The Rheumatology Center at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women's Hospital Long Beach offers a multi-disciplinary, family centered approach to care for infants and children under 21 with rheumatic diseases, such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, vasculitis, psoriatic arthritis, scleroderma, ankylosing spondylitis and dermatomyositis. A team of health care professionals work closely with other pediatric specialists to provide inpatient consultations to children who are hospitalized and offer comprehensive outpatient follow-up visits.

The rheumatology care team offers comprehensive evaluation and treatment that includes medication, physical and occupational therapy, education and medical management. 

The Rheumatology Center also participates in an active research program on systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The research program is a collaborative initiative with other medical institutions and has been instrumental in ensuring that patients of the Rheumatology Center can benefit from leading treatments as they become available. The primary goal of the SLE research is to find similarities of genetic markers of both, parents and children who have lupus. By identifying similar genetic markers, a cure for lupus can be developed.

Evaluation & Treatment

The Rheumatology Center care team diagnoses and treats conditions that affect muscles, joints and connective tissues in infants, children and adolescents. The rheumatology care team completes a comprehensive assessment to determine the child’s condition and extent of physical disability, if any. Many times rheumatic diseases can present themselves similarly to cancer or metabolic disorders. A full range of laboratory and imaging testing at Miller Children’s & Women's can help determine diagnosis. After a diagnosis has been made, the care team creates a personalized treatment plan to ensure proper condition management, health and wellness.

Patient and family education and goal setting is an important part of the child’s medical management of their condition. Treatment plans could include medications to help control the disease, physical therapy and counseling. Application of treatment depends on the child’s health, medical history and extent of the condition.


Rheumatologic diseases such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) and juvenile dermatomyositis, may require anti-inflammatory medication. This helps to ease the pain and allow the child to lead a normal lifestyle. Other medications can also benefit the child by:

  • Treating skin disease caused by dermatomyositis
  • Slowing damage to certain organs caused by scleroderma
Physical & Occupational Therapy

Children with rheumatologic diseases, such as JRA, may require more than just anti-inflammatory medication. Occupational and physical therapy are provided to help a child improve and maintain muscle and joint function and their ability to perform average daily activities. Miller Children’s & Women's also provides a weekly pool therapy class that puts children in a warm, soothing environment with a trained therapist who encourages stretching and exercise.

Designated CCS Center

The Rheumatology Center at Miller Children’s & Women's is a California Children’s Services (CCS) approved Special Care Center (SCC). This means a specially designated multi-disciplinary care team is responsible for all care coordination and case management of a patient in this program. Patients typically qualify for the Rheumatology CCS Special Care Center by medical diagnosis, complexity of their disease and financial status.

Your Care Team

The pediatric rheumatology care team provides consultation and comprehensive assessment including review of past and current medical history, physical examination, diagnosis and overall case management of rheumatic diseases.


Other Team Members

Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner is responsible for communications among the child, family, school, primary care physician, rheumatology team and others involved in the care of the child. The nurse practitioner also assists the child and family in obtaining medical supplies, scheduling laboratory appointments and other care as needed.

Physical and Occupational Therapists

Physical and occupational therapists help children with certain rheumatologic disorders improve and maintain muscle and joint function while learning to improve the ability to perform daily activities.

Child Life Specialists or Assistants

Child life specialists or assistants can help your child better understand his or her condition and treatment while making him or her feel more comfortable during their stay or visit to Miller Children’s & Women's.


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