham. He is the Chair of the Government’s Independent Advisory Group for COVID19 anti-viral strategies, which has assisted in the U of G being awarded CSO funding of more than £1million to undertake nine crucial COVID-19 research projects aimed at increasing the understanding of the coronavirus pandemic. Professor Iain McInnes CBE is one of the leading figures in global research into rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis. His work has been hugely influential in driving new approaches and treatments for inflammatory diseases. Over two decades, he has led numerous clinical trials and pathogenesis investigation programs in inflammatory arthritis at an international level. He is the recipient of several prestigious prizes in recognition of his work, including the Sir James Black Medal of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2017 for “outstanding contribution to the field of immunology”, the Heberden Medal of the British Society for Rheumatology in 2018, and the Carol-Nachman Prize for Rheumatology in Germany (the highest international award in rheumatology) in 2019. He was awarded a CBE for services to medicine by Her Majesty the Queen in 2019.
Dr. Albayda is a rheumatologist specializing in the inflammatory myopathies and musculoskeletal ultrasound at Johns Hopkins. She is the director of the Rheumatology Fellowship program as well as the Musculoskeletal Ultrasound program in the Division of Rheumatology. Her research has focused on harnessing muscle ultrasound for the evaluation of myositis as well as describing unique phenotypes in myositis. More recently, her clinical and research focus has been centered on Inclusion Body Myositis and she was the principal investigator of the Pioglitazone in IBM trial. She is studying the impact of mitochondrial dysfunction in this disease as well as the role of imaging to determine disease severity.
Dr. Francis-Emmanuel completed her undergraduate medical training at the UWI Mona in 2003 and Internal Medicine postgraduate in 2010. She has worked at the University Hospital of the West Indies as a consultant physician and at the University of the West Indies, Mona as an associate lecturer since. She holds a specialty certificate in Diabetes and Endocrinology from the Royal College of Physicians, London, having trained at the West Suffolk Hospital. She is a coordinator of the DM internal medicine program at the University of the West Indies Mona. She is a member of several international medical societies and has published in several peer-reviewed journals. Her research has explored insulin sensitivity in adults exposed to childhood malnutrition, metabolic effects of ischemic stroke and sarcopenia as well as the diabetes and COVID-19 inter-relationship.
Dr. Ashira Blazer is a physician scientist who studies the biologic and genetic determinants of lupus severity in patients of African ancestry. She completed her fellowship at NYU where she was also awarded the ACR Distinguished fellow award, and subsequently went onto an Assistant Professorship. Her research is centered on examining the interplay between chronic inflammation, cellular function, and Apolipoprotein L1 gene expression. Currently, Dr. Blazer is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Attending Physician at Hospital for Special Surgery, where she continues her research. She has forged multiple international collaborations with rheumatology programs in West Africa, spearheading the development of three unique bio registries at HSS, in Accra, Ghana, and Lagos, Nigeria. She has translated her work from the clinic to the lab, where she studies the mechanisms underpinning genetic toxicity through novel primary cell culture models. Dr. Blazer has received several funded grants through the Rheumatology Research Foundation, International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR), Pfizer Foundation, Colton Center for Autoimmunity, and the National Institutes of Health. She was most recently awarded a K23 research development award from NIAID to continue her work on APOL1 regulation and expression in lupus at HSS. She also accepted a grant from the Lupus Research Alliance (LRA), which will focus on epigenetic profiling of SLE urinary sediment to identify relative innate and adaptive immune cell types Furthermore, Dr. Blazer is committed to mentorship and education and is working to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of Rheumatology. In recognition of her work as a thought leader in reducing health disparities, she was appointed as a 2020 National Minority Quality Forum 40 under 40 leader in Minority Health. In addition, she is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Lupus Foundation of America, is part of the ACR's Collaborative Initiatives Special Committee aimed at promoting health equity in autoimmune disease and is an inaugural member and co-chair of the ACR's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She is also on NYU Langone’s Division of Rheumatology Fellowship Diversity Advisory Committee.
