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Division of Rheumatology

The Division of Rheumatology in the Department of Internal Medicine improves people’s lives through innovation in patient-centered care, education and immunology and rheumatology research. The division team works together to redesign the future of rheumatology by creating, disseminating and applying new knowledge and by personalizing health care to meet the needs of each individual.

The division’s multidisciplinary Rheumatology Clinic at UT Health Austin collaborates with CommUnity CareAustin VA ClinicDell Seton Medical Center and Ascension Seton.

Education

Kevin Hackshaw, M.D.; Veena Patel, M.D.; and Samantha Shapiro, M.D., lead the education efforts for the division.

Shapiro and Patel are both increasingly involved in medical student and resident education. Shapiro has established the first approved rheumatology rotation for post-graduate trainees, while Patel is involved in key divisional quality improvement programs. Additionally, Hackshaw brings a wealth of experience in teaching medical students, residents, graduate students and rheumatology fellows and enhances the teaching and education mission for the division.

Clinical Programs

The division provides clinical activities at three sites: CommUnity Care clinics servicing Travis County, Dell Seton rheumatology clinics and UT Health Austin. Clinical staff also provide rheumatologic coverage for other Ascension Seton hospitals throughout the Austin-Travis County region. The division is committed to meeting the expanding clinical needs of the region and integrating patients as they are interested in the division’s growing research programs.

Research

Kevin Hackshaw, M.D., brings his career of basic, clinical and translational research to the Division of Rheumatology. His research interests are in the discovery of biomarkers for fibromyalgia and other central sensitivity syndromes.

While The Ohio State University, Hackshaw and his collaborators discovered a new, reliable way to detect fibromyalgia in blood samples, leading the way to quickly identify a disease that’s often misdiagnosed. The team found clear reproducible metabolic patterns in the blood of dozens of patients with fibromyalgia. This brought the field closer to a blood test than it has ever been.

Hackshaw now continues this high-impact research here at UT Austin. Currently, he is recruiting patients for his R61/33 National Institutes of Health–supported study of biomarker discovery for fibromyalgia. He maintains a fibromyalgia-specific clinic at UT Health Austin in addition to seeing the full spectrum of other rheumatologic conditions.

Hackshaw expects to develop collaborations with other physician-scientists with similar interests in the Department of Internal Medicine as well as the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesDepartment of Neurology and collaborator-investigators at The University of Texas at Austin.