Change Maker Recognition

A rheumatology change maker is anyone in the field of rheumatology working to start or support an initiative or intervention, bring a program or idea to reality, or improve the quality of life of a group or community: A true leader, an inspired visionary, or front-line professional willing to do whatever it takes to keep things going. The ACR and ARP want to recognize these heroes of rheumatology through the new Rheumatology Change Maker program.

You can nominate a peer, colleague, mentor, or anyone in the field of rheumatology who has gone above and beyond what is expected. Learn more about eligibility and the nomination process and recognize a Rheumatology Change Maker today.


Rheumatology Change Makers

Milena Vukelic, MDMilena Vukelic, MD
Jacobi Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Dr. Vukelic is a Rheumatology Change Maker because she is a Harvard-trained rheumatologist who provides premier care to the vulnerable uninsured and undocumented population of the Bronx in New York. She is social entrepreneur, who through her work expands access to treatment for all patients in need. Dr. Vukelic is busy mother of two young girls and volunteers her free time to ACR advocacy.
- Djordje Milanovic, Patient

Dr. Vukelic is the most caring physician scientist who works in underserved area in Bronx, NY providing care to the uninsured and undocumented patient population. Dr. Vukelic is dedicated to improving access and care to all rheumatology patients and generously dedicates her free time to volunteering for the American College of Rheumatology and served on Education Committee.
-Sasa Vukelic, Colleague

Kathleen ArnstenKathleen Arnsten
Lupus and Allied Disease Association, Inc.

Kathleen has fought tenaciously to ensure that the patient voice is included as an equal stakeholder in the healthcare, regulatory and public policy, and research arenas. She served as the Lupus Patient Representative at the FDA for eight years and was the initiator and a driving force behind the Lupus Patient Focused Drug Development (PFDD) Initiative. She currently serves as the volunteer President & CEO of Lupus and Allied Diseases Association and has selflessly shared her time, passion, and expertise as a diplomatic leader and patient advocate for the lupus and rheumatology communities for over thirty-four years.
- Sandra Frear, Colleague

Julie BaakJulie Baak
Arthritis Center

Julie Baak is a fierce patient advocate and will not take 'no' for an answer when it comes to getting her patients on therapy. She has been successful at overturning mandates to Pharmacy Benefit Managers from every Payer, she has been a speaker at NORM and CSRO and has authored several advocacy pieces for NICA and Patients Rising. A quick wit and a sharp pen, she is nimble and gets results.
- Amanda Graf, Colleague

Diane Kamen, MD, MSCRDiane Kamen, MD, MSCR
Medical University of South Carolina

Dr. Diane Kamen is an exemplary researcher and mentor, working to improve the lives of patients with lupus. She helped start the Lupus Patient Education Event at MUSC (Medical University of South Carolina), which is an event that continues today. This patient education event has been ongoing at MUSC from 2011 to 2020 under the leadership of Dr. Diane Kamen.
- Mithu Maheswaranathan, Colleague

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