Vivian P. Bykerk, BSc, MD, FRCPC

Dr. Bykerk has an active clinical practice and works with patients with a variety of musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, spondyloarthropathies, and autoimmune ophthalmic illnesses. Her work emphasizes the Hospital for Special Surgery Inflammatory Arthritis Center’s aim to ensure that patients have access to the care they need.

With a patient care focus on the importance of proper diagnosis, particularly in the early stages of inflammatory arthritis, which may prevent serious, lifelong arthritic complications. Dr. Bykerk notes that if detected and treated in its early stages, the effects of inflammatory arthritis can be greatly diminished.

"As rheumatologists, we want to see patients with new onset rheumatoid arthritis ideally as soon as possible." said Dr. Bykerk. "Patients often don’t get to us for four to six months after their symptoms have been identified. The longer they wait, the higher the chance damage will occur."

Dr. Vivian Bykerk is a member of a team of specialists at the Inflammatory Arthritis Center at Hospital for Special Surgery. The Center includes a dedicated inflammatory arthritis clinic, extensive arthritis registries, scientific studies focused on musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases, a physician education program, and most importantly, an emphasis on providing quality health care to patients.

Dr. Bykerk brings an extensive knowledge base and experience in rheumatology. She completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and spent two years as a Rheumatology Fellow at McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec. Dr. Bykerk received the Senior Rheumatology Scholar Award in 1989 presented by the American College of Rheumatology for her research in lupus. She served as the Director of the Early Arthritis Program at Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada and comes to Hospital for Special Surgery from Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, where she was in the Division of Rheumatology. She has been in rheumatology practice for over 20 years.


Associate Attending Rheumatologist, Hospital for Special Surgery
Associate Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College
Director, Inflammatory Arthritis Center of Excellence



Recognized by the International Association of Healthcare Professionals as a Doctor of Excellence,
        Inducted into 2013 Edition of Leading Physicians of the World Publication, 2013
Senior Rheumatology Scholar Award presented by the American College of Rheumatology, 1989
Canadian Arthritis Society Fellowship, 1985-1987
Winner, Mount Sinai Hospital Clinical Research Competition, 1985
Cystic Fibrosis Research Grant, 1977 
Governor's Scholarship, McMaster University, 1974 
Ontario Scholarship, 1974


Member, American College of Rheumatology (ACR), 1989 - present
Member, Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA), 1987 - present
Member, Ontario Rheumatology Association, 2003 - present
Member, Society for Bone Mineral Research , 2000 - 2007


Athroscentesis (joint aspiration and injections)

Specialized Centers


MD, McMaster University Medical School, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, 1981
Post graduate Studies Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, 1983 - 1988


General Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, 1982


FRCPC, Critical Care and Internal Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1985
Internal Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, 1983


FRCPC, Rheumatology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1987


Fellow American College of Rheumatology, 1990 - present
Fellow Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons - Canada F.R.C.P. (C) Rheumatology, 1985 - present 
Fellow Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons - Canada F.R.C.P. (C) Internal Medicine, 1983 - present 
FLEX - Michigan, 1981
LMCC, 1981

State Licensure

New York State, Massachusetts, Province of Ontario

Vivian P. Bykerk, BSc, MD, FRCPC has contributed to the following articles on

Selected Publications

Lie E, Woodworth TG, Christensen R, Kvien TK, Bykerk V, Furst DE, Bingham CO 3rd, Choy EH, and the OMERACT RA Flare Working Group. Validation of OMERACT preliminary rheumatoid arthritis flare domains in the NOR-DMARD study. Ann Rheum Dis 2013, Accepted for publication.

Bykerk VP, Lie E, Bingham III CO, Bartlett SJ, Alten R, Boonen A, Christensen R, Furst DE, Hewlett S, Leong A, Lyddiatt A, March L, May JE, Montie P, Orbai AM, Pohl C, Scholte Voshaar M, Woodworth T, Choy EH, OMERACT RA Flare Working Group. Establishing a Core Domain Set to Measure Rheumatoid Arthritis Flares:  Report of the OMERACT 11 RA Flare Workshop . J Rheum (provisional acceptance 2013)

Barra L, Bykerk V, Pope JE, Haraoui BP, Hitchon CA, Thorne JC, Keystone EC, Boire G; , and the CATCH Investigators.  Anticitrullinated Protein Antibodies and Rheumatoid Factor Fluctuate in Early Inflammatory Arthritis and Do Not Predict Clinical Outcomes.  J Rheumatol. 2013 Feb 1. [Epub ahead of print]

Tavares R, Huang S, Bykerk VP, Bell MJ. A parallel group, cohort to determine the psychometric and discriminative properties of an early inflammatory arthritis detection tool. (pending publication)  J Rheumatol February 2013

Bykerk VP, Schoels MM.  Treatment Strategies for Early Rheumatoid Arthritis.  (Accepted for publication)  Current Opinion in Rheumatology.  2013 May; 25(3):375-83. doi: 10.1097/BOR.0b013e32835fd294.

