Columbia University Irving Medical Center Creating Dedicated Vasculitis Center

Daniel DeMizio, MD, developed a passion for treating vasculitis early on in his career. He was taking care of a critically ill patient with vasculitis during the first month of his fellowship at New York-Presbyterian Hospital when he recognized that this family of diseases encompassed all that had initially drawn him to rheumatology.

“Affecting nearly every organ in the body in potentially dramatic ways, and requiring multidisciplinary collaboration to best treat a patient, vasculitis quickly became the most rewarding group of diseases for me to manage,” Dr. DeMizio said.

This summer, Dr. DeMizio joined Columbia University as an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, following completion of his rheumatology fellowship in June. “Our program boasts several successful specialized centers for the management of complex rheumatologic diseases including inflammatory arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, and spondyloarthritis, but has historically lacked such a center for the management of patients with vasculitis,” he explained.

Dr. DeMizio hopes to fill this void, and is building a practice focused on providing comprehensive and compassionate care for vasculitis patients. The New York area has an enormous population, and vasculitis patients comprise a significant percentage of the inpatient rheumatology consultations at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, he said.

His ultimate goal is to create a formalized center for vasculitis patients, helping them maintain their quality of life through individualized care, access to standard and investigational treatments, and collaboration with specialists from dermatology, nephrology, neurology, gastroenterology, and pulmonology. His own clinic began accepting patients July 1, and a dedicated vasculitis center at Columbia, for which he will serve as director, is slated for January 2021.

When the new vasculitis center opens, patients can expect a compassionate approach to care. “A diagnosis of vasculitis can be an earth-shattering, life-altering event for a patient and their family,” Dr. DeMizio said. “While I cannot precisely put myself in their shoes, I can appreciate how scary and uncertain things may seem given their illness. Ultimately, I hope to forge trusting and positive relationships with patients seen at our center.”

In addition, through participation and engagement with the Vasculitis Foundation and the Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium, Dr. DeMizio hopes there will be opportunities for patients at Columbia’s vasculitis center to take part in research studies.

During the initial visit to the vasculitis center, patients will receive a comprehensive evaluation. Dr. DeMizio’s first objective will be to get to know his patients—not only their medical history, prior diagnostics, and treatments—but their goals and what is important to them. After careful evaluation of their case, there may be additional diagnostics such as lab work, imaging studies, and referral to other specialists on the medical care team. Patients can access Columbia’s vasculitis clinic with or without a referral from their doctor.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. DeMizio as our newest faculty member,” said Joan Bathon, MD, Director of Columbia University’s Division of Rheumatology. “His outstanding skills as a clinician and passion for treating vasculitis made him our number one choice for kick-starting a multidisciplinary specialty center in vasculitis at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.”

Author: Nina Silberstein