PANLAR 2024 Coverage

Antonio Iglesias, a recognition for someone who never stops learning

By : Estefanía Fajardo
Periodista científica de Global Rheumatology by PANLAR.

30 April, 2024

Cite as:
Fajardo E. Antonio Iglesias, a recognition for someone who never stops learning. Global Rheumatology. Vol 5/ Ene - Jun [2024] Available from:

"The Aníbal Ruiz Moreno Medal bears his name this year as recognition for his trajectory and impact on Pan-American rheumatology."

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E- ISSN: 2709-5533
Vol 5 / Ene - Jun [2024]


Antonio Iglesias, a recognition for someone who never stops learning

Autor: Estefanía Fajardo: Science journalist for Global Rheumatology by PANLAR,


Cite: Fajardo E. Antonio Iglesias, a recognition for someone who never stops learning. Global Rheumatology. Vol 5/ Ene - Jun [2024] Available from:

Received date: April 14th / 2024
Accepted date: April 24th / 2024
Published Date: April 30th / 2024

He talks about the book he's reading, as well as his friendships and his house, which is closer to the sea than to the bustling city. Some laugh peek out when he mentions his grandchildren, and others when he recalls that the professional journey has been long, and now, with dynamics a bit more subdued, he knows that a human being is more than the career they choose to study and pursue; it's a compendium of knowledge, stories, and conversations.

Antonio Iglesias was born in Zambrano, in the department of Bolívar, in Colombia. He immediately warns: "raised in Santa Marta, Magdalena" because his parents had to move for business reasons, and there he spent his elementary and high school education. He then lived in Bogotá for 43 years and since 2020 in Barranquilla.

"In anatomy, I scored a 5, and I liked biology. I never thought of anything other than studying medicine, I leaned towards it from a young age," he confesses without hesitation for a second. It was clear what he wanted, and then, as a turning point for those who chose this path, came the decision to specialize.

As for rheumatology, he says, "I did it after finishing internal medicine. And I did it because it's a specialty that covers everything from the skull to the feet, it has so many interesting aspects. Analyzing patients with complexities, and reviewing clinical cases. I had the opportunity to learn radiology, I trained at the Hospital San Juan de Dios, and I was self-taught in bone diseases," he recounts.

"I had excellent teachers at the Hospital San Juan de Dios, Peña, Lizarazo, Sánchez, they were my masters. But the person who influenced me a lot later was Dr. Donato Alarcón Segovia, in Mexico, and then Dr. Edmund Yunes in Boston, when I studied cellular immunology," he recalls.

Rheumatology, he affirms, "is something very important to me. Rare bone diseases and primary vasculitis are the areas where I have dedicated time and research." But that's not all in his life. Books, or as he prefers to summarize it, "anything I can get my hands on, I read," are part of his daily life, not figuratively but literally, because space in his days is dedicated to them. "I like series and enjoy watching them, I stay up late watching them. I also like to write," he adds.

He goes to his office on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. He has lived with his wife, Janneth Rodríguez, for 55 years. And he mentions his eldest daughter, Melissa, who is an immunologist; Tania a psychologist; Antonio, a neurologist. Also, his five grandchildren, and here is a smile that just by hearing his voice, you know that his eyes shine and his heart flourishes, "I adore my grandchildren. I spoil my grandchildren a lot."

For this reason, he is clear in saying: "I value the concept of family, as well as friendship."

Precisely in that concept of friendship, colleagues come in, including those who have passed through his knowledge in academia. "I have trained many rheumatologists, I don't remember how many. I have many friends, especially those who have been my students," he confesses while dictating what his agenda will be for the days of the PANLAR 2024 Congress because there are commitments that go beyond the academic program; they are about brotherhood. However, he clarifies that "I am still pending rheumatological activities, I have not disconnected from anything."

Now that PANLAR has entered the scene, he maintains that "PANLAR is something very important." And it's this importance that goes both ways because this year the Aníbal Ruiz Moreno Medal bears his name engraved.

"I knew the story of Dr. Aníbal Ruiz Moreno, I wrote his story. He was an idealistic person, with vision. Receiving the medal is very stimulating," he confesses about the first driving force of Pan-American rheumatology.

He says that today "there is great enthusiasm in PANLAR. This has already changed; it is something very important. PANLAR has grown while recalling how the intentions of these countries' recognition have transcended history and the leadership and work of Dr. Carlo Vinicio Caballero in the process.

"PANLAR is rolling along smoothly. The incoming president has to follow the legacy of the previous one. There is enthusiasm and drive," he asserts.

Dr. Iglesias doesn't educate doctors, but people; that has been and will be his work. "I try to train the person holistically. It's not just one thing. There's literature, movies, and novels, the person must be whole. Have complete knowledge," he explains.

"I like talking to people, explaining everything. I try to educate them as much as possible so they understand their illness. I converse, I talk. These diseases are complicated, but if you don't teach them how to use the medications, it's a problem. You have to dedicate time to talk," he says.

He no longer sees many patients. "I like to see those that I can help resolve," and he states that he goes "with the patience of Job."

Finally, he recalls that "the most important advice in my life is the example of parents. My dad, Antonio, an intellectual, and my mom, Alicia, a simple, kind, beautiful woman with people, sensitive, helped everyone."

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