Steiman A, Pope J, Theissen Philbrook H, Lihua L, Barnabe C, Kalache F, Kung T, Bessette L, Flanagan C, Haraoui B, Hochman J, Leclercq S, Mosher D, Thorne C, Bykerk V. Non-biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) improve pain in inflammatory arthritis (IA): a systematic literature review of randomized controlled trials. Rheumatology International DOI ) 2013 May; 33(5) : 1105-20. doi: 10.1007/s00296-012-2619-6 (Epub  2013 Jan 6.)

Bykerk V, Keystone E, Kuriya B, Larche M, Thorne J, Haraoui B.  Achieving Remission in Clinical Practice:  Lessons from Clinical Trial Data. Clin and Experimental Rheum.  2013 April 22. [Epub ahead of print]

Tavares R, Wells G, Bykerk V, Guilleman F, Tugwell P, Bell M. Validation of a self-administered inflammatory arthritis detection tool for rheumatology triage. Accepted J Rheumatol 2013 Apr; 40(4): 417-24. doi: 10.3899/jrheum. 120096. Epub 2013 Feb 1.

For more publications, please see the PubMed listing.

Selected Books/Chapters

Bykerk VP. Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Newly Diagnosed Patient. Targeted Treatment of the Rheumatoid Diseases. ed. IBSN: 978-1-4160-9993-2. 2009. 17-26

Bykerk VP. Rheumatoid Arthritis. Therapeutic Choices, 5th ed. ISBN 978-1-894402-32-3. 2007. 955-971

Bykerk VP. Monitoring the Patient with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus at the Clinic and Bedside. (In Press)

Selected Presentations

International Invited Special Lectures and Presentations

Bringing the Patient to the Clinic Earlier – How to Identify Patients with Very Early Inflammatory Arthritis, European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR)  London 2011, May 2011 

Understanding the New Classification Criteria for the Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis; Immunology Summit, Berlin Germany 2011, February 2011 

How Guidelines can be Adapted from the World Literature, Mexican-Canadian Rheumatology Association Annual Meeting, Cancun Mexico, February 2011 

How to Manage Early Rheumatoid Arthritis, Mexican-Canadian Rheumatology Association Annual meeting, Cancun Mexico, February 2011 

How to Make a Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis Earlier (European League Against Rheumatology Annual Meeting), June 2010 

Practical Issues in Making the Diagnosis of Rheumatology (EULAR Fellows Lecture), June 2010

Controversies in Treating Patients with Early RA – Impact of Recent Clinical Trials. Brigham & Women’s Annual Centacor Arthritis Day, Harvard University, ec. 2009 

What the Early Arthritis Cohorts have Taught Us – Presented at Rheumatology Grand Rounds, Cedar Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles, Nov. 2009 

Treating the patient with Early Arthritis – a Workshop. Promise & Progress meeting. Amsterdam, March 2009

Tocilizumab investigator Meeting, Budapest.  An overview of clinical efficacy and safety data on Tocilizumab, Sept. 2008

Oral Podium Presentations of Abstracts at International Meetings:

The Revised 2010 ACR/EULAR Diagnostic Criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis Identify Many More Patients Who Are Eligible for Treatment and for Clinical Trials. American College of Rheumatology, Atlanta, Nov. 2010 

Care Gap in Early Inflammatory Arthritis Patients with a High Fracture Risk Identified Using the FRAX® Tool Podium Presentation American College of Rheumatology Meeting, Philadelphia, FRAX, Nov. 2009 

European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Symposium, Barcelona - Proportion of patients reaching remission and sustained remission in a real world cohort of patient with early RA treated with initial DMARD therapy, June 2007  

Podium Presentation American College of Rheumatology Meeting, Boston– A High Proportion of patients reaching sustained remission in an early arthritis cohort," Nov. 2007

Research Description

Dr. Bykerk is currently developing a clinical research program in early rheumatoid arthritis in collaboration with the Inflammatory Arthritis Center. This research program will focus on early inflammatory arthritis, identifying important questions, and addressing them through the use of Hospital for Special Surgery’s research registries. She is also the director of the Consortion of Early Arthritis Cohort Studies; a group of observational research studies in early RA in North America.

Dr. Bykerk is also involved in the planning of a clinical research program in Perioperative Medicine.

Research Interests

early rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis
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