Professor Honored for Contributions to Scleroderma Research, Education

Posted in GUMC Stories

AUGUST 27, 2014—A Georgetown University Medical Center professor recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Scleroderma Foundation (new window) during its National Patient Education Conference in Anaheim, Calif. 

Virginia Steen, MD (new window), professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center, is recognized internationally as a leading expert in scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause a thickening and tightening of the skin or damage to internal organs.

“This is very special to me because scleroderma has been the focus of my entire career,” says Steen. “Being recognized by this organization with this award makes me realize that I have been able to make a real difference.”

Steen sees patients with scleroderma from around the world at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (new window) and is currently conducting clinical trials to better understand the disease.

“[Dr. Steen] has committed a lifetime to advancing scleroderma research and providing amazing and compassionate care to people living with the disease,” said Robert J. Riggs, chief executive officer of the Scleroderma Foundation, in remarks during the award presentation.

Riggs also praised Steen for her dedication to cultivating the next generation of scleroderma researchers and to increasing awareness among community-based physicians.

Steen is currently working with the foundation to expand the physician education program through a variety of approaches including webinars and lectures.

“Another area of focus of my work is my recognition of the different manifestations of scleroderma in the African American population,” Steen says. “This work has led to having an African American Patient Education Symposium that was put on twice by the Scleroderma Foundation.”

Steen has been involved with the Scleroderma Foundation for more than 30 years, including having conducted workshops at the organization’s national conference and having led patient education seminars around the country. She is a member of its Medical Advisory Board Steering Committee, and chairs its Physician Education and Development Committee.

By Sarah Reik
GUMC Communications
With additional information courtesy of the Scleroderma Foundation