Rheumatologists of Orlando
We are Central Florida’s only academic rheumatologists, and we proudly specialize in tertiary referrals. Our esteemed faculty conducts research in various autoimmune diseases and is honored to teach the next generation of rheumatologists.
Our Orlando rheumatologist specialists at UCF Health are highly experienced in diagnosing, treating and managing patients with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases affecting the joints, muscles, bones and internal organs.
We see patients with a number of common inflammatory arthritis conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis. We also see patients with connective tissue diseases, including lupus, Sjörgen’s syndrome and myositis.
Our rheumatologists’ experience and expertise enable us to provide intra-articular injections to relieve pain for patients in the comfort of our clinic.
Schedule an appointment with your Orlando rheumatologist!
We are committed to providing compassionate care in rheumatology for Central Florida and surrounding communities. Our patients’ comfort, health and well-being are of the utmost importance to us.
Our rheumatology specialists have a deep understanding for the symptoms associated with autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammatory diseases, and they are known for going the extra mile to serve patients with empathy and compassion.
It’s our goal to provide you with the personal attention, solutions and education that help to improve your quality of life for years to come.
Rheumatology Services We Offer
For our patients’ convenience, we provide intra-articular injections to treat inflammatory joint conditions in our clinic. This treatment is injected directly into the affected joint to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and improve physical function.
There are different types of intra-articular injections, including corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid, BOTOX® and platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Depending on the severity and symptoms of the patient’s condition, we will determine which type of injection will provide the most effective and alleviating treatment.
Rheumatology Conditions We Treat
Inflammatory Arthritis Conditions
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that typically affects the small joints in hands and feet, and can cause bone and joint deformity. This painful disorder can affect more than the joints; it often affects the lungs, skin, eyes, blood vessels and heart. A person with RA may experience painful swelling, joint tenderness, joint redness and fatigue.
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis that often affects people who have the skin condition psoriasis. This condition commonly manifests after psoriasis of the skin develops. Many people who have psoriatic arthritis experience joint stiffness in the morning, along with regular joint pain and swelling of the fingers and toes.
Diseases of the connective tissues
Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own organs and tissues. A systemic autoimmune disease, lupus affects the joints, blood cells, and major organs, including the heart, skin, kidneys, brain and lungs. A person with lupus may experience joint pain, fatigue, fevers and rashes. These symptoms can flare up at times, but we can provide treatments to manage flare-ups and mitigate symptoms.
Sjögren’s syndrome, similar to lupus, is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack its own cells, tissues and organs. This disease often exists with other disorders, like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Because Sjögren’s syndrome leads the body to attack the glands that produce tears and saliva, this syndrome causes dry eyes, dry mouth and difficulty swallowing.
Myositis is a disease that causes chronic inflammation in the muscles. This disease is often caused by autoimmune disorders, injuries and infections. A person with myositis may experience symptoms such as muscle weakness when standing, walking or exerting energy, chronic pain and swelling. Myositis can affect anyone, but this disease tends to affect women more than men. By conducting a series of tests, including blood tests, MRI scans and muscle biopsies, our Orlando rheumatologists can diagnose myositis.
Our Rheumatology Doctors
Dr. Maria Farooq
Dr. Maria Farooq, a board-certified physician in internal medicine and rheumatology, is trained and certified in performing musculoskeletal ultrasounds and ultrasound-guided injections to help bring her patients relief with minimal discomfort using precision techniques. Dr. Farooq has managed a wide array of complex diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout and lupus.
Dr. Farooq enjoys helping patients by identifying and diagnosing the cause of their symptoms and finding appropriate treatments that enhance their quality of life and alleviate symptoms.
Dr. Neha Bhanusali
Dr. Neha Bhanusali is one of our board-certified rheumatology specialists in Central Florida. Her areas of specialization include inflammatory arthritis, lupus, osteoarthritis, advanced biologic therapies and osteoporosis. A member of the American College of Rheumatology, Dr. Bhanusali has traveled around the world as a medical volunteer.
Dr. Bhanusali’s patient reviews speak to her extensive knowledge, caring manner, and genuine concern for each patient’s well-being.
Dr. Shazia Bég
Dr. Shazia Bég, one of our board-certified Orlando rheumatology specialists, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in the joints, muscles and bones. Her clinical interests lie in inflammatory arthritis conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. She also manages connective tissue diseases, such as lupus and Sjögren’s syndrome.
Known for her thorough attention to detail and modern approach to treatments in rheumatology, Dr. Shazia Bég is highly acclaimed by her patients.
Our Rheumatology Fellows
Dr. Ambreesh Chawla
Dr. Ambreesh Chawla is a 2nd year fellow in our internal medicine residency program. Dr. Chawla received his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Cincinnati and attended medical school at Saint George’s University School of Medicine. He completed his internal medicine residency training at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ. Dr. Chawla’s academic interests include systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, vasculitis, and medical education.
Dr. Sandra Chesoni
Dr. Sandra Chesoni is a 2nd year fellow in our internal medicine residency program. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina and obtained a PhD in molecular genetics from UMDNJ (Now Rutgers). She obtained her medical degree from the NJMS (Rutgers) and completed her residency at SUNY (Stony Brook). In medical school, Dr. Chesoni was drawn to the role immune dysregulation plays in disease—and rheumatology was a natural fit.
Dr. Marcela Perez-Acosta
Dr. Marcela Perez-Acosta is a 1st year fellow in our internal medicine residency program. She obtained her medical degree from the Faculty de Medicina de la Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa and completed her Internal Medicine residency at St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Dr. Perez-Acosta has a special interest in dermatomyositis and skin manifestations of rheumatologic diseases.
Dr. Perez-Acosta’s patient reviews speak to her fantastic bedside manner.
Dr. Ann George
Dr. Ann George is a 1st year fellow in our internal medicine residency program. She obtained her medical degree from Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church Medical College, in Kerala, India and completed her internal medicine residency at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, MA. Dr. George’s academic interests include vasculitis, lupus and musculoskeletal ultrasound in the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic diseases.
Schedule an appointment with one of our highly-renowned Orlando rheumatologists today!