Special Emphasis Session: Juvenile Patient/Consumer Engagement Round Table Discussion

Session Chair: Dr. Erkan Demerkaya & Ms. Sarah Schwartz

Session Description

Friday April 22, 2022
1:35pm - 2:15pm

During this session we welcome both Juvenile Arthritis (JA) community and patient partners to a 40 min Round Table Discussion to better understand their perspectives on this topic and the grand challenges that still need to be met in this important research area.


Dr. Angelo Ravelli - IRCCS Instituto Giannina Gaslini, Genova Italy

Angelo Ravelli, MD, is Scientific Director of the Giannina Gaslini Institute of Genoa, Italy and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Genoa, Italy. His field of clinical and research activity focuses on pediatric rheumatology. He is currently President of the Pediatric Rheumatology European Association (PRES) and Past Chair of the EULAR Standing Committee for Pediatric Rheumatology.

He has received numerous grants and awards, including the Gerolamo Gaslini Prize for Excellence in Research in 2004 and a grant from the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) to conduct the project aimed to develop the new classification criteria for macrophage activation syndrome in systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Professor Ravelli was the chairman of the International Consensus Conference which led to the development of the new classification criteria for macrophage activation syndrome in systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis and of the International Task Force that developed the recommendations for the treat-to-target strategy in juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Professor Ravelli is author or co-author of more than 400 scientific papers and has been invited as speaker in more than 250 international congresses. On Google Scholar he has more than 32,000 citations and an H index of 88.



Dr. Natasha Gakhal
Danielle McCormak

Dr. Natasha Gakhal - Womens' College Hospital

Ms. Danielle McCormak - The Arthritis Society

Dr. Evelyn Rozenblyum - SickKids and St. Mike's Hospital - Toronto Ontario

Dr Natasha Gakhal is an adult rheumatologist at Women's College Hospital at the University of Toronto. Dr Evelyn Rozenblyum is a pediatric rheumatologist at St Michael's and SickKids Hospital at the University of Toronto and Danielle McCormack is an advanced care physiotherapist with The Arthritis Society. Collectively they run the Juvenile Arthritis Transition Clinic at Women's College Hospital in Toronto - an innovative model of care where pediatric, adult and allied health practitioners see and manage young adults with juvenile arthritis to improve medical and psychosocial outcomes for this population. 


Dr. Michele Batthish - McMaster University & Children's Hospital

Dr Michelle Batthish is a Pediatric Rheumatologist at McMaster Children’s Hospital and Head of the Division of Rheumatology, Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University.  She has developed a successful program or research focused on strategies to improve the experiences and transition readiness of adolescents preparing to transition to adult care.  As Principal Investigator, she has received multiple grants from local and national funding agencies including The Arthritis Society.  Her Transition Research Program is also supported by Cassie + Friends, a patient-focused Canadian foundation where she also serves as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council.  Dr. Batthish co-chairs the Canadian Rheumatology Association Transition Working Group and is a member of the Transition Hub, a national network of clinicians, scientists, patients and caregivers who collaborate to share information, ask questions, and exchange resources related to the Transition to Adulthood.

A key component to Dr. Batthish’s success has been her partnership with patients and parents in her research.  Her current research examines the impact of a Transition Toolkit on transition readiness in youth with chronic rheumatic disease and investigating the role of a transition coach in supporting youth prior to and after the transfer to adult care.  Her future work includes developing and validating a unique tool to measure transition readiness in parents of youth with chronic disease.


Ms. Sarah Schwartz
Patient Advocate

Sarah is a medical student at Queen’s University, and graduated from her Master’s of Science in Microbiology and Immunology from Dalhousie University in 2021. She studied the use of natural killer cells as an immunotherapy for non-small cell lung carcinoma. Sarah graduated from Dalhousie University with her Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Immunology in 2019.
Sarah was diagnosed with arthritis at the age of eleven, and has since used her patient perspective to support and advocate for the needs of children wth chronic illnesses. She spent four summers working at Brigadoon Village, a recreational overnight camp for children and youth with chronic illnesses and other life challenges. At Brigadoon, Sarah has taken on the roles of Counsellor, Head Counsellor, and Camper Care Director. Sarah works as a Patient Partner to a MSSU research project titled “Transition from Paediatric to Adult Health Care.” Furthermore, she has been committed to volunteer with youth, working at the IWK Children’s Hospital and as a Crisis Responder with Kids Help Phone

Mr Isaac Hall
JIA Consumer


Ms. Ariana Wong
JIA Conusmer


Mr. Matthew Sholdice
JIA Consumer