Division of Rheumatology

The Division of Rheumatology offers a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to the care of rheumatologic disorders and autoimmune conditions. These disorders may cause pain and inflammation of the skin, muscles, tendons, joints and bones, and include Lupus and Rheumatoid arthritis.  We provide compassionate care centered on the individual patient and educate patients on how to manage their condition. We coordinate partnerships with other hospital divisions, and conduct independent and collaborative research efforts aimed at increasing understanding and awareness of rheumatic diseases. 

Conditions We Treat

Our doctors diagnose and treat rheumatic disorders according to current standards and also offer patients access to innovative diagnostic tools, such as ultrasonography, which assist in the diagnosis and management of disease states in rheumatology.

The conditions we treat include:

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder which affects the body's cells and tissues, and may lead to skin rash, hair loss, joint pain, arthritis and/or kidney failure.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects flexible (synovial) joints, mainly involving the hands, and may result in a disabling and painful arthritis.


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition of the joints associated with loss of cartilage and can result in severe pain in multiple joints including the hands, knees, hips and back. 


Gout is characterized by recurrent attacks of inflammatory arthritis, resulting in warm, swollen and painful joints, especially of the feet.

Systemic sclerosis

Systemic sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder that results in thickening of the skin caused by the accumulation of collagen in the connective tissues.


Sarcoidosis involves abnormal collections of inflammatory cells that can cause nodules in the lungs and other organs. It may cause difficulty breathing, fatigue, and joint pain.

Seronegative Spondyloarthritis (SpA)

The SpA diseases, such as ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis and arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease, are autoimmune disorders which may lead to chronic back pain and decreased mobility of the spine. They may also be associated with eye inflammation.


Bursitis and tendinitis are caused by inflammation of one or more bursae (small sacs of synovial fluid) in the body, resulting in pain in the associated muscles and tendons.

Systemic vasculitis

Systemic vasculitis is a condition in which there is inflammation of arteries and other blood vessels and may present with severe headache, vision loss, fever and fatigue.

Sjögren's syndrome

Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder which results in severe dry mouth and dry eyes. It may be associated with arthralgias and fatigue.

Fibromyalgia/musculoskeletal pain

Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain throughout the body that affects joints and connective tissues.

Diagnostic Services

The Division of Rheumatology collaborates with other specialties at Howard University Hospital to improve disease outcomes in our patients with rheumatologic conditions. We offer procedures and interventions to help our patients maintain function and control pain while treating the underlying disease   

These include:

  • Corticosteroid injections to treat arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis and trigger finger.
  • Infusion therapy to treat systemic autoimmune disorders including rheumatoid arthritis lupus, and gout.
  • Ultrasonography to assist in the diagnosis and management of rheumatologic diseases.


Translational research at the Division of Rheumatology at Howard University Hospital is conducted by our faculty to benefit our patients.

Current research projects include:


The Ethnic Minority Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium (EMRAC), established in 2009, is the only database of its kind in the United States with information on over 1400 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. 

EMRAC enables our faculty to compare disease characteristics and response to therapy in different health care environments amongst ethnic subsets

EMRAC enrolls patients from national and international sites and provides a ready cohort of ethnic minority patients with validated disease for further studies.

Clinical Trials

The rheumatology division also participates in clinical trials and offers patients the opportunity to explore new therapies for lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.

Kenneth Austin Annual Rheumatology Symposium

Established in 2005, the Kenneth Austin Annual Rheumatology Symposium is the only rheumatology conference held by an academic institution in Washington, D.C. We educate health care providers on the standard of care management of rheumatic diseases.