Cultivating a New Generation of Rheumatologists 

A shortage of rheumatologists makes it hard for people with arthritis to get needed care. The Arthritis Foundation is committed to increasing the number of specialists, and supporting the training of a diverse generation of rheumatologists through our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Our ultimate goal is to improve health outcomes for adult and pediatric patients living with arthritis.  

Over the past few decades, the Arthritis Foundation and the arthritis community have made enormous strides in helping patients. Today, however, there aren’t enough rheumatologists available to diagnose, treat and dispense drugs to the people who need them. And unless something is done, the problem will only get worse. 

The Arthritis Foundation’s fellowship initiative is part of the Foundation’s strategy to ensure access to medical care for the nearly 60 million Americans living with doctor-diagnosed arthritis. 

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) cautions about the insufficient number of rheumatologists (both adult and pediatric) available to serve the increasing patient population. This growing shortage is expected to increase, creating more barriers to care; subsequently, worsening disease outcomes, negatively impacting quality of life, decreasing productivity and increasing mortality rates. Without immediate efforts, we will have 43% fewer adult rheumatologists and 50% fewer pediatric rheumatologists than are needed to meet patient needs. 

Be Part of It: Cultivating New Rheumatologists 

See how we're aiming to address the growing shortage of arthritis specialists, especially in underserved parts of the country. 

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent or minimize the uncontrolled inflammation that can lead to joint damage and even disability. Patients must have access to rheumatologists within recommended timeframes, yet geography affects how quickly a patient can be seen. Outside of major metropolitan areas and specific regions, the number available thins, sometimes to zero. This shortage also adds to the costs incurred by patients - not only do they pay for direct health care costs; they also pay for travel and time away from school and work. 

To close this gap, we are leading the way by expanding the number of fellowship opportunities for rheumatologists, focusing on communities with the most significant shortages. Our patient-centered approach allows doctors to get to know their community and what their patients really need, including Foundation resources that can help them. 

While diagnostics and therapeutics have improved for many people living with rheumatic disease in the US, racial/ethnic as well as socioeconomic status disparities continue to negatively impact patient outcomes. In 2021, the Foundation launched a DEI-focused grant program to address disparities in patient care and outcomes of rheumatic diseases, and attract underrepresented minority medical students and residents to rheumatology.

Please visit this page for active Request for Proposals (RFPs):

DEI Awards

Award Year: 2021

  1. Research: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  2. Research: University of California, San Francisco
  3. Research: University of California, Los Angeles
  4. Research: Indiana University
  5. Curriculum Development: Duke University
  6. Curriculum Development: Indiana University

Fellowship Awards

Award Year: 2022

  1. Combined Adult-Pediatrics – Duke University
  2. Adult – University of California, San Francisco (Renewal)
  3. PEDS – Baylor College of Medicine
  4. PEDS – University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (Renewal)

Award Year: 2021

  1. PEDS – Hackensack University Medical Center
  2. Adult – University of Colorado, Denver
  3. PEDS – University of Alabama at Birmingham
  4. Combined Adult-Pediatrics – Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia 

Award Year: 2020

  1. PEDS – Children’s Hospital Colorado (University of Colorado, Denver)
  2. PEDS – Duke University
  3. PEDS – University of Florida
  4. PEDS – Seattle Children’s Hospital (University of Washington)
  5. PEDS – University of California, San Francisco

Award Year: 2019

  1. Adult – University of Arizona
  2. PEDS – University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
  3. Adult – State University of New York Downstate Medical Center
  4. PEDS – Vanderbilt Children's Hospital/Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Award Year: 2018

  1. PEDS – Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health 
  2. Adult – University of Washington   
  3. PEDS – University of California, Los Angeles
  4. Adult – The University of Alabama at Birmingham
  5. Adult – University of California, San Francisco

Legacy Awards

  1. PEDS – Stanford University
  2. PEDS – University of California, San Francisco

“I sought a career that would combine my desire to create long-lasting patient relationships, manage complex chronic disease, and use my clinical and diagnostic skills to serve a unique patient population in need. Thanks to the Arthritis Foundation’s Charles F. and Marilyn Meier Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship fund award, I found all of this and more through pediatric rheumatology and am thrilled to be at the beginning of my clinical and research training in this rich field.” -- Dr. William D. Soulsby III, UCSF 2019-2020 fellow


By giving us 10 minutes, you become part of a force that will change the lives of the almost 60 million people with arthritis. Your voice matters.

