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Where are the women ‘Heroes and Pillars of Rheumatology’?
  1. Nicola Dalbeth1,
  2. Tuhina Neogi2
  1. 1 Department of Medicine, The University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Auckland, New Zealand
  2. 2 Clinical Epidemiology Research and Training Uni, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Prof Nicola Dalbeth, Department of Medicine, The University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand; n.dalbeth{at}

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We have enjoyed reading the ‘Heroes and Pillars of Rheumatology’ section of Ann Rheum Dis which was introduced in 2018 to highlight ‘persons or scientific innovations of the past that were pivotal in advancing our discipline’.1 While we acknowledge the recognition of Dr Barbara Ansell CBE, FRCP, FRCS, FRCPCH in the June 2019 issue,2 we note that the remaining 14 ‘Heroes’ profiled to date3 have been men.

We recognise that, historically, opportunities for women in medicine were limited. However, there are many women who have made ground-breaking contributions to the field of rheumatology. Examples of past Heroes include:

  • Professor Nanna Svartz (1890–1986) who discovered sulfasalazine in …

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  • Contributors Both authors wrote this letter.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests ND reports grants and personal fees from AstraZeneca, grants from Amgen, personal fees from Dyve BioSciences, personal fees from Hengrui, personal fees from Selecta, personal fees from Arthrosi, personal fees from Horizon, personal fees from Abbvie, personal fees from Janssen, personal fees from PK Med, outside the submitted work. TN reports personal fees from Alnylam; personal fees from Novartis, personal fees from Pfizer/Lilly; personal fees from Regeneron, outside the submitted work.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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