Dr. Chaichian specializes in the diagnosis and management of all rheumatic diseases. As Director of the Stanford Lupus Clinic, he has a particular clinical, research, and teaching interest in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). He has a secondary interest in connective tissue disease-associated interstitial lung disease (CTD-ILD). Under the mentorship of Dr. Mark Genovese, he is involved in clinical trials in SLE and lupus nephritis, including through the Lupus Clinical Investigators Network (LuCIN). He also works closely with Dr. Julia Simard on epidemiologic research in SLE, including better understanding pregnancy outcomes in this patient population. Lastly, with Dr. Maurice Druzin of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, he has co-developed a multidisciplinary conference that focuses on the diagnostic and treatment approach to pregnancy in women with underlying connective tissue diseases.

Clinical Focus

  • Rheumatology
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Academic Appointments

Honors & Awards

  • Department of Medicine Teaching Award recipient, Stanford University School of Medicine (2019)
  • Award recipient, Abstract Discussion Group, ACR Rheumatology Research Workshop (2014)
  • Distinction in Research, completion of Research Distinction Track, University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine (2008)
  • Graduation with Honors and Highest Distinction, University of Iowa (2004)
  • Student Leadership Award, University of Iowa, Multicultural Graduation Recognition Banquet (2004)
  • Bill and John Fenton Scholarship, University of Iowa (2003-2004)
  • Rhodes Dunlop Honors Program Scholarship, University of Iowa (2002-2004)
  • Dewey Stuit Award for Sophomore Honors Student, University of Iowa (2002-2003)
  • Rhodes Dunlap First-Year Honors Student Award, University of Iowa (2001-2002)

Professional Education

  • Board Certification: American Board of Internal Medicine, Rheumatology (2014)
  • Fellowship, University of Chicago Medical Center, IL, Rheumatology (2014)
  • Primary Care Chief Resident, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, WI (2012)
  • Board Certification: American Board of Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine (2011)
  • Residency: University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics (2011) WI United States of America
  • Internship: University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics (2009) WI United States of America
  • Medical Education: University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine (2008) IA

Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Systemic lupus erythematosus
CTD-associated interstitial lung disease


All Publications

  • The road to rheumatoid arthritis prevention: challenges and opportunities. Clinical rheumatology Chaichian, Y., Genovese, M. C., Weisman, M. H. 2020


    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most prevalent cause of chronic arthritis worldwide and contributes substantial health burden and socioeconomic costs, issues that are magnified by the aging population. Despite significantly improved outcomes in the management of RA with earlier diagnosis and advances in treatment, there is still no cure and disease prevention remains an area of intense interest. Studies examining different treatment regimens in varied subsets of patients with pre-clinical RA have been able to delay but not prevent onset of frank RA. In this timely issue of Clinical Rheumatology, Alpziar-Rodriguez D. and Finckh A. highlight the available literature on pre-clinical RA including modifiable risk factors, results of key intervention trials, and discuss whether prevention of RA is on the horizon. We offer additional thoughts on current areas of uncertainty in RA prevention studies, lessons to be learned from prevention trials in other disease states, and future directions to consider.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10067-020-05016-4

    View details for PubMedID 32170486

  • Does SLE widen or narrow race/ethnic disparities in the risk of five co-morbid conditions? Evidence from a community-based outpatient care system. Lupus Falasinnu, T., Chaichian, Y., Li, J., Chung, S., Waitzfelder, B. E., Fortmann, S. P., Palaniappan, L., Simard, J. F. 2019: 961203319884646


    OBJECTIVE: The heterogeneous spectrum of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) often presents with secondary complications such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), infections and neoplasms. Our study assessed whether the presence of SLE independently increases or reduces the disparities, accounting for the already higher risk of these outcomes among racial/ethnic minority groups without SLE.METHODS: We defined a cohort using electronic health records data (2005-2016) from a mixed-payer community-based outpatient setting in California serving patients of diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds. The eligible population included adult patients with SLE and matched non-SLE patients (?18 years old). SLE was the primary exposure. The following outcomes were identified: pneumonia, other infections, CVD and neoplasms. For each racial/ethnic group, we calculated the proportion of incident co-morbidities by SLE exposure, followed by logistic regression for each outcome with SLE as the exposure. We evaluated interaction on the additive and multiplicative scales by calculating the relative excess risk due to interaction and estimating the cross-product term in each model.RESULTS: We identified 1036 SLE cases and 8875 controls. The incidence for all outcomes was higher among the SLE exposed. We found little difference in the odds of the outcomes associated with SLE across racial/ethnic groups, even after multivariable adjustment. This finding was consistent on the multiplicative and additive scales.CONCLUSION: We demonstrated that SLE status does not independently confer substantial interaction or heterogeneity by race/ethnicity toward the risk of pneumonia, other infections, CVD or neoplasms. Further studies in larger datasets are necessary to validate this novel finding.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0961203319884646

    View details for PubMedID 31660790

  • Preterm birth phenotypes in women with autoimmune rheumatic diseases: A population based cohort study. BJOG : an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology Kolstad, K. D., Mayo, J. A., Chung, L., Chaichian, Y., Kelly, V. M., Druzin, M., Stevenson, D. K., Shaw, G. M., Simard, J. F. 2019


