The University of Arizona was the state’s first land-grant institution dedicated to research and education. The Centers of Excellence program was developed to encourage excellence in research and education in specific disease areas. The objective is to promote and support multidisciplinary research across departments, colleges and even throughout the state. These centers bring together researchers, clinicians, and students from the clinical, basic science, and non-medical fields to address a group of related diseases.

In 1985, the Arizona Board of Regents established the University of Arizona Arthritis Center, one of the first four Centers of Excellence in the Health Sciences. The UA Arthritis Center remains the only center of its kind in the state of Arizona dedicated to multidisciplinary research and education related to musculoskeletal, rheumatic, and autoimmune diseases. As arthritis affects one in every three Arizonans, education and outreach are critical components in improving the lives of those afflicted with this debilitating disease. 

Dedicated to eradicating arthritis as a cause of human suffering through biomedical and clinical research, education and patient care, the University of Arizona Arthritis Center (UAAC) was one of the first to employ a multi-disciplinary approach to combat arthritis, rheumatic, and bone-related diseases.

Research areas at the UAAC include basic and translational research on the mechanisms of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), scleroderma, and other rheumatic diseases, innovative surgical techniques, tissue engineering techniques to regenerate muscular skeletal tissue, the development of artificial joints, major new treatments in osteoarthritis, vasculitis and other related diseases, and reduction of costs related to arthritis care.

The UAAC is a stand-alone research center serving the state of Arizona and physically housed at the University of Arizona College of Medicine Tucson campus.  It is the focal point and catalyst for clinical and basic research in rheumatology, immunology, and autoimmune diseases.

Today, the University of Arizona Arthritis Center continues this important work through:

  • Clinical research studies investigating state-of-the-art treatments
  • Epidemiology and outcomes research
  • Translational research from bench to bedside
  • Training the next generation of rheumatologists, researchers, and educators
  • Community outreach programs to increase awareness and educate the public concerning the latest in treatments, research, and best practices for people living with arthritis
  • Partnering with other departments and colleges on campus, other research institutions around the world, and other healthcare-related organizations throughout the country to help people with arthritis live healthier lives