Professor appointed to key role to improve treatment for rheumatic conditions

Dr Karim Raza, Institute of Inflammation and Ageing

A professor at the University of Birmingham has been appointed to a key role focusing on developing research to improve treatment and outcomes for patients with arthritis.  

Karim Raza, Professor of Clinical Rheumatology at the University of Birmingham, has been appointed as Arthritis Research UK’s Chair of Rheumatology in Birmingham and will play a pivotal role in the treatment of patients with inflammatory rheumatic conditions.

Professor Raza, who is also an honorary consultant at Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “It is an honour and a privilege to have been appointed to this role, which will help develop our understanding of the causes and approaches to management of inflammatory arthritis, while also ensuring world-leading teaching and training for medical students and staff.

“I am looking forward to furthering research excellence already achieved at the University of Birmingham as we continue to develop a research programme that will lead to new and improved treatments for those who suffer from rheumatic conditions.”

Through his new role, Professor Raza will also help to shape the future of rheumatological services by providing a voice of authority to Government and health bodies.

Stephen Simpson, Director of Research and Programmes at Arthritis Research UK, said: “We’re delighted that Professor Karim Raza has been appointed to the position of Arthritis Research UK’s Chair of Rheumatology, supported by one of the charity’s long standing endowments.

“Professor Raza has a tremendous track record in this field and his work in the area of rheumatoid arthritis, from working to understand the mechanisms involved in this condition, to trying to improve outcomes for people newly diagnosed with the condition.  

“We have no doubt he will do an excellent job in furthering the ground-breaking work carried out by the University of Birmingham and acting as an authority in rheumatology.”

Professor Raza’s research to date has focussed on early rheumatoid arthritis, addressing pathogenic mechanisms, biomarker development and strategies to enhance clinical outcomes for patients with a new onset of disease. 

He established the Birmingham Early Arthritis Cohort (BEACON) in 2000 and now directs it jointly across two NHS Trusts with Dr Andrew Filer. BEACON has been key to the Birmingham group being awarded Arthritis Research UK Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre status and the Arthritis Research UK Centre of Excellence in the Pathogenesis of Rheumatoid Arthritis in collaboration with the Universities of Glasgow and Newcastle.

Professor Raza is currently Director of Research and Development at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust and co-chair of the European League Against Rheumatism’s study group for risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis. He is an active proponent of patient and public involvement in research and has coordinated the establishment of the Birmingham Rheumatology Patient Research Partnership.

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