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  • Volunteer


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  • Live Yes! INSIGHTS

    Live Yes! INSIGHTS

    Take part to be among those changing lives today and changing the future of arthritis.

  • Partner


    Proud Partners of the Arthritis Foundation make an annual commitment to directly support the Foundation’s mission.


Ways to Give

Every gift to the Arthritis Foundation will help people with arthritis across the U.S. live their best life. Whether it is supporting cutting-edge research, 24/7 access to one-on-one support, resources and tools for daily living, and more, your gift will be life-changing.

Make a Donation

Help millions of people live with less pain and fund groundbreaking research to discover a cure for this devastating disease. Please, make your urgently-needed donation to the Arthritis Foundation now!

Become a Member

Become an Arthritis Foundation member today for just $20 and you'll receive access to helpful tools..... and more. 

Make a Honor or Memorial Gift

Honor a loved one with a meaningful donation to the Arthritis Foundation. We'll send a handwritten card to the honoree or their family notifying them of your thoughtful gift.

Gift Planning

I want information on ways to remember the AF in my will, trust or other financial planning vehicles.


Volunteer Opportunities

The Arthritis Foundation is focused on finding a cure and championing the fight against arthritis with life-changing information, advocacy, science and community. We can only achieve these goals with your help. Strong, outspoken and engaged volunteers will help us conquer arthritis. By getting involved, you become a leader in our organization and help make a difference in the lives of millions. Join us and become a Champion of Yes.

Become a Volunteer

More About Volunteering


Give Just 10 Minutes.

Tell us what matters most to you. Change the future of arthritis.

By taking part in the Live Yes! INSIGHTS assessment, you’ll be among those changing lives today and changing the future of arthritis, for yourself and for 54 million others. And all it takes is just 10 minutes.

Your shared experiences will help:

- Lead to more effective treatments and outcomes
- Develop programs to meet the needs of you and your community
- Shape a powerful agenda that fights for you

Now is the time to make your voice count, for yourself and the entire arthritis community. 

Currently this program is for the adult arthritis community.  Since the needs of the juvenile arthritis (JA) community are unique, we are currently working with experts to develop a customized experience for JA families. 

How are you changing the future?

By sharing your experience, you’re showing decision-makers the realities of living with arthritis, paving the way for change. You’re helping break down barriers to care, inform research and create resources that make a difference in people’s lives, including your own.

Get Started


Meet Our Partners

As a partner, you will help the Arthritis Foundation provide life-changing resources, science, advocacy and community connections for people with arthritis, the nations leading cause of disability. Join us today and help lead the way as a Champion of Yes.


Our Trailblazers are committed partners ready to lead the way, take action and fight for everyday victories. They contribute $2,000,000 to $2,749,000


Our Visionary partners help us plan for a future that includes a cure for arthritis. These inspired and inventive champions have contributed $1,500,00 to $1,999,999.


Our Pioneers are always ready to explore and find new weapons in the fight against arthritis. They contribute $1,000,000 to $1,499,999.


Our Pacesetters ensure that we can chart the course for a cure for those who live with arthritis. They contribute $500,000 to $999,000.


Our Signature partners make their mark by helping us identify new and meaningful resources for people with arthritis. They contribute $250,000 to $499,999.


Our Supporting partners are active champions who provide encouragement and assistance to the arthritis community. They contribute $100,000 to $249,999.