The Scleroderma Foundation has named Lesley Ann Saketkoo, MD, as Doctor of the Year. This award is granted to leaders in the field who have demonstrated a commitment to the battle against scleroderma.
Saketkoo is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine. She is an internationally recognized and well-known scientist, professor, and clinician in the field of scleroderma, but also in other diseases, including pulmonary hypertension, interstitial lung disease, sarcoidosis, and myositis.
In fact, Saketkoo was the lead investigator of a large study that discovered the minimal set of outcome measures that can be used to assess performance in clinical trials regarding the treatment of connective tissue disease-related interstitial lung disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
She is also the lead researcher for several clinical trials and registries across a range of diseases, including scleroderma, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis, and sarcoidosis.
“As an expert in scleroderma care, Dr. Saketkoo is a great champion of the Foundation’s mission,” Robert Riggs, CEO of the Scleroderma Foundation, said in a press release.
“Her commitment to advancing patient care through clinical research and patient education helps those living with the disease become stronger advocates for themselves in the ever-changing healthcare environment,” Riggs added.
In addition to her research and clinical responsibilities, Saketkoo founded the Scleroderma and Sarcoidosis Patient Care and Research Center between Tulane and Louisiana State University in 2011.
This center has been recognized internationally and dubbed a “center of excellence” by various prestigious institutions, including the Scleroderma Foundation, the European Scleroderma Trials and Research Group (EUSTAR), and the Scleroderma Clinical Trials Consortium (SCTC).
Saketkoo also founded, and is the co-director, of the pulmonary hypertension clinic program at LSU — now known as the LSU-Tulane Comprehensive Pulmonary Hypertension Center. It is a Pulmonary Hypertension Association-certified center of excellence.
“Raising awareness about scleroderma is a life-saving act. Local patients with scleroderma are heroes in this regard — they work so hard to reach out to each other,” Saketkoo said. “It’s because of them patients in our center are being diagnosed and treated earlier than ever before, and this is imperative in preventing death and disability.”
“This national award represents the collaborative dedicated efforts toward patient care and research in New Orleans of which the Tulane physician community is a strong part,” Saketkoo added.