“Pediatricians can no longer cover the whole field of pediatrics, and have had to develop their own subspecialties. Pediatric rheumatology is one of the latest arrivals and one of the smallest, although I would say not premature. I think I can say I saw it arrive, although I cannot specify its birthday or place and I am damned if I can read the fathers signature on the birth certificate”
Eric Bywaters [1910-2003]
Park City Conference Utah1976
(Eric Bywaters himself is widely regarded as the father of pediatric rheumatology!)
About Pediatric Rheumatology
Pediatric rheumatology is amongst the latest and possibly the youngest sub-specialty of pediatrics which deals with children having bone, joint, muscle and connective tissue diseases. Since several childhood diseases have muscle bone and joint manifestations, some prefer to call the branch ‘musculoskeletal medicine.’ Many such children are mistakenly first shown to an orthopedic surgeon.
Pediatric Rheumatology was born in the mid 1950’s and limited teaching and training opportunities exist. Hence there are about only twelve hundred pediatric rheumatologists world-wide with most of them being concentrated in North America and Canada.
The specialty arrived in India about two decades ago when Dr. Raju Khubchandani, formerly Director, Pediatrics at Jaslok Hospital Mumbai, convened and formed the Rheumatology Chapter of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics in 2001, and hosted its first conference at the Nehru Science Center in Mumbai in 2003. Besides the team at SRCC Hospital which Dr. Khubchandani now leads, (amongst the largest in the private space in India), there are a handful of centers in the country, offering complete and specialized care for children with these diseases. Fortunately, the list is growing slowly but steadily, and several of Dr. Khubchandani’s past students and trainees offer pediatric rheumatology services in India and overseas.