Pioneering JM Care – Integrating Research With a Multidisciplinary Approach to Care

Article by: Robert Burleson

Jessica Turnier, M.D.

Dr. Jessica Turnier of the University of Michigan / Mott’s Children’s Hospital is dedicated to creating new directions for JM research and wider perspectives on how it is treated. About the University of Michigan, she states, “When I came to Michigan, there were a lot of myositis patients, and I just developed a really strong connection with those patients.”

The Strength of Collaboration in Rare Disease Research

Dr. Turnier views Cure JM as playing a central role in developing a collaborative network of JM researchers who are spread around the United States and globally. “Through the Cure JM Clinical Care Network: we now have a network of pediatric rheumatology researchers and clinicians at myositis centers. Here, I have found remarkable national peer mentors in translational research and in juvenile myositis.”

Because of the rarity of JM, Dr. Turnier adds that having this network of study centers helps in finding the number of patients needed to be representative of the JM population. “Pairing all this information together from different studies will be very helpful in really understanding how to use that information to help patients,” she adds. The Cure JM Clinical Care Network is proactively building its roster of members to expand and extend the best care available for JM patients and families nationwide and beyond.

Cure JM Assists in Pioneering Innovation in JM Care

With the help of Cure JM, at the University of Michigan, Dr. Turnier has established a multidisciplinary clinic in which patients are additionally evaluated by other medical specialties that can become involved in the broad scope of JM treatment, including general pediatrics, dermatology, physical therapy, and psychology. One practical advantage of this approach is patients coming long distances can see multiple providers in one visit. “We just felt that for coordinating communication, this arrangement simplifies things,” she states.

On its origin of the clinic, Dr. Turnier remembers, “I was informed that there was a family connected to Cure JM who was potentially interested in funding research. It was through this connection– which led to my ongoing involvement with Cure JM – that they were able to help support starting a myositis research program that Michigan did not have and, subsequently, our multidisciplinary clinic. Cure JM was very central to this progression of positive events that really aligned with what I wanted to do.”

Funders are noticing, too. Dr. Turner’s clinic and Cure JM’s active patient advocacy programs were strengthened as part of a CZI (Chan Zuckerberg Initiative) grant, as both were chosen to share with other awardees (only 5 other award recipients in this scientific category of hundreds of international applications) in 2 million dollars of funding, providing significant support for innovative research into pediatric inflammatory disease at the cellular level. And the JM families have something to say about Dr. Turnier – “Karsten quote/endorsement”

About Dr. Turnier

After graduating from medical school in 2011, Dr. Turnier progressed through residency in pediatrics and a specialized fellowship in pediatric rheumatology. In 2018, she assumed her current post as Assistant Professor in Pediatric Rheumatology at the University of Michigan’s C.S Mott Children’s Hospital and quickly found her role in academic medicine as a clinician and researcher with a specialization in pediatric lupus and myositis. Her activities and interests span disease mechanisms, biomarkers and treatment targets, and the development of precision medicines.

 About the Cure JM Clinical Care Network

Cure JM’s Clinical Care Network is increasing access and expanding the geographic reach of expert juvenile myositis care across the United States and beyond. The primary objective of the Clinical Care Network is to support the foundational mission of Cure JM to find better treatments and a cure for JM by addressing the need for best-practice clinical care to improve overall outcomes for all JM patients.

The Clinical Care Network is composed of highly experienced JM physicians equipped with the experience, knowledge, and resources to deliver best-practice care that improves the lives of those affected by juvenile myositis.

In this presentation, we learn about the University of Michigan’s integrative 360-degree approach to its juvenile myositis clinic and how these strategies can be applied to other clinics. Dr. Turnier updates clinicians on how she integrated dermatology, psychology, and physical therapy into her clinic.

Skin Disease for Clinicians

Dr. Victoria Werth, M.D., discusses the identification and treatment of skin manifestations associated with dermatomyositis. Her talk covers diagnostic criteria, various skin manifestations, the latest treatment approaches, and the complexities of managing this condition, all aimed at improving patient outcomes and quality of life.

Doctor with parent and juvenile myositis patient.

Treatment Plans for Juvenile Myositis

A treatment plan is based on many factors, including the severity and expression of the juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM). Each case is different and the symptoms can change over time.

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