    OBJECTIVE: To investigate preterm birth (PTB) phenotypes in women with different autoimmune rheumatic diseases in a large population-based cohort.DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.SETTING: California, USA.POPULATION: All live singleton births in California between 2007 and 2011 were analyzed. Patients with autoimmune disease at delivery were identified by ICD-9 codes for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), systemic sclerosis (SSc), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), polymyositis/dermatomyositis (DM/PM), and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).METHODS: Maternally linked hospital and birth certificate records of 2,481,516 deliveries were assessed (SLE n=2,272, RA n=1,501, SSc n=88, JIA n=187, DM/PM n=38). Multivariable Poisson regression models estimated risk ratios (RRs) for different PTB phenotypes (relative to term deliveries) for each autoimmune disease compared to the general obstetric population adjusting for maternal age, race/ethnicity, body mass index, smoking, education, payer, parity, and prenatal care.MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: PTB was assessed overall (20-36 weeks) and by subphenotype: pre-term premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), spontaneous, or medically indicated PTB. Risk of PTB overall and each phenotype was partitioned by gestational age: early (20-31 weeks) and late (32-36 weeks).RESULTS: Risks for PTB were elevated for each autoimmune disease evaluated: SLE (RR 3.27 95%CI 3.01-3.56), RA (RR 2.04 95%CI 1.79-2.33), SSc (RR 3.74 95%CI 2.51-5.58), JIA (RR 2.23 95%CI 1.54-3.23), and DM/PM (RR 5.26 95%CI 3.12-8.89). These elevated risks were observed for the majority of PTB phenotypes as well.CONCLUSIONS: Women with systemic autoimmune diseases appear to have an elevated risk of various PTB phenotypes. Therefore, preconception counseling and close monitoring during pregnancy is crucial.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/1471-0528.15970

    View details for PubMedID 31571337

  • Preterm Delivery Phenotypes in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Pregnancies AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PERINATOLOGY Simard, J. F., Chaichian, Y., Rossides, M., Wikstrom, A., Shaw, G. M., Druzin, M. L. 2019; 36 (9): 964?68
  • A promising approach to targeting type 1 IFN in systemic lupus erythematosus. The Journal of clinical investigation Chaichian, Y., Wallace, D. J., Weisman, M. H. 2019


    Despite advances in understanding systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) pathogenesis, most clinical trials of new targeted therapies have been met with disappointment. The type I IFN pathway is believed to play an important role in SLE, and the proposed involvement of this pathway helps explain the frustration behind the failure at targeting either IFN-alpha or the type 1 IFN receptor itself. In this issue of the JCI, Furie et al. report on an intriguing phase 1b study that demonstrates an approach for inhibiting this pathway in the skin using an mAB (BIIB059) that targets the blood DC antigen 2 (BDCA-2) receptor on plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs). BIIB059 decreased IFN expression and improved cutaneous lupus disease activity, with a favorable safety profile. Whether or not this strategy will be effective in managing SLE in other organs remains unanswered. However, these results suggest that closing the door on targeting the type 1 IFN pathway in SLE may be premature and highlight the emerging question of whether an organ-specific approach toward lupus trials and treatment should be the wave of the future.

    View details for PubMedID 30776023

  • Unraveling Race, Socioeconomic Factors, and Geographical Context in the Heterogeneity of Lupus Mortality in the United States. ACR open rheumatology Falasinnu, T., Chaichian, Y., Palaniappan, L., Simard, J. F. 2019; 1 (3): 164?72


    Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease disproportionately affecting women and racial/ethnic minorities. We examined SLE-related mortality over time to assess whether the impact of race is attenuated when social economic status (SES) and geographic context are also considered.This study examined whether social environment attenuates racial disparities in SLE-related mortality using race-geographical combinations of the US population known as the "Eight Americas." This framework jointly characterizes race, SES, and geographical location in relation to health disparities in the United States. Using National Vital Statistics and US Census data, we estimated mortality parameters for each of the Eight Americas.We identified 24?773 SLE deaths (2003-2014). Average annual mortality rates were highest among blacks in three race-geographical contexts: average-income blacks, southern low-income blacks, and high-risk urban blacks (14 to 15 deaths per million population) and lowest among nonblacks living in average-income settings (3 to 4 deaths per million population). Age at death was lowest (~47.5 years) for blacks and Asians and highest among low-income rural whites (~64.8 years).Blacks sharing the same social and geographical contexts as whites were disproportionately more likely to die young. Although blacks inhabited three vastly different contexts, SLE-related mortality parameters did not vary among socially advantaged and disadvantaged blacks. These findings suggest that race may transcend SES and geographical parameters as a key determinant of SLE-related mortality.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/acr2.1024

    View details for PubMedID 31777791

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6858029

  • Do Death Certificates Underestimate the Burden of Rare Diseases? The Example of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Mortality, Sweden, 2001-2013. Public health reports (Washington, D.C. : 1974) Falasinnu, T., Rossides, M., Chaichian, Y., Simard, J. F. 2018: 33354918777253


