Meet the Chief 2018-03-20T11:16:07+00:00


William Swedler

William Swedler, MD                               Clinical Chief, Division of Rheumatology

When a medical student or medicine resident approaches me for advice on how to best prepare for a fellowship I tell them to just get a thorough grounding in internal medicine. Do not take a bunch of extra rheumatology rotations. Just come as a well rounded general internist and we will teach you how to become a good rheumatologist. This is not elitism or self-pride but I keep emphasizing that rheumatology is just internal medicine. Virtually every patient we see requires that we know their entire medical history. Every other disease, many of the medicines on the list of the patient can impact the diagnosis and therapeutic choices we make. In turn our therapies inevitibly impact the patients overall medical well being. Our heads are on a swivel as we must know the 360 degree landscape of the patient’s world. Our expertise lies in our grasp of the rheumatology literature which is also available to every other medical practitioner. But with the increasing crush of patient loads and other work loads today’s doctors do not have the time to invest in this vast mound of rheumatology facts nor have the time to practice the nuances of how to apply it. We are “cognitive” specialists who are also experts in needle procedures for the joints and soft tissues. We fuss over the details of joint fluid analysis. Within one hour we may leave the room after a simple task of injecting a joint and enter the room of a complicated diagnostic dilemma only to go next to hammer out the complicated treatment details of life threatening illness. And the collection of human blood and joint fluid samples for bench top research is always part of the day. This is the division of Rheumatology at the University of Illinois. One foot on the cutting edge of knowledge in the practice of rheumatology and the other foot firmly planted in the tradition of being humane and compassionate physicians. Our faculty truly practice this and disseminate that to the next generation of practitioners.

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