Dr. Manno is a Rheumatologist in the US Virgin Islands. After completing her undergraduate degree at Johns Hopkins University, she obtained her M.D. from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She continued at the University of Maryland for Internal Medicine residency and an additional Chief Residency. She then completed a four year Rheumatology Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine during which time she also obtained a Masters in Health Science from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Manno joined the Johns Hopkins Division of Rheumatology Faculty as an Assistant Professor of Medicine and the Assistant Director of the Vasculitis Center in 2011 with a research and clinical interest in the intersection of exercise, nutrition, aging and inflammatory disease. She moved to the US Virgin Islands in 2019 and joined a group practice, Comprehensive Orthopedic Global, while maintaining her faculty status as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Manno maintains a passion for academics, clinical investigation and patient care in the Caribbean with a focus on the science of nutrition on rheumatic disease.
Dr. Mikuls is the Stokes-Shackleford Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, Nebraska where he also serves as a staff physician and researcher for the VA Nebraska Western Iowa Health Care System. Dr. Mikuls is an epidemiologist and rheumatologist, with research interests focused on disease epidemiology, pathogenesis and outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis and gout. He currently leads research efforts of the Nebraska Arthritis Outcomes Research Center; receives active research support from the NIH (NIGMS, NIAMS), VA, Rheumatology Research Foundation, US Department of Defense, and industry; and is Director of the Professional Development Core for the NIGMS-funded Great Plains IDeA CTR. He founded and has directed the national VA Rheumatoid Arthritis Registry (VARA) since its inception in 2002. He currently chairs the Scientific Advisory Counsel and serves on the Board of Directors for the Rheumatology Research Foundation.
Dr. Tai Hunte-Ceasar was born and raised in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. She attended public schools of the VI and graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School as salutatorian in 1997. She subsequently obtained a Bachelor of Science degree and a Medical degree at Howard University in Washington, DC. After completing medical school, she completed an Internal and Social Medicine residency program and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Jackson Memorial Hospital at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Tai Hunte-Ceasar is board certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. She has a Master’s of Science Degree in Public Health from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Tai Hunte-Ceasar currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health in the Virgin Islands and is the Healthcare Branch lead for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unified Command Response. She is also a provider at the Department of Health in the Communicable Diseases Clinic where she provides specialty care for STD, HIV, and TB management. She is a staff physician at the Schneider Regional Medical Center and is the Chairwoman for Infection Control. She also has a private office for Infectious Diseases outpatient consultations. During her professional career in the territory, she has served in various senior, administrative roles in both district hospitals and the federally qualified healthcare center in the St. Thomas/St. John district. She was honored and recognized for her leadership during the COVID19 pandemic by the Virgin Islands Medical Society in March 2021. Her most recent accomplishment is the appointment as the Founding Dean of the University of the Virgin Islands S. Donald Sussman School of Medicine. She is married to a local pharmacy owner, and they have one daughter.
Hailing from Alabama with biology and medical degrees from the University of Alabama and its school of Medicine, Dr. Cobb completed her orthopedic residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee where she also completed a fellowship in Pediatric Gait Analysis. Dr. Cobb accomplished a fellowship in Pediatric Orthopedics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has a special interest in hip disorders, neuromuscular conditions and pediatric trauma
Dr. Reid is a Consultant Cardiologist, Cornwall Regional Hospital (Western Regional Health Authority). He completed his MBBS in 2006 and Doctor of Medicine, Internal Medicine in 2014 with the University of the West Indies. He went on to do Fellowship training at the University of Toronto, Canada in General Cardiology and further subspecialty cardiology training in Adult Congenital Heart disease and Obstetric cardiology, between 2017 and 2020. He also completed a cardiac MRI fellowship at the Royal Brompton Hospital in the UK. In addition to all his Cardiology training he has training and special interest in Healthcare Quality Improvement and Patient safety.