    OBJECTIVES: Mortality due to rare diseases, which are substantial sources of premature mortality, is underreported in mortality studies. The objective of this study was to determine the completeness of reporting systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) as a cause of death.METHODS: In 2017, we linked data on a Swedish population-based cohort (the Swedish Lupus Linkage, 2001-2013) comprising people with SLE (n = 8560) and their matched general population comparators (n = 37717) to data from the Cause of Death Register. We reviewed death records of deceased people from the cohort (n = 5110) and extracted data on patient demographic characteristics and causes of death. We estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for not reporting SLE as a cause of death by using multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models.RESULTS: Of 1802 deaths among SLE patients in the study, 1071 (59%) did not have SLE reported on their death records. Most SLE decedents were aged 75-84 at death (n = 584, 32%), female (n = 1462, 81%), and born in Nordic countries (n = 1730, 96%). Decedents aged ?85 at death were more likely to have SLE not reported on their death records than were decedents aged <50 (OR = 2.34; 95% CI, 1.48-3.68). Having renal failure listed as a cause of death decreased the likelihood of SLE not being reported on the death record (OR = 0.54; 95% CI, 0.40-0.73), whereas having cancer listed as a cause of death increased this likelihood (OR = 2.39; 95% CI, 1.85-3.07).CONCLUSIONS: SLE was greatly underreported as a cause of mortality on death records of SLE patients, particularly in older decedents and those with cancer, thereby underestimating the true burden of this disease. Public health resources need to focus on improving the recording of rare diseases in order to enhance the epidemiological utility of mortality data.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0033354918777253

    View details for PubMedID 29928843

  • The Representation of Gender and Race/Ethnic Groups in Randomized Clinical Trials of Individuals with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Current rheumatology reports Falasinnu, T., Chaichian, Y., Bass, M. B., Simard, J. F. 2018; 20 (4): 20


    This review evaluated gender and race/ethnic representation in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).Whites comprise 33% of prevalent SLE cases and comprised 51% of RCT enrollees. Blacks encompass 43% of prevalent SLE cases, but only represented 14% of RCT enrollees. Hispanics comprise 16% of prevalent SLE cases and 21% of RCT enrollees, while Asians comprise 13% of prevalent SLE cases and 10% of RCT enrollees. Males encompass 9% of SLE cases and 7% of RCT enrollees. The reporting and representation of males have remained stable over time, although their representation in RCTs is slighter lower than the prevalence of SLE in males. The representation of Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans increased over time. However, the representation of blacks among RCT participants has decreased since 2006-2011. RCTs among SLE patients need larger sample sizes in order to evaluate heterogeneity in outcomes among racial subgroups. It is imperative that novel strategies be developed to recruit racial minorities with SLE by identifying and improving barriers to RCT enrollment in order to better understand the disease's diverse population.

    View details for PubMedID 29550947

  • Impact of Sex on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus-Related Causes of Premature Mortality in the United States. Journal of women's health (2002) Falasinnu, T., Chaichian, Y., Simard, J. F. 2017


    Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease that is a source of significantly decreased life expectancy in the United States. This study investigated causes of deaths among males and females with SLE.This cross-sectional study used the national death certificate database of ?2.7 million death records in the United States, 2014. SLE was defined using Tenth Revision of the International Classification of Diseases codes: M32.1, M32.9, and M32.8. We compared sex-stratified demographic characteristics and the most commonly listed comorbidities in decedents with and without SLE. Relative risks (RRs) quantified the risk of dying with the most commonly listed comorbidities among decedents with SLE aged ?50 years compared with non-SLE decedents.There were 2,036 decedents with SLE in the United States (86.2% female). Female SLE decedents were 22 years younger than non-SLE females (median: 59 years vs. 81 years). This difference was 12 years among male decedents (median: 61 years vs. 73 years). The most frequently listed causes of death among female SLE decedents were septicemia (4.32%) and hypertension (3.04%). In contrast, heart disease (3.70%) and diabetes mellitus with complications (3.61%) were the most common among male SLE decedents. Among younger male decedents, SLE had higher co-occurrence of coagulation/hemorrhagic disorders and chronic renal failure compared with non-SLE (RR?=?16.69 [95% confidence interval {CI}?=?10.50-27.44] and RR?=?5.76 [95% CI?=?2.76-12.00], respectively). These also contributed to premature mortality among women (RR?=?4.98 [95% CI?=?3.69-6.70] and 8.55 [95% CI?=?6.89-10.61], respectively).Our findings identify clinically relevant comorbidities that may warrant careful consideration in patients' clinical management and the natural history of SLE.

    View details for DOI 10.1089/jwh.2017.6334

    View details for PubMedID 28891746

  • Long-term Management of Gout: Nonpharmacologic and Pharmacologic Therapies Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America Chaichian, Y., Chohan, S., Becker, M. A. 2014; 40 (2)
  • Targeted Therapies in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A State-of-the-Art Review Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology Chaichian, Y., Utset, T. O. 2013; 4 (S6)

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