Arthritis, Autoimmune Diseases

University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is home to Iowa’s only pediatric rheumatologists—doctors with the training, expertise, and experience to treat children and young adults with rheumatic diseases.

Rheumatic diseases refer to a wide range of disorders that, in general, affect the joints, muscles, spine, and skin. These diseases may present with pain, swelling, morning stiffness, fever, or rash. Pediatric rheumatic diseases result from uncontrolled inflammation, during which the body’s immune system attacks or hurts its own healthy cells and tissues. Examples include:

  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (commonly known as lupus or SLE)
  • Scleroderma (“hard skin”)
  • Dermatomyositis (muscle inflammation)
  • Vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels)
  • Autoinflammatory syndromes, including periodic fever syndromes and chronic non-infectious osteomyelitis (bone infection)

Our doctors, nurses, and medical staff understand that pediatric rheumatic diseases are chronic, complex disorders that can severely affect a child’s growth, development, and quality of life. Early and proper diagnosis is key to treating symptoms and managing the disease.

Trust—from our young patients and their parents—is important. We work with our families’ referring pediatricians, and we collaborate with other UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital specialists, therapists, and other staff as needed—drawing on the research, technology, and expertise available at one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals. We strive to make sure that families are comfortable, informed, and confident about the care their child receives.

    Health Information

    Patient Stories

    • Abigail Hooper

      Abigail Hooper portrait

      Abby Hooper is a sweet and energetic teenager who loves to cook for her family, work in the garden, and play sports. You’d never know from looking at her that she’s battling a chronic disease.Read more

    • Margaret Schafer

      Margaret Schafer portrait

      When Margaret was 11 years old, she started experiencing severe pain in her legs, hips, and shoulders – pain that made it difficult to get dressed or get on and off the school bus. Her local physician thought she might be having growing pains but the pain kept getting worse. In the spring of 2012, a pain specialist in Cedar Falls referred Margaret to a rheumatologist at UI Stead Family Children's Hospital.Read more

    • Treytun Garcia

      Treytun Garcia thumbnail

      Doctors diagnosed Treytun with scleroderma when he was just 4 years old. Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease often characterized by the hardening of the skin and connective tissues.Read more

    • Jacie Stewart

      Jacie Stewart thumbnail

      Jacie uses her art to raise awareness for the disease that once had her wheelchair bound. Read more about Jacie’s story.Read more

    • Taytum Bell

      Taytum Bell thumbnail

      Taytum developed a rare autoimmune disease as a child but after a week of in hospital treatment is back to what she loves. Read more about Taytum’s story.Read more

    Locations and Contact

    • Iowa City, Iowa

      Pediatric Specialty Clinic (Iowa City)

      2400 Colloton Pavilion
      In House Directions: Elevator F, Level 2
      UI Stead Family Children's Hospital
      200 Hawkins Drive
      Iowa City, IA 52242
      Hours
      • Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
      Contact
      • Appointment: 319-356-2229
      • Emergency: 319-356-1616
      • Toll Free: 888-573-KIDS (5437)

    Care Team

    Other Team Members

    • Courtney Kremer, ARNP
    • Cathy Figueroa, RN