Clinical Epidemiology Program

The Clinical Epidemiology Program conducts research related to allergic and rheumatologic diseases using clinical research methods that include advanced informatics, clinical epidemiology, primary data collection, and simulation science.

Overview

The Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology's Clinical Epidemiology Program is located within the Mass General Department of Medicine's Mongan Institute.  Our researchers perform research related to allergic and rheumatologic diseases using clinical research methods that include advanced informatics, clinical epidemiology, primary data collection, and simulation science.  Our group includes faculty members, as well as trainees, research assistants and data analysts.  Our team has multi-disciplinary and far-reaching collaborations that have led to scientific advancements, as well as high impact, highly cited publications in JAMA, BMJ and others.

Directors

Hyon K. Choi, MD, DrPH, Director, Rheumatology

Dr. Choi is a rheumatologist and epidemiologist at Mass General specializing in advanced clinical research methods.  He is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  His research, which has been funded by the NIH, industry and foundations, has focused on the application of advanced epidemiologic methods in studying core issues of rheumatic disorders ranging from common disorders (gout or rheumatoid arthritis) to rare but serious disorders, which have included allopurinol SCAR.  Dr. Choi is currently funded by multiple NIH/NIAMS grants, as well as the Rheumatology Research Foundation and industry.

One of Dr. Choi's NIH grants studies the impact of cardiovascular and weight loss diets on uric acid and gout risk, which simultaneously investigates multiple candidate diets in gout using a highly cost-effective study design.  The significance of Dr. Choi's contributions have been widely accepted by the field and his findings have been referenced by many articles, as well as by the recent guidelines from the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) and the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).  His clinical and epidemiologic research has provided state-of-the-art evidence to inform the gout field, which is needed to move its guidelines from expert-consensus to an evidence-based approach.

Kimberly G. Blumenthal, MD, MSc, Director, Allergy

Dr. Blumenthal is an allergist and drug allergy researcher at Mass General and is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  She has led several clinical studies in drug allergy and has authored over 40 publications in allergy and immunology.  Dr. Blumenthal is nationally recognized as a drug allergy expert whose research addresses issues critical to the care of patients with infectious diseases.  Her work uses clinical epidemiology, informatics, decision science and implementation science.  Her research has been in NEJM Journal Watch, impacted guidelines (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the United Kingdom), and covered by lay press (CBS News, Washington Post).

Dr. Blumenthal's active grants include an NIH/NIAID K01 for her research on the clinical and economic impact of penicillin allergy, which focuses on allergic reactions to penicillin and related antibiotics to further our knowledge of the frequency and impact of these drug allergies on patient outcomes and cost of care.  In 2016, she was selected as the recipient of a Mass General Department of Medicine's Innovation Grant for her work on mobile health and allergy documentation.  Dr. Blumenthal was also awarded the AAAAI Foundation and Dr. Phillip Lieberman Faculty Development Award and Mass General's Claflin Distinguished Scholar Award.

 

Faculty

Yuqing Zhang, DSc (Rheumatology)

Dr. Zhang is the Director of Epidemiological and Biostatistical Methods in Rheumatology at Mass General and a Professor in Residence in Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  He is a senior epidemiologist with expertise in study design and statistical analysis, and has mentored both MD and PhD trainees and junior faculty for over 30 years.  Over the past several years he has applied causal inference theory to clarify the paradoxical phenomenon in observational studies of risk factors for progression and sequelae of musculoskeletal diseases and developed a novel approach of online case-crossover study to examine triggers for disease flare.

Zachary S. Wallace, MD, MSc (Rheumatology)

Dr. Wallace is a rheumatologist and clinical epidemiology researcher at Mass General and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  His areas of clinical and research expertise include ANCA-associated vasculitis and IgG4-related disease.  He is a member of the Center for IgG4-related Disease, as well as the Vasculitis and Glomerulonephritis Center at Mass General.  Broadly, he is interested in improving long-term outcomes in multi-organ rheumatic diseases.  Dr. Wallace's current research is focused on identifying modifiable risk factors for these diseases and their complications (cardiovascular disease, renal disease and death).  He is currently funded by an NIH/NIAMS K23 grant for his work on the impact of ANCA type and rituximab vs. cyclophosphamide on cardiovascular risk, mortality, and quality-adjusted life years in ANCA-associated vasculitis, which applies advanced clinical epidemiology and simulation modeling to understand how ANCA type and induction treatment strategies impact long-term patient-oriented outcomes with the expectation that this knowledge will impact management decisions. He is also an investigator for IgG4-RD clinical trials and has developed outcome measures for use in these clinical trials.  Dr. Wallace's research has also been funded by the Rheumatology Research Foundation and MGH Executive Committee on Research.

Aleena Banerji, MD (Allergy)

Dr. Banerji is Director of the Drug Allergy Program and Training Program Director of the Allergy/immunology fellowship program at Mass General and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  Her clinical and research interests include drug allergy and angioedema.  Dr. Banerji built a formal drug allergy program in Mass General's outpatient allergy clinic to better manage patients with drug hypersensitivity reactions.  As part of this program, she collects standardized data on all patients evaluated for drug allergy in order to identify risk factors for true hypersensitivity and improve drug allergy diagnosis with skin testing and challenges.  In 2013, she was invited to participate in an NIH workshop geared towards developing a prioritized research agenda on drug allergy, and a summary was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.  As an angioedema expert, Dr. Banerji has collaborated with industry on five novel agents for hereditary angioedema and has published over 25 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and national as well as international guidelines for the management of angioedema.

Carlos A. Camargo, MD, DrPH (Allergy)

Dr. Camargo is the Conn Chair in Emergency Medicine at Mass General, a Professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  He is founder/chief of the Emergency Medicine Network (EMNet), a multi-disciplinary collaboration that aims to advance public health through diverse projects in emergency care, particularly multi-center clinical research.  In 2016, he was honored with the American College of Emergency Physician's Outstanding Contribution in Research Award.  Dr. Camargo's research focuses on infant specific-IgE, rhinovirus-C bronchiolitis and incident asthma in MARC-35, which aims to understand the relation between two infant factors and the development of asthma.  He also studies nasal microRNA and the risk of childhood asthma, airway microbiome and risk of childhood asthma, and hospital readmissions after COPD hospitalization.  He has an international reputation in respiratory/allergy emergencies, health effects of vitamin D, health services research in emergency care, and a variety of public health issues.  Dr. Carmargo has served as President of the American College of Epidemiology and has been appointed to several committees devoted to establishing national guidelines for diet, asthma and food allergy.

 

Group Members

April Jorge, MD, Assistant in Medicine (Rheumatology)

Neelam Phadke, MD, Graduate Assistant in Medicine (Allergy)

Lacey Robinson, MD, Graduate Assistant in Medicine (Allergy)

Jie Wei, PhD, Research Fellow (Rheumatology)

Chio Yokose, MD, Graduate Assistant in Medicine (Rheumatology)

Chao Zeng, MD, PhD, Research Fellow (Rheumatology)

Staff

Serena Fu, Data Analyst

Tyler Harkness, Research Assistant

Christian Mancini, Research Assistant

 

 

 

 

 

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