Dr. Polly Ferguson (Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology) was awarded with the American College of Rheumatology’s (ACR) Distinguished Service Award during the 2019 ACR/ARP Annual Meeting in Atlanta. The award reflects her outstanding contributions to the advancement of rheumatology.
The ACR recognizes leading researchers, clinicians, mentors,
and other professionals exhibiting superior commitment to the advancement of
the field of rheumatology with the Awards of Distinction honors. The
Distinguished Service Award is awarded to an ACR member for outstanding and
sustained service to the ACR.
The ACR Distinguished Service Award is presented to Polly Ferguson, MD, the Marjorie K. Lamb Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Iowa (UIowa).
Dr. Ferguson strongly believes in the ACR’s mission for a
multitude of reasons. She says the organization provides those in academic
medicine with opportunities to advance their career, advocates for patients and
providers on a governmental level to ensure needed care is delivered, and leads
clinicians, researchers, and practitioners in the rheumatology field. That’s
why it was easy, she says, to volunteer for numerous committees over the years.
She has served on at least eight different committees, including the
Pediatric Rheumatology Section Executive Committee, the Committee on Research,
the Abstract Review Committee, the Abstract Oversight Committee, a research
sub-committee of the Government Affairs Committee, the Committee on Nominations
and Appointments (ACR), the Committee on Membership and Nominations, the JIA Treatment Guideline Development
Group, and chaired the Pediatric
Rheumatology Special Committee.
Not to mention her current service as a member of the NIH/NIAID Board of
Scientific Counselors, the Arthritis Foundation Medical and Scientific Advisory
Committee, and the American Board of Pediatrics Rheumatology sub-board.
Dr. Ferguson received her medical degree from the Roy J.
and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine at UIowa in 1990. During the
next decade, she completed her
training at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville,
which included her pediatric residency, pediatric rheumatology and immunology fellowship,
and a postdoctoral research fellowship.
Then in 2000, she served for two
years as an assistant professor of Pediatrics at the University of Alabama at
Birmingham. But in 2002, she returned to UIowa where she now serves as the director
of Pediatric Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at the Stead
Family Department of Pediatrics at UIowa.
Her current NIH-funded research focuses on uncovering the genetic and
immunologic basis of autoinflammatory disease, particularly those that affect
the bone, and understanding the role of inflammation in neurologic
disease. She has identified several
genes that cause sterile osteomyelitis and has translated findings into
effective treatment. Her work has been cited in medical journals more than 5,000
Meanwhile, she has mentored many undergraduate, graduate, post-doctoral
fellows and junior faculty from UIowa and other schools. She also serves as the
training director of the school’s Department of Pediatrics K12 Child Health
Research Career Development Award (CHRCDA) Program.
“What means the most to me about
this award is that that my peers thought to nominate me when there are so many
other outstanding volunteers, and that they value what I’ve done,” says Dr.
Ferguson. “It’s a very humbling experience.”