Research Embedded Culture

Over the past three decades, researchers at the West Michigan Rheumatology have been at the forefront of clinical research in rheumatology. Our physicians and team have conducted a large number of investigations of new agents in rheumatic diseases.

We initiate our own studies and we work with top tier academic colleagues in multicenter projects. We have broad experience from immunogenetic and proteomic descriptive studies, case control and cohort observation studies, as well as large scale survey, risk message framing experiments and phase 1-3 controlled clinical trials.

We have studied and published results in all of the conditions listed below. From decades of research experience we have developed deep knowledge and experience that enriches your care.

To learn more select a link below:

Our Areas of Research

Current Opportunities to Participate in Research

Giant Cell Arteritis / Temporal Arteritis

A Study to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of Upadacitinib in Participants With Giant Cell Arteritis (SELECT-GCA)

We are participating in a phase 3 clinical research study will compare upadacitinib daily tablet in combination with a corticosteroid (CS) taper regimen versus placebo in combination with a CS taper regimen for the treatment of signs and symptoms of Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA) in subjects with active GCA who either have new onset disease or relapsing disease. The study drug is an oral Janus activated kinase (JAK1) selective inhibitor. This study will enroll approximately 420 patients at about 140 study sites around the world. 

Key eligibility criteria for participation in this study includes:

  • Male or female at least 50 years of age.
  • History of ESR ≥ 50 mm/hr or CRP ≥ 2.45 mg/dL.
  • Presence of at least one of the following:
    • Unequivocal cranial symptoms of GCA , or
    • Unequivocal symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR)
  • Presence of at least one of the following: 
    • Temporal artery biopsy revealing features of GCA, or
    • Evidence of large vessel vasculitis by angiography or cross-sectional imaging such as ultrasound, MRI, CT, or PET.
  • Active GCA, either new onset or relapsing, within 6 weeks of study start
  • Must have initiated treatment with ≥40 mg prednisone (or equivalent) at any time prior to study start and be receiving ≥20 mg prednisone (or equivalent) at study start.
  • Must not have had prior exposure to any JAK inhibitor (including but not limited to upadacitinib, tofacitinib, ruxolitinib, baricitinib, and filgotinib)
  • Must not have been treated with an IL-6 inhibitor (including but not limited to tocilizumab, sirukumab, and sarilumab) within 4 weeks of study start. 

This study is currently enrolling. If you have interest or questions about this study, please contact: our study coordinator Vicki Via phone: at 1-616-459-8088 or Email: research

Learn more at

Scleroderma and Raynaud’s Phenomenon

We are conducting a clinical research study for patients with scleroderma (systemic sclerosis) who experience Raynaud’s-related episodes (color change and pain or discomfort).

Enrollment was commenced in the Fall of 2019 and the study has been partially enrolled. Enrollment of new participants is paused until September 2020.

Here are important things to know about this study:

  • This Phase 3 clinical study will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the investigational drug, iloprost, in reducing how often and severe patients experience Raynaud’s-related episodes in patients with systemic sclerosis (scleroderma). 
  • The investigational drug or placebo (a substance that looks like the study drug but does not contain medication and only contains an inactive substance, such as salt water) will be given through an IV as a 6-hour infusion in our clinic infusion unit over 5 consecutive days. 
  • There is no cost to you or your insurance for the investigational drug and the study-related procedures. 
  • If qualified and complete the study, participants may receive a prorated stipend of up to $1225.  
  • In addition, reimbursement for travel, meals, and lodging will be available, if necessary.  

Key eligibility criteria for participation in this study includes:

  • Adults with a diagnosis of systemic sclerosis (scleroderma)  who have Raynaud’s Phenomenon (RP), with at least a two phase color change in finger(s) in response to cold exposure or emotion AND a history of frequent symptomatic RP attacks weekly.
  • No history of cervical or digital sympathectomy within the past 6 months.
  • No history of pulmonary hypertension.
  • Patients may be on vasodilators (i.e. calcium channel blockers, phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors [sildenafil, tadalafil, or vardenafil]), nitrates, and fluoxetine as long as the dose has not changed within 2 weeks from entering the study

If you have any questions about this study, please contact our research coordinator, Vicky Via phone:  at 1-616-459-8088 or Email: scleroderma

It is our plan to enroll patients in October, November, and January. If you have interest, please contact us as soon as possible. 

Learn more at

Rheumatoid Arthritis

A Randomized, Active-Controlled, Parallel-Group, Phase 3b/4 Study of Baricitinib in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Enrollment for this study is closed. If you have interest or questions about this study, please contact our research coordinator, Vicky Via phone:  at 1-616-459-8088 or Email: research

Learn more at