An Alabama native, Dr. Brian Bacot graduated summa cum laude from Alabama A&M and then continued on to The University of Alabama-Birmingham’s School of Medicine. He completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at The University of Miami School of Medicine/Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida. During his residency, Dr. Bacot’s research pursuits included corrective procedures for children with Blount’s disease, a progressive bowing of the legs, and surgical outcomes research for patients with cervical fusions. Upon completion of his residency, Dr. Bacot accepted a fellowship in Arthritis and Adult Reconstruction at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. There he received further training, and helped develop innovations in joint reconstruction and arthritis care, including the latest techniques in minimally invasive hip and knee replacements. Prior to moving to St. Thomas, Dr. Bacot was the founder of a very successful, state-of-the-art practice in Atlanta, Georgia. With his pleasant and caring bedside manner, innovative, minimally invasive techniques, and emphasis on pain management, which all lead to rapid recovery and reduced pain, he has become a surgeon of choice throughout the United States. During his years in private practice, Dr. Bacot has had a steady flow of patients who have traveled from all over the world to see him. Dr. Bacot cares about his patients as people and is committed to creating a doctor-patient relationship that enhances restorations and recovery. His goal is not simply to run the race, but to set the standard and provide the best in orthopaedic healthcare to become the orthopaedic care provider of choice. Dr. Bacot continues to stay up-to-date on the latest, most advanced technology by using ConforMIS customized knee implants for his patients’ knee replacement needs and doing consultant work for CONMED and MicroPort.
Dr. Richards received his MBBS and DM (Medicine) for the University of the West Indies and is currently Chief of Rheumatology Section at the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System and a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. He serves on the Food and Drug Administration Arthritis Advisory Committee and the American College of Rheumatology Guidelines Committee. Dr. Richards has worked at expanding the Rheumatology Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh/Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System and his research interests include disparities in osteoporosis screening for men and ethnic minorities, comorbidities in rheumatoid arthritis and more recently Telerheumatology.
Dr. Ho is a Consultant Dermatologist and Lecturer at The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. He received his MBBS from UWI Mona, and completed his Dermatology training in the International Graduate Program at Boston University School of Medicine. He is additionally fellowship trained and board certified in Dermatopathology. Dr. Ho is the Co-Director of the Dermatology residency program at the UWI, serves as the current president of the Dermatology Association of Jamaica and is Deputy Editor -in-Chief for PathologyOutlines, Dermatopathology Section. His Clinical interests include complex medical dermatology, autoimmune connective tissue diseases, dermatopathology and in-patient dermatology.
Dr. Wright is a consultant rheumatologist in New York City. She earned her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Barnard College and her medical and doctorate degrees at the NYU School of Medicine. She completed her internship, residency and chief residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in rheumatology at the NYU Medical Center where she served as Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine. Dr Wright is board-certified in Rheumatology and is a Fellow of the American College of Rheumatology. In 2014, Dr. Wright founded the Association of Women in Rheumatology (AWIR) which has since grown to over 30 local chapters throughout the United States as well as a growing number of international chapters. Dr. Wright has served as the President of AWIR since its inception. Dr Wright has been recognized as a Woman in Motion by the Arthritis Foundation, and as a Rheumatology Hero by the American College of Rheumatology. In 2022 she received an American College of Physicians Recognition of Women in Medicine award and was also recognized by the Global Health and Living Foundation as a Beacon for Better Health Dr. Wright has participated in multiple clinical trials, has been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals, and lectures extensively at national and international conferences on rheumatic diseases, with a special focus on Rheumatology, Immunology, and the impact of Equity and Gender on Rheumatology Healthcare providers and patients.
Dr. Fifi-Mah is a Rheumatologist and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary where she works out of the South Health Campus. She did her initial training in a rheumatology in Paris, France then worked in Martinique and Guadeloupe before moving to Calgary where she retrained to work as a rheumatologist. She has an interest in complex autoimmune diseases. She has established a vasculitis clinic and is a core member of CANVASC, the Canadian vasculitis network. She has contributed to the Canadian vasculitis recommendations and has collaborated with the American and European network to support research in vasculitis. She has established a vasculitis registry in Calgary and is contributing to training of international vasculitis fellows.
