Mary Pack Chair in Rheumatology
MD, MHSc, FRCPC
Professor and Associate Head Academic Affairs, Division of Rheumatology
Department of Medicine
University of British Columbia
Diane Lacaille is a Professor in the Division of Rheumatology at the University of British Columbia, and a Senior Research Scientist at the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada, in Vancouver. She practices rheumatology at the Mary Pack Arthritis Centre and she has a hospital appointment at Vancouver Hospital Health Sciences Centre (VHHSC). She completed medical school and internal medicine training at McGill University in Montreal, and her Rheumatology training and a Master’s in Health Sciences, clinical epidemiology track, at the University of British Columbia.
Her research focuses on two areas: 1) Studying the impact of arthritis on employment and preventing work disability, and 2) Evaluating the quality of health care services received by people with RA, using a population-based cohort of RA for the province of BC.
She currently holds the Mary Pack Chair in Arthritis Research, funded by the Arthritis Society and the University of British Columbia. For the previous five years, she was funded by an Investigator Award from the Arthritis Society of Canada. She has also been funded by a New Investigator Award from Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and The Arthritis Society of Canada, and a Research Scholar Award from Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre and the Canadian Arthritis Network (CAN)
She holds peer-reviewed operating grant funding for her research from CIHR, CAN, and Vancouver Foundation. She has published her research in Arthritis and Rheumatism, Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, Arthritis Care and Research, Journal of Rheumatology, Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Human Immunology, Health Policy, Lancet, and Journal of Clinical Epidemiology.
She is a member of the Canadian Arthritis Network and was a member of their Research Management Committee and their Training and Education Committee. She is a member of the OMERACT Special Interest Group working on measures for evaluating employment. She is also a member of the Quality of Care Committee of the Canadian Rheumatology Association, and the Quality Indicators Subcommittee of the American College of Rheumatology. She is co-chair of the BC Practice Support Program for arthritis. She sits on the editorial boards of the Arthritis Care and Research Journal and the Journal of the Canadian Rheumatology Association.
She has received distinction awards for her contribution to rheumatology research, including the Jeff Shiroky Award for excellence in RA research, the Young Investigator Award from the Canadian Rheumatology Association and the Quality of Life Research Award from the Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA)—a distinction award for having obtained the highest score of all applications in Arthritis, Pain and Disability. Finally, she was a recipient of the Martin M. Hoffman Award for Excellence in Research at the University of British Columbia.
Building on her research on employment and arthritis, she has developed the first comprehensive program specifically designed to prevent Work Disability (WD) in employed people with inflammatory arthritis, such as RA. The program enhances self-management of problems encountered at work due to arthritis and modifies risk factors for WD. The program was pilot tested and showed promising results. It resulted in concrete changes and improved self-confidence and self-rated productivity at work. Her team has converted this program into a web-based version, in order to make this valuable resource more accessible to people with RA all over the province. She has received CIHR funding to test the program’s effectiveness at reducing WD and improving at work productivity in a randomized controlled trial. By preventing WD, this research will reduce the tremendous economic and social burden of RA.
As part of her research evaluating the quality of care for RA at the population level, she has assembled a population-based cohort of RA patients in BC. This research has exposed important gaps in care for RA. She found that the majority of RA patients do not receive the care that is recommended for their disease. More than half are not using the medications considered essential for RA (DMARDs) and few are followed by rheumatologists. These results point to the need for educating family physicians and people with RA about the shift in treatment paradigms in RA, and to the need for increased rheumatologist access and manpower. She is now evaluating the impact of educational interventions, such as academic detailing to Family Physicians, on the quality of care delivered to people with rheumatoid arthritis.
She is also evaluating the effect of medications used to treat RA on cardiovascular disease. Her research has been looking at other chronic medical conditions that people with RA are at risk of, such as cardiovascular diseases, infections and osteoporosis, and evaluating how these are treated and how medications used for RA may impact these conditions.
This research is important to people with RA and their health care providers, and has potential to improve the quality of care and outcome of RA.