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Karen Brandt Onel, MD

Lerner Children's Pavilion at Hospital for Special Surgery logoPediatrics, Rheumatology
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About Dr. Onel


An expert in pediatric rheumatology, Karen Onel, MD, cares for children and teens with arthritis and other autoimmune disorders. In particular, she diagnoses and treats: lupus, juvenile arthritis, vasculitis, uveitis (an inflammatory disorder of the eye), chronic non-infectious osteomyelitis, dermatomyositis and the periodic fever syndromes. Her goal is to work with the patient and his/her family to create a long-term care plan that will lead to improved quality of life.
Dr. Onel's research focuses on gaining a greater understanding of the causes of rheumatic illnesses, as well as evaluating the safety and tolerability of new treatments. She is collaborating with other institutions to define evidence-based best treatment practices for children with JIA, SLE and recurrent non-infectious osteomyelitis.
Dr. Onel has authored numerous papers, reviews and book chapters on pediatric rheumatology. In addition, she serves as a reviewer for many scientific journals, is on the editorial board of Pediatric Rheumatology and is Associate Editor for Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism.  

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Chief, Pediatric Rheumatology, Hospital for Special Surgery
Attending Physician, Hospital for Special Surgery


Pediatric Rheumatology


Castle Connolly Top Doctor, 10 Years
Castle Connolly America's Top Doctors, 2014-2021
Castle Connolly Top Doctors in New York Metro Area, 2018-2022
New York Magazine Top Doctors, 2018-2022
Chicago Magazine Top Doctors, 2012, 2014, 2016
Amgen Pediatric Rheumatology Visiting Professorship, 2014, 2015
Chicago Arthritis Walk Medical Honoree, 2013
ACR Pediatric Rheumatology Research Award, 1994
Fellowship ACR Senior Rheumatology Scholar Award, 1994
Mitchell Spivak Memorial Prize in Pediatrics, 1989
Janet M. Glasgow Memorial Achievement Citation, 1989
Alpha Omega Alpha, 1988


Cornell University Medical College, New York


Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York


Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York


Hospital for Special Surgery, New York

State Licensure



Publications by Dr. Onel

Patient Education

Selected Journal Articles

Selected Presentations

JIA in the 21st Century.” Pediatric Grand Rounds, NYP Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, 2019

Challenges in Juvenile Arthritis. Pediatric Rheumatology: An Update for Clinicians, NYU, New York, March, 13 2019

When aches and pains are more than aches and pains. NYC Department of Health and Mental Health, Office of School Health Physicians, New York, NY, December 18, 2019

2020 ACR Guideline for the Treatment of JIA: 
Therapeutic Approaches for Oligoarthritis, TMJ Arthritis, and Systemic JIA, Medication Monitoring, Immunizations and Non-Pharmacologic Therapies.” ACR Convergence, Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.” Atlanta, Ga.. November, 2020
Therapeutic Approaches for Oligoarthritis, TMJ Arthritis, and SystemicJIA,Medication Monitoring, Immunizations and Non-Pharmacologic Therapies.” The best of ACR Convergence.  Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 2020

Therapeutic Approaches for Oligoarthritis, TMJ Arthritis, and SystemicJIA,Medication Monitoring, Immunizations and Non-Pharmacologic Therapies.” The best of ACR Convergence.  Beijing, China, 2021

How much conflict is too much. Pediatric Grand Rounds, Rheumatology Grand Rounds Hospital for Special Surgery, January, 2021

How much conflict is too much. Pediatric Grand Rounds, University of Chicago Medicine, Chicago, IL, 2021

Systemic JIA. Pediatric Rheumatology Grand Rounds, Riley Children’s Hospital, Indianapolis, IN, 2021

Covid in childhood. State of the Art, American College of Rheumatology, April 11, 2021

How I learned to love this topic (COI). Pediatric Professors Rounds, Weill Cornell Pediatrics New York, July 9, 2021

Ethics of biobanking & genetic research in Pediatric Rheumatology. ACR Convergence Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology. San Francisco, Ca, November 7, 2021


Research Interests

Current interests include:

  • Collaborative Clinical Trials in JIA and SLE
  • Treatment for Chronic Recurrent Multifocal Osteomyelitis
  • Analysis of Cardiopulmonary involvement in Systemic JIA
  • Assessment of Mental Health needs for young people with SLE
  • Treatment withdrawal and remission for children with Systemic JIA

Patient Registries

Industry Relationships

Industry Relationships

HSS has a long history of supporting appropriate relationships with industry because they advance HSS's mission to provide the highest quality patient care, improve patient mobility, and enhance the quality of life for all, and to advance the science of orthopedic surgery, rheumatology, and their related disciplines through research and education.

Below are the healthcare industry relationships reported by Dr. Onel as of September 20, 2019.

  • Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism - Associate Editor

HSS and its physicians make this information available to patients and the public, thus creating a transparent environment for those who are interested in this information. Further, the HSS Conflicts of Interest and Commitment Policy prohibits physicians from collecting royalties on products they develop that are used on patients at HSS.

Patients should feel free to ask their HSS physicians questions about these relationships.

Dr. Onel in the News