KTTU "In Focus," Sunday 1/28/10, 10:30 AM; "KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," 3/7/10, 7:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews Dr. David Smith, Director, Disability Assessment Services and Research, Arizona Arthritis Center, University of Arizona,and Gina Cortesa, a rheumatoid arthritis patient.

Smith is also a former consultant for the Bureau of Hearings & Appeals and the Social Security Administration.  He says the Clinic has been in operationsince 1994 and has conducted more than 4000 comprehensive, integrated medical, psychological and vocational services assessments with the major focus being on assisting severely disabled persons in their effort to obtain various disability benefits. He says these include: short and long term disability as well as social security disability. He says referrals to DASR typically come from practicing physicians. He says the Clinic works closely with the treatment team to verify disability. He says DASR also has a group of local attorneys highly experienced in the field of disability law.

Cortesa says she was referred to the clinic about 18 months ago after it became too difficult for her to work at IBM due to her rheumatoid arthritis.  Shesays she receives treatment at the Clinic and also continues treatment with her primary care physician. She says she is currently on long-term disability,thanks to the advocacy of Dr. Smith, but her goal is to return to work at IBM at a job she can manage according to her physical abilities. 

Smith says the Clinic offers hope to patients.  After assessment, he says,  "we see how arthritis has affected a person’s lifestyle, whether they have theability to perform their job, whether they can be trained for a new job and what benefits are available to them."  He says the primary goal of the clinic is to keep people working.