Western University of Health Sciences received the 2013 Partner in Progress Award from the Arthritis Foundation’s Inland Empire branch.

WesternU is conducting a clinical study to evaluate the prevalence of dry eye in rheumatoid arthritis patients, which could potentially lead to new treatments. This interprofessional study is being conducted by College of Optometry faculty members Jasmine Yumori, OD, FAAO, Robert Gordon, OD, FAAO, DPNAP, and Gillian Hollands, OD, MS; College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific faculty members Michael Finley, DO, and Dat Trinh, DO; and College of Graduate Nursing faculty member Tina Escobedo, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, with a research grant from Allergan Pharmaceuticals.

One of the biggest challenges for the research team, and for research projects in general, is recruiting subjects, said Dr. Yumori. WesternU reached out to neighboring organizations such as Casa Colina and local rheumatologists to help get the word out about the study.

“The Arthritis Foundation has been incredibly supportive,” Yumori said. “We’ve been going to community events with them and sharing information about the study. They’ve been really great in sharing our educational material with their volunteers. It’s been a great learning process, learning about how much support and advocacy they do for patients with arthritis.

“Through discussions with them, we’ve had a lot of additional ideas about future research projects,” Yumori added. “We’re hoping we can answer some questions and concerns their constituents have, and partner together.”

WesternU received the award at the Arthritis Foundation’s 2013 Holiday Thank You Dinner on Dec. 3, 2013 in Ontario, Calif.

WesternU’s clinical study on rheumatoid arthritis is ongoing, and participants are still needed. Click here to read more about the study. Click here to view a flier.