The Division, Past and Present
In the late 1950s, the late Dr. Ralph Jacox, a member of the Department of Medicine at the University of Rochester, formed the Arthritis Unit. Dr. John Vaughan was then recruited from Harvard to found the Clinical Immunology Unit. Dr. Vaughan's program included clinical allergy, systemic autoimmune diseases, dysproteinemias and primary immune deficiencies. His research interests were in rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatoid factor and he was president of both the Academy of Allergy and the American Rheumatism Association (now the American College of Rheumatology). This combination of clinicians led to a unique relationship between the two Units with clinical cross overs between the two units, joint clinical and research conferences, and collaborative research projects through the years. In 1984, under the tenure of Dr. John Leddy, the Clinical Allergy/Immunology Unit and the Rheumatology Unit combined to form the Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology (AIR) Division. From 1996 to 2012 the division was under the direction of Ignacio Sanz, M.D. It was during this time that the Medical Center became one of nine NIH Autoimmune Centers of Excellence (ACE). Dr. Sanz led Rochester’s ACE as well as its Center for Biodefense of Immunocompromised Populatons. Currently, the division is under the direction of Christopher Ritchlin, M.D., MPH. It is comprised of eleven full-time faculty, two Emeritus faculty, ten clinical associated faculty, clinical fellows, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students and a miriad of administrative, clinical and research support staff. The division provides adult and pediatric Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology ambulatory and in-patient care, complete with musculoskeletal ultrasound, and an infusion center. Division faculty and fellows participate in the education of medical students as well as internal medicine, med/peds and physical medicine and rehabilitation residents. The division has accredited fellowship programs in both Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology as well as one of the few opportunities in the country for combined training in Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology. The cutting edge research in the division ranges from B cell, T cell and vaccine biology to translational research to clinical trials.