The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) has named Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Joan Merrill, M.D., as the organization’s first Medical Director. Merrill will continue to serve as head of the Clinical Pharmacology Research Program at OMRF, one of the country’s leading centers for lupus research.
Merrill received her undergraduate degree from Vassar College and her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College. She is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology.
Merrill is a member of the American College of Rheumatology, serves as a consultant to the Arthritis Advisory Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and actively serves on grant review committees at the National Institutes of Health. She also holds teaching appointments as OMRF Professor of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and as Adjunct Associate Professor at the New York University Medical Center.
As Medical Director of the LFA, the nation’s leading nonprofit voluntary health organization dedicated to finding a cause and cure for lupus, Merrill will assist the board of directors and professional staff to implement expansion of the organization’s programs of biomedical research, professional education and public policy.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Merrill as Medical Director of the Lupus Foundation of America and look forward to working with her to advance the pace of biomedical research on lupus and the national research agenda for this life-diminishing and life-threatening disease,” said LFA President and CEO Sandra C. Raymond.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the body’s own tissue and organs. More than 1.5 million Americans have a form of lupus. The disease strikes mostly women of childbearing age and disproportionately affects African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American women.
The LFA (www.lupus.org) is based in Washington, DC, and has a nationwide network of more than 200 chapters, branches and support groups. Its mission is to improve the diagnosis and treatment of lupus, support individuals and families affected by the disease, increase awareness of lupus and find the cause and cure.
OMRF (www.omrf.org) is a nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and curing human disease. Its scientist focus on such critical research areas as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, lupus and cardiovascular disease. OMRF is home to Oklahoma’s only Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and only member of the National Academy of Sciences in the area of biomedical research.