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Dr. Betty Hsiao Receives Rheumatology Research Foundation’s Innovative Research Grant

October 28, 2022

Betty Hsiao, MD, assistant professor (rheumatology), has received a national award for her proposal, “Overcoming Barriers to Treat-to-Target in Rheumatoid Arthritis Using Tailored Patient Videos.” Hsiao plans to further her research into the discrepancies between how rheumatologists and their patients think about rheumatoid arthritis treatment, specifically the “treat-to-target” (TTT) strategy, which has low uptake in the U.S. To address this hesitancy, Hsiao aims to learn how to best implement videos of people with rheumatoid arthritis sharing their treatment experiences with other patients who are unsure about initiating or escalating medication use, that were developed in a previous study. “To effectively communicate the benefits associated with TTT, interventions must reflect in-depth understanding of the complex influences on patient decision making, such as culture, family, peers, media, and social group, as well as cognitive and emotional factors,” Hsiao said.

The Rheumatology Research Foundation’s Innovative Research Award encourages independent investigators to conduct novel studies that generate new insights into the cause, progression, treatment, and outcomes of rheumatic diseases. It is the largest private funding source for rheumatology research & training in the U.S.

Hsiao arrived at Yale Rheumatology for fellowship in 2015, then joined the faculty in 2018. She is interested in investigating how patients share their viewpoints and goals of care with their doctors in order to accomplish shared medical decision-making. Together with her mentor, Liana Fraenkel, MD, MPH, she is interested in how patients with rheumatoid arthritis make decisions about which medications to try when one medicine stops working or is not working adequately. Hsiao, who is completing a masters in health science degree, enjoys teaching medical students, residents, and fellows.

Hsiao is the second Yale Rheumatology faculty to receive the award in the past two years. In 2021, Insoo Kang, MD, professor of medicine (rheumatology) received the Innovative Research Award for his investigations into the role of innate immunity in neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus (NPSLE) using human brain organoids. Kang proposed using human cortical (brain) organoids derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSC) to develop a model system for studies on human NPSLE in collaboration with In-Hyun Park, PhD, associate professor of genetics in the Department of Genetics and Stem Cell Center at Yale School of Medicine. Together, their goal is to investigate the effects of lupus immune complex-driven inflammation on neuronal cells.

The Section of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology is dedicated to providing care for patients with rheumatic, allergic and immunologic disorders; educating future generations of thought leaders in the field; and conducting research into fundamental questions of autoimmunity and immunology. To learn more about their work, visit Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology.

Submitted by Jane E. Dee on October 28, 2022