Mary K. Crow
CHICAGO — “My overwhelming reaction is gratitude for experiences that are meaningful in so many ways,” Mary K. Crow, MD, MACR, 2018 Recipient of the ACR Presidential Gold Medal, said here at the ACR/ARHP 2018 Annual Meeting.
“Our core mission is the lives of patients with rheumatic disease. I find it ironic yet satisfying that in this #MeToo era when the autonomy and status of women is the focus of controversy that rheumatologists specialize in diseases that impact up to 10 times more women than men,” Crow said. “We are proud that we prioritize diseases that especially affect women including many from minority groups, many of whom are disadvantaged by their socioeconomic situation.”
Crow, who is the physician-in-chief and chair of the department of medicine at Hospital for Special Surgery and chief of the Division of Rheumatology at HSS and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, mentioned two influential people changed her view of life – neither of whom she met and yet, she said “there is something about their style of thinking and observation about the world that inspired me to develop the passion and even a compulsion to understand the deeper workings of biology and disease.”
She said Maria de Sousa, MD, “had a talent for communicating the emerging science of immune regulation in a vivid and compelling way. I was struck by her description of the immune system that was very reminiscent of our relationships to our family and how we move through the phases of our lives – connecting, disconnecting, influencing, moving from one environment to the next with sometimes profound consequences for ourselves and others.”
The second profound influence was Barbara McClintock, PhD, an American scientist and cytogeneticist who was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize for her discovery of transposable elements.
“What was so compelling about Barbara McClintock’s research was that she drew her conclusions based on careful observation but also from her imagination,” Crow said. “She was able to unravel a fundamental lesson of biology – that we are connected with other life forms in a very intimate and impactful way.”
“Perhaps we can relate to Barbara McClintock when we see a patient with a unique complex of symptoms … and we are called on to interpret that incomplete information in order to diagnosis and effectively manage that patient.”
The Presidential Gold Medal is the highest award the ACR bestows and is funded by the Rheumatology Research Foundation. – by Joan-Marie Stiglich, ELS
Crow MK. Opening Lecture and Awards. Presented at ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting, Oct. 20-24, 2018; Chicago.