Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology

Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology

The Virginia Commonwealth University Health System programs in Rheumatology and in Allergy and Immunology are among the oldest clinical in the USA. This unit comprises a combined division with allergy/immunology and rheumatology sections working towards the goal of improving outcomes for patients with autoimmune, musculoskeletal, allergic, mast cell, eosinophil and primary immune deficiency disorders through clinical care, research, and public service, including philanthropy.

The clinical practice in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology is mostly in the ambulatory care setting. This division has the responsibilities for patient care and teaching in two clinical subspecialties:

  • Rheumatology: Including rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases in both children and adults
  • Allergy and Immunology: Including asthma, allergic, mast cell, eosinophilic and primary immunodeficiency diseases

Over 50 postdoctoral clinical fellows have trained in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology and have gone on to distinguished clinical and academic careers. Separate tracks are offered for future clinicians, clinical investigators and laboratory investigators. In addition, through generous donations, the Division has endowed funds in the Medical College of Virginia Foundation to support one chair (Charles W. and Evelyn Thomas Chair), five professorships (Dr. Elam C. Toone, Jr., Grace Branch Moore, Charles W. Thomas, W. Robert Irby, and Taliaferro-Scott), a clinical fellowship (Charles and Evelyn Thomas) and research (Charles W. Thomas Arthritis Fund, General Herbert L. Earnest Memorial Fund, Immunology Fund, Lupus Clinic Fund and Tryptase Fund).

About the Chair

About the Chair [View Image]

About the Chair

Lawrence B. Schwartz, MD, PhD, received his MD and PhD degrees in medicine and biochemistry from Washington University before completing an internal medicine residency at Barnes Hospital and fellowships in allergy, immunology and rheumatology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and diagnostic laboratory immunology at VCU.

Learn more about Dr. Schwartz.

The clinical practice in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology is mostly in the ambulatory care setting, with approximately 9,000 patient visits annually in rheumatology and 1,000 visits in allergy and immunology in the faculty practice offices located in the Ambulatory Care Center on the VCU Medical Campus.

Also, the Stony Point clinic receives approximately 1,500 visits and the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center approximately 2,200 visits. Active in-hospital consultative practices in both subspecialties are provided at both the VCU Medical Center and the McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

In addition to the assessment and therapy of patients with a broad spectrum of rheumatologic, allergic and immunologic disorders, the Division has an active program of clinical trials to examine new therapeutic agents for the treatment of rheumatic and allergic/immunologic diseases.

Research interests of the faculty include the genetics of rheumatic diseases, and the basic and translational aspects of mast cells. Current projects examine desensitization of human mast cells as mechanism producing clinical tolerance, the role of adenosine in mast cell biology, the utility of tryptase as a biomarker for mast cell-mediated disease, the biochemistry of tryptase, the involvement of complement in mast cell biology, and the ability of mast cells to serve as an antigen presenting cell.

The division also has a diagnostic immunology lab that performs special tests to assess mast cell disorders such as systemic anaphylaxis and systemic mastocytosis.

Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology
1112 East Clay Street, VCU Health Sciences Research Building, Room 4-110
Box 980263
Richmond, Virginia 23298-0263
Phone: (804) 828-1941
Fax: (804) 828-0283

Division Contacts


Lawrence B. Schwartz, MD, PhD
Division Chair
Box 980263
Richmond, Virginia 23298-0263
Phone: (804) 828-1941
Email: lawrence.schwartz@vcuhealth.org


Shannon Sekerak, MPA
Division Administrator
Box 980050
Richmond, Virginia 23298-0263
Phone: (804) 828-6956
Email: shannon.sekerak@vcuhealth.org

View graphic version