Artist and RA: Benjamin Franklin and NORM President Andrea Zlatkus

Are you artistic? What does it mean to be artistic? According to the dictionary the definition of artistic is “having or revealing natural creative skills”. Most of us assume an artist is a person who is a painter or someone who is a sculptor. Possibly they have their work hang in a museum. I challenge you to think outside the box.

I grew up in the Philadelphia region learning about the great men who created the Declaration of Independence and who rang the Liberty Bell celebrating Independence on the first Fourth of July. I have toured Independence Hall, Betsy Ross House and even touched the Liberty Bell. One statesman we are very proud of in Philadelphia is Benjamin Franklin. We have the “Franklin Institute”, the Ben Franklin Bridge, parks and hotels named after him. He is credited with creating the first library “Library Company of Philadelphia” which was founded in 1731. He is also credited with co-founding the Union Fire Company also known as the Bucket Brigade(Boston), the first volunteer fire company in the colonies. He is well known as an inventor – in school you may remember seeing a picture of Ben flying a kite with a key attached to the string during a storm.

He also along with Dr. Thomas Bond founded in 1751 Pennsylvania Hospital. This hospital is one of the earliest established public hospital in the US. He was also a printer, publisher and a statesman. He is one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. All of these creative outlets I believe qualifies him as an artistic person. He always was thinking outside the box. Ben Franklin was born January 17, 1706 in Boston and died April 17, 1790 in Philadelphia.

One fact I recently found out is he suffered from “the Gout”. In 1780, he wrote an essay called, Dialogue Between Franklin and the Gout. I have attached the link to his essay. It is a conversation between himself and the Gout. It explores how he suffered with this disease and how the Gout would blame his lifestyle for his torment. I found it very interesting and feel many of our rheumatology patients could relate to this conversation.

I hope you take a peek into the creative life of Ben Franklin as he suffered with “the Gout”.

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  • As a speaker at the first ad hoc meeting of rheumatology practice managers gathered in a single small room at its infancy a decade ago, I’m amazed to see how NORM has blossomed into a high energy organization of depth and professional meetings with parallel break-out symposia between plenary sessions. NORM has truly come of age. This is where the “business” of rheumatology gets learned. The ”guildmanship” for rheumatology practice management is now strong.- Paul H. Caldron, DO, FACP, FACR, MBA, Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates
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