Holding considerable expertise in pediatric rheumatology, Dr. Linda Kay Myers was inspired to a career in medicine by her father, who was an internist. She first obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English and pre-med, magna cum laude, at Furman University in 1975, before joining the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and earning a Doctor of Medicine in 1978. Licensed to practice medicine in Tennessee in 1979, she completed a pediatrics residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University in St. Louis from 1979 to 1982. She concluded her formal studies with a postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric rheumatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from 1982 to 1985, and was licensed to practice medicine in Texas in 1983 and board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in 1985. She has also been certified in pediatric rheumatology and as a clinical densitometrist.
Attributing much of her success to support from her parents and teachers, Dr. Myers embarked on her tenure with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in 1985 as an assistant professor. She rose to become an associate professor in 1991 and a full professor in 1996. Still active in this role today, her focus is on studying and treating rheumatological diseases, such as arthritis and lupus, in children. Since the 1980s, she has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health to research T-cells and their importance in arthritis and autoimmune diseases, and, currently, she and her colleagues are working with the receptor LAIR-1 to see if it can be used to help arthritis.
Additionally, Dr. Myers has donated her expertise as a consultant to medical companies, as a visiting professor and invited speaker, and as a trainer and mentor in the field. She has also authored a number of abstracts, articles for professional journals, and chapter for books, as well as served as a reviewer for numerous medical journals. Since 2002, she has worked on and off as a volunteer physician for the Jambalaya Jubilee for Juvenile Arthritis in Louisiana, and has further been a judge for Health Care Heroes of Memphis and a volunteer with the Church Health Center. She maintains professional affiliation with such organizations as the American Association of Immunologists, the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics, the Society for Pediatric Research, the Southern Society for Clinical Investigation and the Southern Society for Pediatric Research.
For excellence in her career, Dr. Myers has been the recipient of a number of honors and accolades, and notably is a patentee in the field. In 1990, she was presented with the Henry Christian Award by the National Meeting of the American Federation for Clinical Research, followed by the Tinsley Harrison Award by the American Journal of the Medical Sciences in 2000. More recently, she received a President’s Award from the Tennessee Rheumatology Society in 2018 and was recognized as a master of the American College of Rheumatology in 2019, something she cites as the highlight of her career.