The next generation of rheumatology is well in hand with Dr. Glen Hazlewood leading the way. Dr. Hazlewood decided to become a rheumatologist late in his training when he took a rheumatology elective, a field he found intellectually challenging. He was interested in the multiple systems involved in rheumatic disease, a set of diseases that affect more than the joints. In contrast to Dr. Ed Keystone’s experience, there were a number of effective treatments for people living with rheumatic disease and for Dr. Hazlewood, this meant that he had more tools to help patients better manage their health.

The career of Dr. Hazlewood is off to an exceptional start. At last year’s Canadian Rheumatology Association annual conference, Dr. Hazlewood won the 2019 Emerging Investigator Award. He has received over $1 million in grant funding, a seemingly impossible feat in a highly competitive research environment. Even with this success, he is focused on patient-centred care and notes that “There is a life-long relationship with rheumatology patients”.

Dr. Glen Hazlewood is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Community Health Sciences in the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. He is a University of Calgary medical school graduate, completing his Internal Medicine and Rheumatology fellowships there, before completing his PhD in Clinical Epidemiology with the University of Toronto. His research program is focused on evaluating drug effectiveness, patient preferences, and decision-making. He asks: “Why is there such variability in practice among doctors? Are doctors interpreting the evidence differently? What choices do patients see? I’m eager to put the pieces of the puzzle together“. Dr. Hazlewood notes that both doctors and patients make decisions differently and understand research evidence or health information in different ways. He acknowledges that differences are okay, but that we need to better understand the decision-making process to improve patient outcomes.

Looking to the future, Dr. Hazlewood sees an expanding role for shared decision-making, a process where health care providers and patients work together to make health decisions that are informed by the best health research and by patients’ values and preferences. Patient preferences is a crucial addition to the Canadian Rheumatology Association Clinical Practice Guidelines for Rheumatoid Arthritis, another initiative being led by Dr. Hazlewood. He is also working with several international groups, including the Cochrane Collaboration and Outcome Measures in Rheumatology (OMERACT) to further use patient perspectives and preferences in developing research evidence and guidelines.

I have the pleasure of working with Dr. Hazlewood on many projects, including the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Rheumatoid Arthritis and OMERACT. He is true to his research program and values the patient perspective in our work together. It warms my heart to know that a rheumatology leader truly values the patient perspective and for that reason, I see an amazing future for Dr. Hazlewood and for patients living with arthritis.

Laurie Proulx

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