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The American College of Rheumatology Names Deborah Dyett Desir, MD as President

November 14, 2023 | ACR ConvergenceACR News


SAN DIEGO – Today, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) announced the appointment of Deborah Dyett Desir, MD, as the College’s 87th president during ACR Convergence 2023, the ACR’s annual meeting. In this role, Desir will be the first Black woman to lead the organization for its 90th year.

“The ACR has been an integral part of my career as a rheumatologist,” said Dr. Desir, an associate professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine. “It is with great pleasure that I step into this role to carry on the excellent work of my predecessors and colleagues and forge a new path that continues to advance the College’s mission, goals and initiatives to empower and support the rheumatology care team in their efforts to be there for their patients. I am honored to serve in such a prestigious role.”

Desir joined the ACR in 1986, and throughout her nearly 40 years of membership, she has held several leadership positions including chair of the corporate relations committee, co-chair of the membership & awards committee and secretary for the ACR’s Rheumatology Research Foundation board of directors. She has been an active member of the College’s finance, government affairs, political action and rheumatologic care committees and as a member of a strategic planning task force. For the past three years, she has been a part of the ACR’s executive committee where she was president-elect, secretary and treasurer leading up to her appointment as president.

She is also part of a multi-generational medical family of physicians, including her father, husband and two of her children.

Throughout her presidency, Desir plans to focus on advancing the careers of women in leadership positions in rheumatology; enhancing ACR resources for members in solo and small private practices; advocating for increased funding for innovative research; supporting the ACR’s successful advocacy efforts at local, state and federal levels; ensuring the fiscal health of the College; and continuing the integration of DEI efforts throughout the ACR’s initiatives, programs and projects.

Desir, a practicing rheumatologist for over 30 years, earned her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and her medical degree from Yale School of Medicine. She completed a residency in internal medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital and a fellowship in rheumatology at Yale School of Medicine. She is founder of the Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center, PC, in Hamden, Branford, and Milford, Connecticut, and served as its medical director for 27 years. She is currently an associate professor of medicine in the Department of Medicine, Section of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology, Yale School of Medicine, and medical director of Yale Medicine Rheumatology, Hamden.

Throughout her career she has received numerous awards such as the:

  • 2022, 2021 and 2017 Connecticut Magazine Top Doctors award
  • 2022 Castle Connolly Top Doctors award
  • 2019 Southern Connecticut Black Nurses Association Community Service Award

Outside of her rheumatology career, she is an active member of the Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; the New Haven Chapter of The Links, Inc.; the New Haven Chapter of Girlfriends, Inc.; the Garden Club of New Haven; the board of directors of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, the Board of Trustees of Quinnipiac University and the Board of Directors of the Cornell Scott Hill Health Center Foundation.

Desir’s term begins this month along with the recently appointed 2023-2024 ACR Executive Committee:

  • President-elect – Carol Langford, MD
  • Secretary – William Harvey, MD
  • Treasurer – Anne Bass, MD
  • Foundation President – Liana Fraenkel, MD, MPH
  • ARP President- Aileen Ledingham, PT, MS, PhD


Media Contact
Monica McDonald


About the American College of Rheumatology
Founded in 1934, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is a not-for-profit, professional association committed to advancing the specialty of rheumatology that serves nearly 8,500 physicians, health professionals, and scientists worldwide. In doing so, the ACR offers education, research, advocacy and practice management support to help its members continue their innovative work and provide quality patient care. Rheumatology professionals are experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of more than 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases.

About ACR Convergence
ACR Convergence, the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, is where rheumatology meets to collaborate, celebrate, congregate, and learn. With more than 320 sessions and thousands of abstracts, it offers a superior combination of basic science, clinical science, business education and interactive discussions to improve patient care. For more information about the meeting, visit the ACR Convergence page, or join the conversation on Twitter by following the official hashtag (#ACR23).

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