Today, the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) is honored to recognize two leading lupus scientists for the significant impact they have made and continue to make in lupus research at the 2019 Evelyn V. Hess Reception, to be held this evening in Atlanta, GA during the 2019 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Scientific Meeting. This year, the LFA will present the Evelyn V. Hess Award to Judith James, MD, PhD, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) and the Mary Betty Stevens Young Investigator Prize to Candace Feldman, MD, MPH, ScD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Honoring Dr. James for Groundbreaking Work and Dedication to Lupus Research
The Evelyn V. Hess Award was established in 2006 and is given annually to recognize the exceptional contributions of a clinical or basic researcher whose body of work has advanced the understanding of the science of lupus treatment.
Dr. James, OMRF Vice President of Clinical Affairs, will be honored for her 25 years of accomplishments and contributions to the lupus research field. Her work has resulted in over 280 publications, and she has led or participated in over 25 clinical trials and has been awarded over 50 federally funded grant projects. One such project, conducted with the Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health funding, focused on assessing factors that have the potential to delay or prevent lupus onset in at-risk people. The study found that anti-malarial drugs could slow the accrual of new autoantibodies and progression of clinical lupus – laying the foundation for prevention trials in lupus and rheumatoid arthritis which are ongoing at OMRF and other locations. Dr. James is recognized as a leader in the translational science of lupus and a pioneer in understanding the causes and early events of the disease. She has led the Oklahoma Autoimmunity Center of Excellence (ACE) over the past three funding cycles and served as principal investigator of the Oklahoma Rheumatic Disease Research Cores Center and Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Resources.
“It’s an incredible honor to receive the Evelyn V. Hess Award from the Lupus Foundation of America which provided me with my first ever research funding in 1991 – and, I have been committed to understanding lupus and improving the lives of those with the disease ever since,” shared Dr. James. “Lupus remains a top ten cause of early mortality in women between the ages of 15 – 45, and I see these statistics in the faces of patients nearly every day. This inspires me to relentlessly pursue patient-oriented lupus research, so we can provide hope for future generations through new medications and better treatments.”
Recognizing the Significant Impact of Dr. Feldman’s Lupus Research
Established in 2009, the annual Mary Betty Stevens Young Investigator Prize recognizes the remarkable accomplishments of an investigator in the early stages of their lupus career and memorializes Dr. Stevens’ outstanding contributions to lupus research throughout her career.
Dr. Feldman, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is committed to studying lupus disparities, and improving health care access and outcomes for people with lupus as a social epidemiology researcher. She has conducted many seminal studies on incidence, risk factors, infections, renal disease, medication adherence and lupus care with a focus on vulnerable populations. As a young investigator in the lupus research field, her ongoing research has and will continue to make a significant impact on the lives of people with lupus.
“It is incredibly humbling to receive the Mary Betty Stevens Young Investigator Prize,” shared Dr. Feldman. “My patients inspire me every day and I am driven by the desire to make sure that all patients receive high quality, equitable care and access to the resources they need. There is so much left to be learned to improve the lives of people with lupus, and I am honored to be a part of the team of researchers working to do this.”