Since 1948, the UCSF Division of Rheumatology has served the needs of patients, trainees, and the professional and academic research community at large with the highest quality patient care, education, and research opportunities.

Rheumatology retreat 2007


The first research studies on the relationship between rheumatoid factor and diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis were headed by Dr. Wally Epstein in 1957, establishing the Division’s very first research laboratory. In 1958, the UCSF Division of Rheumatology’s Research Training Program began and enrolled its first trainee, Jeffrey Fessel. Dr. Fessel went on to become San Francisco Kaiser Hospital’s Chief of the Department of Medicine and Director of the Residency Training Program. Since its creation in 1958, 145 men and women have trained in the Division of Rheumatology’s Research Training Program. Originally there were three rheumatology training programs: one at each of the three campuses. In 1987 the three programs were merged and a single integrated program was formed in which trainees rotated between all three sites. In 1992, Dr. David Wofsy became the head of the training program and served in that capacity until 2005, when Dr. David Daikh succeeded him.

The history of UCSF Division of Rheumatology would not be complete without mention of one of our most distinguished members, Dr. Ephraim Engleman. As one of the first physicians to receive training in the new subspecialty of rheumatology, Dr. “Eph” Engleman opened the first rheumatology clinic at UCSF in 1947. His influence at UCSF over many years has been substantial. In addition to his activities in rheumatology, he has served as President of the Executive Medical Board of UCSF and as the first President and Co-Founder of the Association of Clinical Faculty at UCSF. Dr. Engleman was also influential in establishing the Rosalind Russell Medical Research Center for Arthritis at UCSF and has acted as its director since 1979. This center has been hugely instrumental in supporting research and fellowship training at UCSF.