As I write this message prior to Halloween, there is an uptick in COVID activity starting. Hopefully that does not portend a long winter of isolation for our patients, ourselves and our families. Despite this, our Society is moving forward with plans to convert to a hybrid 501c6/501c3 professional/charitable organization allowing us to more freely lobby and advocate in Harrisburg for our patients and our specialty. We will have our own lobbyist with an Advocacy Committee chaired by Paul Killian. If you are interested in participating in our advocacy activities, this would be a good time to enlist as we will developing our lobbying priorities for the year over the next few months. Please contact Rebecca Doctrow, our Executive Director, if interested in helping (Rebecca Doctrow I would expect much of the advocacy activities this year will be virtual although members of the legislature are meeting in person with their constituents in their hometowns. We will be joining the Coalition of State Rheumatology Societies (CSRO) who can provide additional advocacy resources and guidance. Additionally, we will partner again with the Arthritis Foundation, staff on the American College of Rheumatology’s Affiliate Society Council, and other Specialty Societies who have like-minded lobbying priorities in order to educate the legislative members on issues that affect our patients and our ability to provide care for our patients. Other Society activities include the award of scholarships for Advanced Practitioners to take ACR online courses designed to help train NPs and PAs. It is hoped we will be able to offer these scholarships every year, if it works out well, in an effort to encourage rheumatology practices to hire NPs and PAs. Access to a rheumatologist will only become more difficult in the future as more rheumatologists retire than are being trained. The utilization of advanced practitioner skillsets properly trained will help meet that need. Plans are already in the works for next year’s Annual Scientific Meeting. See Dr. Dunn’s update in this newsletter. This past year’s “virtual” meeting was well attended with over 100 registrants. Hopefully, we will meet in person next September. Wishing you and your family a safe winter.
Al Denio, MD
By Paul Killian, MD

I attended and represented PRS at the PAMED HOD meeting on Oct 24, 2020. This was the first ever virtual HOD. Amazingly, 278 delegates registered for the meeting, representing the largest number of delegates in several years. A multitude of resolutions were presented. These were either adopted or referred for further study. For those interested in a complete listing of the resolutions and final recommendations, they can be found at

The resolutions were grouped under broad categories, Public Health and Education, Health Care Legislation and Regulations, Practice Issues and Reimbursement and PAMED Membership and Bylaws. I would suggest that if you have a vested interest in any specific resolution that you go to the above mentioned website for details regarding a specific resolution as the details are beyond the scope of this newsletter. A partial list of the resolutions is below:

  • Racism as a public health issue was supported and a task force will work on educating physicians to recognize the effects of racism on health care.
  • Equitable access to health care and resources for patients with disabilities was supported.
  • Gender equity in medicine was supported to include equal employment opportunities, equal compensation and equal leadership roles.
  • Restrictive Covenants (non-compete clauses) was referred to the board of trustees for further study.
  • Covid-19 liability protections were recommended to PAMED in order that they may advocate for liability protection for independently practicing physicians.
  • Disparities in physician workforce was addressed and a PAMED task force will be assigned to best decide how to increase minority representation in the physician workforce.
  • Exclusive Contracting in Hospitals or closed medical staffs was referred for consideration and decision.
  • Data collection on health care workers who were directly affected by the pandemic and who contracted Covid-19 was supported.
  • The number of international medical graduates who are in the HOD was increased from one to thirteen.

You can find all of PAMED’s policies enacted by the House in the 2020-2021 PAMED policy compendium.
Courtney Stull, MD
FIT Representative

I am originally from Lancaster, PA. After medical school at Sidney Kimmel Medical College in Philadelphia, I completed internal medicine training at the University of Colorado, where I developed an interest in rheumatology. I am currently in rheumatology fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania and plan to stay in Pennsylvania to practice as a rheumatologist after completing training. I am particularly interested in rheumatology/dermatology overlap and have a research and clinical interest in psoriatic arthritis. I am also interested in the role of telemedicine in rheumatology and how technologic innovations can be used to optimize patient care and access to care. 
As a Fellow-In-Training (FIT) representative of PRS, I welcome the opportunity to connect with rheumatology practitioners across the state, to learn about issues relevant to rheumatology practice (clinical and nonclinical), and to serve as a bridge to help foster communication and connection between trainees and practicing rheumatologists at various stages of their careers.  
P. Daniel Nicholas III, DO
FIT Representative

I was born and raised in Berks County, Pennsylvania. I received my B.A. in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011, my M.S. in Medical Science from Drexel University College of Medicine in 2013, and my D.O. from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2017. Subsequently, I completed my Internal Medicine Residency at Reading Hospital / Tower Health in 2020, where I involved myself in medical education, quality improvement, and research, with numerous presentations and several publications.

Presently, I am a first-year fellow at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA, where I currently reside. In my free time, I enjoy reading and music, and remain close to my family, including my father, a Rheumatologist in private practice in Wyomissing, PA, my mother, a school nurse in the Fleetwood Area school district, and my brother, currently in residency for Ophthalmology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Membership in the Pennsylvania Rheumatology Society (PRS) has permitted me to deepen my understanding of our field and network directly with many excellent practitioners throughout the state.
Mitali Sen, MD
Early Career Representative

I completed my Medicine residency at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia followed by Rheumatology fellowship at Emory University, Atlanta before re-joining Einstein as faculty in the Division of Rheumatology in July, 2020.

I have a special interest in SLE, especially in understanding the disparities in presentation and challenges in management of lupus in the underserved communities of Philadelphia.

As an Early Career Representative for Pennsylvania Rheumatology Society, I will endeavor to engage with young rheumatologists across the state, from different practice settings to build a community that fosters a supportive environment for discussing challenging cases and voicing our concerns while identifying areas of improvement in providing the best care to our patients.
If you are interested in posting a job, please contact us at (717) 558-7750, extension 1599 or Postings are complimentary.
Ideas or suggestions for newsletter articles can be submitted to the PRS staff office, or by telephone, (833) 770-1549