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History

The Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology Division at the University of Rochester began in the late 1950s as two separate units, a Clinical Rheumatology Unit founded by Dr. Ralph Jacox, who was a member of the Department of Medicine at the University of Rochester, and a Clinical Immunology Unit founded by Dr. John Vaughn, who was recruited from Harvard. 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). The Rheumatology Unit was noted for its outstanding clinician-teacher-scholars, with Dr. Jacox being instrumental in the development of the diagnostic criteria for rheumatoid arthritis and Dr. Baum in the classification criteria for Juvenile Inflammatory Arthritis. This combination of clinicians led to a unique relationship between the two Units with clinical crossovers 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 Populations. Currently, the division is under the direction of Christopher Ritchlin, M.D., MPH.

hand Xray  Staff looking into microscope  Examining patient