James O’Dell, MD

James O’Dell, MD

Robert L. Grissom Professor, Internal Medicine

Chief Division of Rheumatology

Appointments: 402-559-4015

Primary Practice Location:
Durham Outpatient Center

Practice Location(s): University of Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha VA Medical Center
Research Interests:

Investigator-initiated clinical trials in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
The Treatment of Gout
Clinical Trial Design
Predicting response to therapy in RA

Medical School: 1977 MD, University of Nebraska College of Medicine, Omaha, NE
Residency: 1977 Resident Internal Medicine, University of Nebraska College of Medicine
1981 Chief Resident   Internal Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Fellowship: 1983 Fellowship Rheumatology,  University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
1984 Research Fellow Rheumatology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Bio Sketch:

James R. O’Dell, MD is the Stokes Shackleford Professor of Internal Medicine, Vice-Chairman of Internal Medicine and Chief of the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in Omaha.  

Dr. O’Dell received his undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in electrical engineering.  He received his medical degree and completed a residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine.  Dr. O’Dell completed a clinical and research fellowship in Rheumatology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver in 1984 and is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.  Dr. O’Dell founded and has directed the Rheumatoid Arthritis Investigational Network (RAIN) for the last 25 years.  RAIN is a group of rheumatologists who conduct investigator-initiated trials to find better treatments for rheumatoid arthritis. This research network has pioneered the use of combinations of medications to treat rheumatoid arthritis, was one of the first groups to describe genetic factors that predict response to therapy, and has done extensive work with the use of minocycline in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.  Dr. O’Dell is the PI of the large multinational RA research study based at the VA through their cooperative studies program. This trial that also has NIH funding is comparative effectiveness research at its best in a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial.

Dr. O’Dell has published extensively, mostly in the area of rheumatoid arthritis with three first-authored NEJM papers on RA trials and authored “Drug Therapy: Rheumatoid Arthritis” for the New England Journal of Medicine as well as the 2010 RA: Update for the Annual of Rheumatic Disease. The RACAT trial (NEJM 2013) won both the ACR Silver Fork award and the AF Howley Prize (most impactful arthritis research 2014). He has presented frequently at national and international meetings and has more than 100 published articles in top-level rheumatology journals.  He has received many awards for teaching excellence, was recently honored with the Nebraska ACP Laureate Award, a distinguished Scientist at UNMC, and was recognized as a UNMC Educator Laureate in 2019. In 2008 he received the Department of Internal Medicine Career Research award.  He has served on numerous American College of Rheumatology (ACR) committees over the last 20 years including time on both the ACR and REF BOD as well as a two-year term as President of the Research and Education Foundation of the ACR and was President of the College (2011-2012).  Additionally, he is Editor and Chief of Up To Date for Rheumatology and Editor of the Textbook of Rheumatology.