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2023 Jingle Bell Run Honorees


Dana Ascherman, MD
UPMC Division Chief,
Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology
Medical Honoree

Dr. Ascherman was appointed chief of the Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology in December of 2020 and serves as a professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.

Internationally recognized for his expertise in autoimmune diseases and idiopathic inflammatory myopathy, Dr. Ascherman’s research and clinical work are highly respected.

As an accomplished R01- and Merit Review-funded translational investigator, Dr. Ascherman’s research focuses on the immunopathogenesis of idiopathic inflammatory myopathy as well as autoimmune interstitial lung disease, with particular emphasis on the relationship between innate and adaptive immune responses in these diseases.

Dr. Ascherman has published more than 50 original peer-reviewed manuscripts as well as numerous invited reviews and book chapters, has served on multiple NIH and foundation grant review committees, and has held a number of editorial roles.  


Sophie Stefancic
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Adult Honoree

Sophie is 20 years old and attends the University of Pittsburgh. Throughout her life, she’s been very active – running, rowing, completed a half marathon, and surfing. At age 16, she started to have pain in her lower back and heels. Some days she had to even crawl to the bathroom, that’s when she got referred to a pediatric rheumatologist. She was diagnosed enthesitis-related juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and started medications. It was extremely hard at first with medication side effects and missing out on school and activities. But since finding consistent treatment, she’s improved so much and is able to run as much as she’d like and do most activities.