Bringing care and research to the local community.

Nurse and a doctor with a young patient.

Clinical Care and Research at NIAMS is located at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, Maryland, comprises several programs of research focused on rheumatological health in minority and underserved populations. Medical experts in the fields of autoimmunity, arthritis, lupus, and other rheumatological diseases conduct research focused on the evaluation, diagnosis, standard of care, and disease management of underserved patients from the local community (Maryland, Virginia, and District of Columbia).

The NIAMS team consists of physicians, advanced practice providers (NP/PA), nurses, patient care coordinators/navigators, and research assistants. Clinical Care and Research at NIAMS provides comprehensive medical evaluation in coordination with patients’ primary health care providers, and may refer patients to other NIH specialists for further evaluation or to outside health care teams for long-term follow-up and disease management. Services are provided at two locations.

Interpretation services are provided to non-English-proficient patients and their families. Local travel assistance is available to enrolled patients.

The NIAMS Community Health Clinic (CHC) - NIH Campus

Over the shoulder view of a medical professional examining a patient's hand.
Credit Martyn Green

The NIAMS CHC program is based at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. It focuses on the study of rheumatological diseases in minority populations. However, non-minority, underserved patients from the local community are also eligible to participate.

The Hope Center

Building entrance with double doors and an awning.
Credit Martyn Green

The Hope Center is a community-focused research facility based in Washington, DC. The NIAMS set up a team here in early 2023 to conduct outreach and allow participants in clinical trials to be seen close to their homes. NIAMS shares this facility with collaborators including the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Group of medical students smiling.

Rheumatology Fellows Training Program

Find information about our ACGME-accredited rheumatology program and details of the advanced training in our Scholars in Translational Research program.

Other Programs

Natural History and Observational Studies

The NIAMS Clinical Research Program (CRP) conducts natural history and observational studies of skin (dermatology), joints (rheumatology), muscle (myology), blood vessels (angiology), bones (osteology), and autoimmunity. Some of the NIAMS natural history studies focus on specific diseases, including spondyloarthritis, systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, lupus, myositis, vasculitis, melorheostosis, dermatitis, alopecia, and COVID-19.

Dermatology Branch

Standard Care in Dermatology (NCT00001506)
Dermatology Biospecimens (NCT02471352)
Natural History of Alopecia (NCT05502796)

Lupus Clinical Trials Unit

Natural History of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) (NCT00001372)

NIAMS Community Health Clinic

Natural History of Rheumatic Disease in Minority Communities (NCT00024479)

Systemic Autoimmunity Branch

Natural History of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Systemic Autoimmune Diseases (SAD-Covid) (NCT04690816)

(Recruiting affected patients and healthy volunteers)

Translational Genetics and Genomics Section

Natural History, Genetics, and Pathophysiology of Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (sJIA), Adult-Onset Still’s Disease, and related conditions (NCT03510442)

Pediatric Translational Research Branch

Natural History of Spondyloarthritis (SpA) (NCT01422694)

Muscle Disease Section

Study and Treatment of Inflammatory Muscle Disease (NCT00001265)

Juvenile Myositis Pathogenesis and Therapeutics Unit

Natural History of Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM) (NCT00059748)

Vasculitis Translational Research Program

Vasculitis Natural History Study (NCT02257866)

Clinical and Investigative Orthopedics Surgery Unit

Melorheostosis Natural History Study (NCT02504879)


A natural history study is a type of observational study that follows a group of people who have, or are at risk of developing, a specific medical condition or disease. Usually, natural history studies observe patients over long periods of time to measure disease progression. Natural history studies do not test treatments (interventions), but many research programs provide standard-of-care management of a patient’s disease.

An observational study collects medical information and research data from patients to improve the medical community’s understanding of how the medical condition or disease develops and progresses over time.

The research goal of observational and natural history studies is to improve the medical community’s understanding of health and disease, and to develop better methods for the diagnosis, prevention, and management of disease.

Other Resources

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