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Ya Ju Chang, MD
Harry D. Fischer, MD; Chief
Erin Patton, MD

To Make An Appointment: Click the physician's name above for
contact information.

The group known as "rheumatic diseases" is a varied array of conditions that affects the body's joints and connective tissues. Many of these diseases have an "autoimmune" element, meaning that the body attacks its own tissue, and is typically to blame for the musculoskeletal swelling, distortion and inflammation associated with rheumatic diseases.

Renowned expertise
If you need a rheumatologist in Manhattan or the New York City area, Beth Israel's rheumatologists specialize in all rheumatic diseases, including gout, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and Lyme Disease, and have extensive experience in:

  • Osteoporosis. In this disease, bones become fragile and more likely to break, causing pain, disability and deformity. Affecting mostly postmenopausal women, osteoporosis is treated via diet, exercise and/or drug therapies. Prevention and research are key components of the department's program, with public screenings and patient education playing important roles. Research is also essential. Beth Israel has been a site for several large national osteoporosis studies, including the "Women's Health Initiative." Beth Israel offers an exercise class, Bone Builders, for people with or at risk for osteoporosis. To learn more about the program click here.
  • Vasculitis. This set of autoimmune diseases is characterized by inflamed blood vessels. Vasculitis can have severe symptoms and can be life threatening. The department's rheumatologists are recognized as leaders in the treatment of vasculitis in Manhattan and the New York City region. Beth Israel is one of only eight centers nationwide selected for participation in a prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical trial in vasculitis.
  • Systemic lupus. This autoimmune disease, which often affects young women, has symptoms that vary from joint pain and skin conditions to possible neurological and kidney malfunction. Quality of life can be improved with proper therapies and medical management.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. One of two main types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis can affect younger people as well as older adults with inflammation and pain in the hands, arms, legs and feet. Advances in treatment have enhanced the quality of life for patients.
  • Scleroderma. The name for this disease means "hard skin," which describes thickening and tightening of the skin. Scleroderma can also affect the musculoskeletal system and internal organs. Recently, Beth Israel's rheumatologists were selected as the only New York area hospital to participate in a multi-center NIH-funded clinical trial of a new therapy in scleroderma.

Management and investigation
Because many rheumatic conditions are chronic, affect multi-organ systems and have no cure, much of what the department does centers around the medical management of these complex diseases. At the core of a multidisciplinary team of orthopedic surgeons, orthopedic physiatrists, physical therapists and other physicians, rheumatologists seek to provide their patients with symptom relief, pain management and a slowing of disease progression.

Research is integral to the department's work. Beth Israel rheumatologists in New York City consistently study and publish in their field, seeking to discover both more effective treatment and a deeper understanding of the sometimes mysterious diseases they specialize in.

For a referral to a Beth Israel rheumatologist, call our Physician Referral Service at

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