2012 - Ellen Ginzler, MD, MPH

Ellen Ginzler, MD, MPH, is a leader in medical education and one of SUNY Downstate’s finest teachers. Her history of service to the institution and its students spans almost 40 years. Under her guidance as chief of rheumatology, the division has gained international acclaim for its superb training and research. 

Students and residents alike have recognized Dr. Ginzler’s enthusiasm for teaching and the success of her efforts. As director (now co-director) of the second-year musculoskeletal block, she has brought excitement and innovation to a course of study required of all medical students. One example is the interactive Patient Demonstration Session she developed to introduce students to a variety of complex rheumatologic disorders. She invites patients with a wide array of symptoms to visit the classroom so that students can effectively understand a complicated and often confusing subject. Consistently rated the best teaching session of the year by 2nd year students, it is equally popular among the patients, many of whom return year after year. Dr. Ginzler also originated the Mentoring Program of the American College of Rheumatology, which continues to be a major educational resource for trainees in this field.

In addition to her contributions to teaching and administration, Dr. Ginzler has compiled a stellar record of clinical research and scholarship. She is internationally known as an expert on lupus nephritis, an autoimmune disorder that causes painful inflammation and damage to many parts of the body and affects more than one million people in this country.

To date, Dr. Ginzler has received more than $3 million in extramural funding for lupus research. As principal investigator of an FDA Orphan Products Program grant to assess the efficacy and tolerability of two drug treatments for lupus nephritis, she headed the largest multicenter, investigator-initiated trial ever carried out for lupus. The results, published as the lead article in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2005, have changed the paradigm for treating the disease. 

Among her many professional associations, she is a Master of the American College of Rheumatology and a fellow of the American College of Physicians, and was a long-time member of the Board of Governors of the New York Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. She has been an active participant in the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics (SLICC), and the Lupus Clinical Trials Consortium (LCTC), both organizations devoted to studying outcome in SLE and promoting the advance of new therapies for following and managing this disease. She has been recognized with a number of awards for her contributions to SLE and rheumatology in general, including the Kirkland Scholar Award, The NYU Ira Goldstein Memorial Lectureship, the University of Missouri Michael Einbender Lectureship, and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the New York Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation.