Event Description


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune connective tissue disease affecting approximately 1 in 1,000 individuals in the United States. The prevalence is 9 times higher for women compared to men, and even higher among Black, Hispanic, and Asian women. Inflammation from SLE can cause damage to the organs in the body, including the skin, joints, blood cells, kidneys, heart, lungs, and brain. This chronic condition may greatly impact quality of life, with the potential to cause severe fatigue, pain, and disability. Given the complex nature of the disease, SLE patients often require medical follow up with multiple specialists, including rheumatology, nephrology, dermatology, cardiology, pulmonology, and neurology. There is no cure for lupus, but various immune-suppressing and immune-modulating drugs are used to control symptoms and minimize inflammation.

While rheumatologists have an armamentarium of treatments used to treat the disease, many of these medications come with side effects and are not always well-tolerated. Clinical trials are ongoing to try to discover new treatments for SLE and lupus nephritis that are better tolerated and effective.

At UC San Diego, our rheumatology division is committed to improving patient care in SLE. Through the generosity of the Wolfe Family, the UC San Diego Lupus Center of Excellence was established in the fall of 2023. The mission of this center is to improve patient care and education, to collaborate with other disciplines in a multidisciplinary approach to SLE care, and to facilitate ongoing forts for collaborative research and involvement in clinical trials.

In May 2024, we will kick off Lupus Awareness Month with our second annual symposium to serve the lupus community. This unique program has morning and afternoon sessions, and attendees have the option of attending any part of the day. The morning session focuses on patient education in various aspects of SLE with special attention on lifestyle interventions. Patients also have an opportunity to contribute and give feedback that directly informs future projects and research at the lupus center. 

Spanish Translation will be available.  No CME is offered for this activity.

Kenneth Kalunian, MD
Professor of Medicine
Rheumatology, Wolfe Family Director UC San Diego Lupus Center of Excellence

Chelsey Smith, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Rheumatology, Wolfe Family Associate Director UC San Diego Lupus Center of Excellence



Target Audience

Our target audience will include patients with SLE, as well as family members and friends in the community

who support patients with SLE.




  • To educate and empower lupus patients in various aspects of lifestyle, including diet, exercise, fatigue and pain management
  • To inform the lupus community about effects of disease on mental health and vulnerable populations
  • To provide patients and families with effective resources to help manage their health
  • To involve our lupus community in future directions of the Lupus Center through interactive sessions

Event Location

UC San Diego Health

Altman Clinical & Translational Research Institute

9452 Medical Center Drive

La Jolla, CA 92037


Please park in the Parking Structure next to the ACTRI.  Additional parking can be found at the Athena Parking Structure Lot P760. It is a 10
minute walk to the ACTRI.
You may park in any open visitor spot.
Pay by entering your license plate at the pay stations. Please take a photo or make a note of your license
plate number before leaving your car and starting the payment process. Or use the Parkmobile app.

Parking rates:

30 minutes to 3 hours: $5

Each additional hour: $2.20

Daily maximum: $16

Free with a disabled placard in designated visitor spaces

Parking includes in-and-out privileges


Course Agenda

7:30 am      Registration and Breakfast

8:20 am      Welcome

Morning Session: Patient-oriented lectures on various aspects of life in SLE

8:30 am      Lupus and Mental Health: Making Rheum for Emotional Health and Well-being, Liz Morasso, LCSW, OSW-C

9:00 am      Occupational therapy and Lupus, Madelyn Cabrera, OT

9:30 am      Patient perspectives #1

9:45 am      Break

10:00 am    Pain management and integrative medicine for SLEAriel Portera, DO
0:30 am   Challenges with pediatric populations in SLE and transition careJohanna Chang, MD

11:00 am    Patient perspectives #2

11:20 am    Lunch

Afternoon Session: Breakout Sessions

12:15 pm   Breakout Group #1 - Involvement in lupus clinical trials

                   Led by Kenneth Kalunian, MD, with assistant for LRA patient advocates for Lupus Studies (PALS) program

                      Location:  ACTRI Auditorium

                      Discussion on ways to increase diversity in clinical trials, outreach for clinical trials, and future focuses of research.


12:50 pm   Breakout Group #2 - SLE community interest groups

                   Led by Johanna Chang, MD

                   Location:  ACTRI Lobby

                      Gathering information on the interests in the community for specific patient-focused groups, groups for local San Diego activities, volunteer groups,                                 among others.

1:25 pm     Breakout Group #3 - Clinical care improvements in lupus

                   Led by Chelsey Smith, MD

                 Location:  ACTRI Outdoor Courtyard

                       Discussion surrounding ways of improving clinical care and optimizing resources for our patients and their families.

1:55 pm     Closing remarks

2:00 pm     Conclusion of day with afternoon tea/coffee reception

2:30 pm     Adjourn



MD and Industry -  $100

Registration is free for patients, residents and fellows to attend this course.  Breakfast, lunch & snacks will be provided.

Please pre-register using the link below.

*Spanish Translation will be available.