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Providing Answers, Support and Hope in Missouri, Southern Illinois, & Eastern Kansas
This is my chapter   |   

Join us for this webinar focused on helping YOU live well with lupus
Saturday, May 22, 2021
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Meet Our Presenters

Donald E. Thomas, Jr., M.D., FACP, FACR

Dr. Thomas is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland where he enjoys teaching fellows about lupus at the Walter Reed National Medical Center. He is in private practice at Arthritis and Pain of Prince George’s County, Maryland. Dr. Thomas authored the Lupus Foundation of America Seal of Approval stamped book " The Lupus Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients and Families” and has been a Lupus Foundation of America Hero Award Recipient. He also writes a lupus educational blog and a Facebook page called “The Lupus Encyclopedia” where has close to 22,000 followers world-wide. 

Alfred H. Kim, MD, PhD

Alfred H. Kim, MD, PhD, is assistant professor of medicine, pathology, and immunology in the Division of Rheumatology, School of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also the co-director of the Lupus Clinic.

Dr. Kim received his medical and doctoral degree of immunology from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is board certified in internal medicine. 

Dr. Kim runs an independent research group investigating the role of B cells in kidney disease, biomarker testing in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and genetic susceptibilities of autoimmunity. His work includes several active clinical and translational projects addressing the major unmet needs of patients with SLE. He hosts a diverse cohort assembled through the Washington University Lupus Clinic. Dr. Kim’s team also manages a Lupus Registry which includes data for disease activity assessment, laboratory values, socioeconomic factors, and a wide variety of patient-reported outcomes related to quality of life.

He is a member of the American Society of Nephrology, and American College of Rheumatology and its Subcommittee for Early Career Investigators and Committee for Research. He is also on the board of directors of the Lupus Foundation of America, Heartland Chapter, and a member of the board of directors of the Saint Louis Rheumatology Association. Dr. Kim is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Delegate for 2016 EULAR/ACR Exchange Program Investigator Award, among others. 

He has published in numerous journals, including Arthritis & Rheumatology, The Journal of Immunology, and Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America.


Ashira Blazer, MD, MSCI

Dr. Blazer is an Assistant Professor in the New York University School of Medicine Division of Rheumatology. Her interests are in studying the biologic and genetic determinants of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) severity in patients of African ancestry. 

Her current translational research project focuses on polymorphisms in the Apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) gene. APOL1, a major contributor to excess renal and cardiovascular risk in the African diaspora, is responsive to inflammatory signals and may be of heightened consequence in chronic inflammatory disease sufferers such as SLE patients. She has forged multiple international collaborations with rheumatology programs in West Africa, and through this work has preliminarily shown that APOL1 variant carriers with SLE experience internal organ scarring faster than other patients particularly in the kidneys and cardiovascular systems. This unfortunately leads to ultimately mortality. Unsatisfied with the clinical associations alone, Dr. Blazer is studying the mechanisms underpinning genetic phenomenon through cultivating novel primary cell culture models. She has shown that metabolic disturbances in both endothelial and inflammatory cells render the candidate tissues vulnerable to chronic inflammatory stress. By studying the interplay between chronic inflammation, cellular function, and APOL1 gene expression, Dr. Blazer aims to provide personalized treatment options to the most vulnerable of patients.

Arnita Roberts Christie, RN, BSN, MS

Arnita Roberts Christie, RN, BSN, MS holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Widener University and a Master of Science Degree in Human Resource Development with a certificate in counseling from the University of Bridgeport.  For more than 34 years, Arnita has worked in multiple medical settings and disease states, including academic hospitals, occupational health, insurance and the pharmaceutical industry.  Arnita is currently employed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as a Patient Engagement Liaison.  She has a passion for educating patients, families and health care practitioners about Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), and Severe Asthma as well as raising awareness about the impact these diseases have on patients and their families. 

She is a long time Connecticut resident, married to husband Michael for the past 26 years and mother to a 20-year-old son, Michael and a 17-year-old daughter, Nia . Arnita is an active member of the Fairfield County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and is also an active member of WOCIP-Women of Color in Pharma.  

Arnita is a certified track and field coach and a certified track and field official. She enjoys listening to music, spending time with her family, and mentoring the young women Union Baptist Church, Stamford, CT, where she also serves as one of the health and wellness champions for the nurses ministry.

Andrew Robinson, MSW, LMSW

Andrew Robinson is a social worker at Washington University in St Louis, MO and the Lupus Patient Navigator for the Lupus Foundation of America, Heartland Chapter. He works with sickle cell, lupus, hematology, and rheumatology patients. Andrew has been working in the St Louis Community for nearly 5 years, helping individuals with severe mental and physical illness access resources, navigate the healthcare system, and various other issues.


Community Resources & How to Navigate Them Successfully 
10:10–10:45 a.m.
Andrew Robinson, MSW, LMSW
Heartland Chapter Patient Navigator

Our Patient Navigator will provide an overview of the resources that are available in the community and how to best access those resources. He will discuss resource assistance for insurance, utilities, transportation, prescriptions, and others. He will also share resources and programs available through the Heartland Chapter.

Bringing Lupus Nephritis Out of the Shadows
10:45–11:30 a.m. 
Donald E. Thomas, Jr., M.D., FACP, FACR
Associate Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services 
University of the Health Sciences and a Rheumatologist at 
Arthritis and Pain of Prince George’s County, Maryland

Join us and ALL IN™ for a virtual discussion featuring Dr. Thomas about lupus and lupus nephritis. The presentation and Q & A  session are brought to you by Aurinia Pharma U.S., Inc. 

COVID-19 Vaccines & Lupus Update
11:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Alfred H. Kim, MD, PhD
Co-Director, Lupus Clinic at Washington University, Assistant 
Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Washington 
University School of Medicine

Dr. Kim will provide an update on the Washington University School of Medicine trial evaluating the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in people taking immunosuppressives.

Closing the Gap on Health Disparities
12:30–1:15 p.m. 
Ashira Blazer, MD, MSCI
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, NYU Langone Medical Center Bellevue Arthritis Clinic

Lupus disproportionately affects women of color, particularly black women. The implicit and explicit bias within the healthcare system may prevent them from receiving a timely diagnosis and the best care possible. Dr. Blazer will discuss ways to close this gap through education, awareness, and advocacy.

Managing Your Lupus: How You Can Take a More Active Role & Meditation Exercise
1:15–2:00 p.m.
Arnita Christie, RN, BSN, MS Patient Engagement Liaison at GSK
Learn how you can take an active role in managing your lupus. You will learn more about the disease and how it affects your body, resources that can help you monitor your symptoms, how to communicate with your healthcare team, and the steps you can take to control lupus. Arnita will end with a guided meditation exercise. The presentation and Q & A Session are brought to you by GSK Us in Lupus.

Each session includes time for Q & A