Einstein/Montefiore Department of Medicine

Department Faculty

Dr. Irene Blanco, M.D.,  M.S.

Irene Blanco, M.D., M.S.

Associate Dean for Office of Diversity Enhancement

Professor, Department of Medicine (Rheumatology)

Areas of Research: Health Disparities, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Diversity, Education

Professional Interests

Irene Blanco, M.D., M.S., is a Professor in the Department of Medicine. Her research interests focus on addressing health disparities and the social determinants of health in rheumatology. She is currently working with the American College of Rheumatology, through a grant from the Rheumatology Research Foundation to create a graduate medical education curriculum for health disparities. In addition, she and the college, with the support of the Office of Minority Health, are also investigating how to leverage community health workers to help increase the recruitment of patients of color into lupus clinical trials.

Dr. Blanco completed her medical education at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society. She then went on to complete her internal medicine residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital- Weill Cornell Medical Center. Upon completing residency, she returned to Einstein to complete her rheumatology fellowship.

In 2010 she was awarded the Bronx CREED Health Disparities Faculty Development Fellowship which allowed her to complete her Master’s degree in Clinical Research at Einstein. Because of the significant morbidity and mortality of lupus and lupus nephritis in patients of color, she originally investigated the role of urinary biomarkers in lupus nephritis.  However, as her career has transitioned into a more educational and administrative position, her research has pivoted as well.

As an educator, Dr. Blanco tries to instill an appreciation for the rheumatic diseases and the importance of formal education in musculoskeletal medicine across the curricular continuum. She was the long-time course director for the Musculoskeletal Diseases course at Einstein and was awarded the Samuel M. Rosen Award for Outstanding Preclinical Teaching. As the course director and the rheumatology training fellowship director, Einstein has led the country in recruiting fellows to rheumatology. This is incredibly important now given that there is a significant workforce shortage of rheumatologists. This will severely limit access to patients with arthritis, which is the primary cause of disability in the US.

In addition, as the Associate Dean of Diversity Enhancement at Einstein, Dr. Blanco focuses on the diversification of the medical and biomedical workforce as a whole. She believes that by bringing people from traditionally marginalized groups into medicine; and supporting them as they cultivate positions of leadership, are we to truly address the needs of our most vulnerable of patients.


Selected Publications

1.     Beckerman N, Auerbach C, Blanco I. “The Psychosocial Impact of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.” J Multidiscip Healthc, 2011 5; 63-7

2.     Blanco I, Verghese J, Lipton R, Putterman C, Derby C. “Modifiable Predictors of Racial Differences in Gait Velocity in an Elderly Urban Cohort” J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 May; 60 (5) 922-6.

3.     Blanco, I. “Serving the Underserved in an Academic Medical Center.” Social Work in Healthcare. 2012 Aug;51(7):587-96

4.     Bernatsky S, Clarke AE, Costenbader KH, Urowitz MB, Gladman DD, Fortin PR, Petri M, Manzi S, Isenberg DA, Rahman A, Wallace D, Gordon C, Peschken C, Dooley MA, Ginzler EM, Aranow C, Edworthy SM, Nived O, Jacobsen S, Ruiz-Irastorza G, Yelin E, Barr SG, Blanco I, Feldman CH, Ramsey-Goldman R. “Lymphoma Risk in Systemic Lupus: Effects of Disease Activity Versus Treatment” Ann Rheum Dis. 2014 Jan 1;73(1):138-42

5.     Gross R, Graybill J, Wahezi D,  Jordan NC, Putterman C, Blanco I. “Increased Education is Associated with Decreased Compliance in an Urban Multi-Ethnic Lupus Cohort.” Epub, Journal of Clinical and Cellular Immunology 2014 5:3.

6.     Berman JR, Aizer J, Bass AR, Blanco I, Davidson A, Dwyer E, Fields TR, Huang WT, Kang JS, Kerr LD, Krasnokutsky-Samuels S, Lazaro DM, Schwartzman-Morris JS, Paget SA, Pillinger MH. “Fellow use of medical jargon correlates inversely with patient and observer perceptions of professionalism: results of a rheumatology OSCE (ROSCE) using challenging patient scenarios.” Clin Rheumatol. 2015 Nov 20. Epub ahead of print

7.     Berman JR, Aizer J, Bass AR, Blanco I, Davidson A, Dwyer E, Fields TR, Huang WT, Kang JS, Kerr LD, Krasnokutsky-Samuels S, Lazaro D,  Schwartzman-Morris JS, Paget SA, Pillinger MA. “Fellow use of medical jargon correlates inversely with patient and observer perceptions of professionalism: results of a rheumatology OSCE (ROSCE) using challenging patient scenarios” Clin Rheumatol (2016) 35: 2093.   

8.     Chancay MG; Guendsechadze SN, Blanco I. "Types of Pain and Their Psychosocial Impact in Women with Rheumatoid Arthritis" Invited review to Journal of Women's Midlife Health.  2019 Aug 9;5:3 .

9.     Sandhu VK, Hojjati M, Blanco I. “Healthcare Disparities in Rheumatology: The role of Education at a Global Level.” Clinical Rheumatology (2019) 1-8 DOI:10.1007/s10067-019-04777-x

10.  Blanco I, Barjaktarovic N, Gonzalez, CG. “Addressing Health Disparities in Medical Education and Clinical Practice” Invited review to Rheumatic Disease Clinics2020 Feb;46(1):179-191. doi: 10.1016/j.rdc.2019.09.012.

More Information About Dr. Irene Blanco


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