Dr. Matthew Wieduwilt: Eliot Goldings Award in Rheumatology

From an early age, Dr. Matthew Wieduwilt had an affinity for biological science and creative arts. More recently he showed an affinity for rheumatology --an attraction that did not go unnoticed by his teachers.

Dr. Wieduwilt's grasp of rheumatic diseases, love of human interaction and efforts to relieve human suffering resulted in his selection as this year's recipient of the Eliot Goldings Award in Rheumatology.

"I am very honored to receive this award and grateful for recognition by the rheumatology faculty," said the 32-year-old Dr. Wieduwilt. "It is personally gratifying to know that my interest in both the clinical and basic science of rheumatology did not go unnoticed."                                                                         

Dr. Matthew Wieduwilt

The $500 award to the most outstanding medical student in rheumatology honors Dr. Eliot A. Goldings, a faculty member in the Division of Rheumatic Diseases who died in 1988 at age 40. Dr. Goldings joined the division in 1978 and distinguished himself as a scholar, teacher and clinician.

"Matthew is very bright and inquisitive," said Dr. Salahuddin Kazi, associate professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and chief of rheumatology at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center. "He asked probing questions, displayed an excellent clinical skill set and had a grasp on disease pathophysiology well ahead of his peers."

Dr. Wieduwilt grew up in Cupertino, Calif., and graduated from the University of California, Davis. In applying to M.D./Ph.D. programs nationwide, he was impressed by the rigor of clinical training and scope and quality of medical research at UT Southwestern. Nine years after arriving here, he said he found the experience "challenging and rewarding."

"I have had a chance to interact with fantastic attendings who have been energetic teachers and professional role models," said Dr. Wieduwilt, who as a graduate of the Medical Scientist Training Program receives both an M.D. and Ph.D.

His professors feel the same way about him.

"During his rotation in rheumatology, he consistently showed a high level of knowledge and enthusiasm while carrying out thorough and competent work-ups of patients in clinic and on the consult service," said Dr. Joel Taurog, professor of internal medicine.

Dr. Wieduwilt and his wife, Marion, and their 5-year-old son, Maxwell, will move to California in June where Dr. Wieduwilt begins an internal medicine residency at the University of California, San Francisco. He also is enrolled in the institution's Molecular Medicine Training Program as part of his long-range goal to serve in academic medicine.

"On the clinical side, autoimmune disease (which includes rheumatic diseases) can affect any organ system, making it constantly interesting in its diverse manifestations," said Dr. Wieduwilt. "The patient side is also broad in terms of age, allowing for diverse personal interactions. On the research side, the mechanisms by which one's own immune system targets and attacks the body remain great unanswered questions in medicine."

And those are the causes of his affinity for rheumatology.