Artist and RA: NORM President Andrea Zlatkus and Pierre-Auguste Renoir

I have admired Renoir for many years. I would visit the Philadelphia Art Museum where his works caught my eye and spoke to me, as I have always loved impressionist works of arts. Then one day, I had an opportunity to listen to a speaker on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and art and was surprised to learn Renoir suffered from RA. As a rheumatology practice manager, this piqued my curiosity. 

Renoir’s works 

Renoir was a leading French impressionist painter, born on February 25, 1841, in Limoges, France and died December 3, 1919, in Cagnes. You may be surprised to learn at a young age, he worked in a porcelain factory and his talent led him to be selected to paint designs on porcelain china. He was one of the most famous artists of the early twentieth century and today his works remain loved by those who celebrate art and appreciate the beauty captured by the precise strokes of his paintbrushes.  

Renoir and RA 

Around 1892, Renoir developed rheumatoid arthritis. During the last twenty years of his life, even after his arthritis severely limited his mobility, Renoir continued following his passion—he continued to paint. Even as he developed progressive deformities in his hands and ankylosis of his right shoulder, Renoir never gave up. Renoir’s arthritis required him to change his painting techniques and to use the assistance of others to place the paintbrush in his hand. Despite his debilitating disease, Renoir maintained a high level of precision and efficiency with his painting. He remained positive and did not let his condition change his love of painting as he continued to see beauty in the world around him and translate it into art that the world still appreciates today. 

I have a Renoir painting hanging in my office reception area. Renoir’s long battle with rheumatoid arthritis serves as an inspiration to our patients who also experience the pain and limited mobility associated with this disease. His perseverance encourages our patients to develop coping mechanisms that allow them to pursue their own passions and live life with RA to the fullest. Many of my patients who see the painting will comment, “Did you know Renoir had RA?” It makes me proud to inspire our patients with Renoir’s work of art. I hope he can inspire your patients as well. 

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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
  • In a time of demanding changes in the management of medical practices in the US, NORM has been a lifesaver to the community of Rheumatology practices.  NORM has allowed our practice to stay ahead of the many demands of CMS and others payors and has ensured that our practice remains cognizant of new issues that arise in HIPPA compliance, human resources and medical billing to name a few. Sending our Practice Manager to NORM's conferences has been cost-effective and beneficial to our practice because she returns to our office with an abundance of information that otherwise would have taken months to compile. Every Rheumatology practice that wishes to stay on top of emerging issues in practice management should consider sending a member of their staff to NORM's conference.- Michael S. Rosen M.D., Chester County Rheumatology PC
  • Thanks to all those wonderful people in the NORM Network who respond to emails, offering their advice, experience, time, and support ... I haven't even been a member a full year yet and I am amazed at the dedication of everyone who responds to helping via emails and the NORM Organization itself! I have barely had a chance to explore the resources and I have yet to really dive into requests for help still I am silently learning so much and do occasionally offer what I can! Thank you all!- Cheryl Piambino, Kenneth E. Bresky, DO

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