Dr. Dowell received her medical degree from the University of the West Indies and completed a DM in Internal Medicine while serving as a registrar at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados. She subsequently received her rheumatology fellowship training at the University of Maryland, followed by a faculty appointment at Howard University where she served as the Course Director for the Introduction to Clinical Medicine Course for sophomore students. She has actively engaged in clinical research trials and was a recipient of a Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Award in 2020. She is currently the Medical Director for Rheumatology at NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital where she provides expertise in general rheumatology with special interest in patient education. Dr. Dowell is currently spearheading research evaluating the impact of patient education on disease outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis, and the role of telemedicine in improving visit adherence in vulnerable populations.
Dr. Davis is a board certified adult rheumatologist practicing in Kingston, Jamaica. She earned her medical degree from the University of the West Indies, Mona and later completed her Internal Medicine residency at the Carillon Clinic/University of Virginia and rheumatology fellowship at the Medical College of Georgia. Dr. Davis is an international fellow of the American College of Rheumatologist and the current secretary of the Caribbean Association of Rheumatology. She is a past president of the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica. She currently serves on Jamaica’s National Health Fund Expert Panel of Physicians. She enjoys doing presentations directed at both primary care physicians and various communities in the hope of improving awareness of rheumatic diseases.
Dr. McGhie is a Consultant Physician and Rheumatologist at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in Montego Bay, Jamaica and Associate Lecturer in the Department of Medicine at the University of the West Indies, Mona. She is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, Mona where she completed her Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MB BS) in 2003 and subsequently her Doctor of Medicine (DM) in Internal Medicine in 2012. Through the G. Raymond Chang Caribbean Fellowship Award, she completed her fellowship training in rheumatology in 2017 at the University of Toronto. Upon return to Jamaica, she established a weekly rheumatology clinic and in-patient consultation service at CRH, a Type ‘A’ hospital which provides specialist care to the population of Jamaica’s western parishes. She has a special interest in lupus and rheumatic diseases in pregnancy and has published in peer reviewed journals, authored a text book chapter and presented at international conferences in these areas. She is a member of the OMERACT (Outcome Measures in Rheumatology) Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE) Working Group and is a participant in the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics-American College of Rheumatology-Lupus foundation of America (SLICC-ACR-LFA) collaboration SLICC Damage Index Renewal Project. Dr. McGhie gives back to the community through the founding and convening of the Lupus Support Group-Western Jamaica which extends the reach of the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica.
Dr. Anishka S. Rolle is a Consultant and the Director of Infusion services at Doctors Hospital and the Bahamas Health and Healing Medical Center in the Bahamas. She earned her medical degree from the University of the West Indies and completed Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship training at Carilion Clinic in Virginia and Roger Williams Medical Center, Brown University in Rhode Island respectively. She is a fellow of the American College of Rheumatology and has ACR certification in Musculoskeletal Ultrasonography. Dr. Rolle has served on multiple advisory boards and has contributed chapters to Ferri’s Clinical Advisor and The 5-Mintue Consult Clinical Companion to Women’s Health. She is a member of the Association of Women in Rheumatology and Lupus242 Bahamas. Dr. Rolle is an advocate for promoting community awareness of chronic rheumatic diseases with special emphasis on lupus, and for supporting the expansion of the Bahamas national drug plan to include specialty medications.
Dr. Keisha Davis-King is a Consultant Rheumatologist and medical internist at the Eric Williams Medical Science Complex. She has over ten (10) years of clinical experience in Internal Medicine and pursued her sub specialty in Rheumatology. Dr. Davis-King also has professional affiliations with the British Society of Rheumatology and the Caribbean Association of Rheumatology with the aim of increasing awareness of Rheumatological conditions among the general population by providing a high quality of care for patients utilizing the most medically advanced techniques. Dr. Davis-King is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, where she received her MBBS in Medicine (Hons). She then completed her Rheumatology fellowship in Rheumatology (RCPE) and Specialty Certificate Examination in the United Kingdom.
President - Dr. Amanda King
Vice President - Dr. Cindy Flower
Treasurer - Dr. Lynda Tilluckdharry
Secretary - Dr. Sharon Dowell
Other directors were
Dr. Nicole Johnson, Dr. / Prof. Eon Nigel Harris and Dr. Vincent Nwosa