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Texas Medical Center
West Campus

Phone: 832-824- 1319 (Main) I 832-227-2280 (West)
Fax: 832-825-1260


Texas Children's Hospital - West Campus
18200 Katy Freeway
Houston, TX 77094

Cagri Yildirim Toruner, MD

Attending Physician, Rheumatology

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine


School Education Degree Year
Columbia University Medical Center Fellowship Pediatric Rheumatology 2011
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Residency Pediatrics 2008
Hacettepe University - Turkey Medical School Doctor of Medicine 1998


Dr. Yildirim Toruner, affectionately known by her patients and colleagues as Dr. T, is a board certified pediatric rheumatologist at Texas Children’s Hospital, where she works as an attending physician in both outpatient and inpatient settings as well as teaching medical students, residents and fellows.

Dr. Yildirim Toruner attended medical school in Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey. She did her pediatric residency in Rutgers- New Jersey Medical School/ Hackensack University Medical Center followed by pediatric rheumatology fellowship in Columbia University, New York. Prior to joining the rheumatology team at TCH, she worked at Cohen Children’s Hospital- North Shore LIJ Health System in New York and most recently, at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio.

Dr. Yildirim Toruner’s mission as a pediatric rheumatologist is to improve outcomes of care of children with rheumatic diseases and raise awareness about juvenile arthritis, lupus and other rare rheumatic diseases through better education of patients and families as well as other medical professionals. She strongly supports and practices shared decision-making strategies while taking care of her patients: each patient and family’s preferences for disease management, medication and treatment choices need to be addressed along with most recent scientific developments. She wants to empower children and teens to approach their condition with a growth mindset and achieve their goals in life.

Dr. Toruner started working at Texas Children’s Hospital in September 2020 and is excited to work with a dedicated team caring for children and adolescents with childhood onset rheumatic diseases.

Clinical Interests:

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)

Kawasaki Disease

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

Systemic autoinflammatory diseases (SAID)

Dr. Yildirim Toruner has interest and expertise in all aspects of childhood rheumatic diseases. She has a special clinical interest in JIA, Kawasaki Disease, SLE and SAID.

Research Interests:

Quality Improvement (QI)

Patient reported outcomes (PRO)

Shared decision making (SDM)

Implementation science

Consensus Treatment Plan (CTP) development and implementation

Dr. Yildirim Toruner’s research interest is in quality improvement (QI) methods and patient-reported outcomes (PRO) measure development, validation, and implementation in clinical care. She is involved in multiple QI projects locally and nationally. She serves as the site Principle Investigator for the Pediatric Rheumatology Care and Outcomes Improvement Network ( This multi-hospital learning network brings together care teams with parents and patients, employing QI science to improve the outcomes of care of children with rheumatic disease.

Dr. Yildirim Toruner is the current chair of the Implementation Science workgroup within Childhood Arthritis and Research Alliance (CARRA). Implementation Science is the scientific study of methods that promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine practice to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services. Integration of QI and Implementation approaches can support improved health outcomes and continuous learning.

She is actively involved in CARRA as a group leader for CTP development in treatment of refractory Kawasaki Disease as well as active participant in development of Autoinflammatory Disease network in North America. She was previously involved in CTP development for treatment of lupus nephritis as well as treatment of PFAPA (periodic fever, aphthous stomatitis, pharyngitis and adenitis syndrome).


Organization Name Role
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Voting Member
American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Voting Member
Childhood Arthritis and Research Alliance (CARRA) Voting Member; Chair of the Implementation Science workgroup; Co-lead for Refractory Kawasaki Disease workgroup
Pediatric Rheumatology Care and Outcomes Improvement Network (PR-COIN) Site PI, Steeering Committee member, Measures Committee Member

Selected Publications

Amarilyo G, Rothman D, Manthiram K, Edwards KM, Li SC, Marshall GS, Yildirim-Toruner C, Haines K, Ferguson PJ, Lionetti G, Cherian J, Zhao Y, DeLaMora P, Syverson G, Nativ S, Twilt M, Michelow IC, Stepanovskiy Y, Thatayatikom A, Harel L, Akoghlanian S, Tucker L, Marques MC, Srinivasalu H, Propst EJ, Licameli GR, Dedeoglu F, Lapidus S; CARRA PFAPA Consensus Treatment Plan Workgroup. Consensus treatment plans for periodic fever, aphthous stomatitis, pharyngitis and adenitis syndrome (PFAPA): a framework to evaluate treatment responses from the childhood arthritis and rheumatology research alliance (CARRA) PFAPA work group. Pediatr Rheumatol Online J 2020 Apr 15;18(1):31. doi: 10.1186/s12969-020-00424-x. PMID: 32293478.

Sivaraman V, Wise KA, Cotton W, Barbar-Smiley F, AlAhmed O, MacDonald D, Lemle S, Yildirim-Toruner C, Ardoin SP, Ardura MI. Previsit Planning Improves Pneumococcal Vaccination Rates in Childhood-Onset SLE. Pediatrics 2020 Jan;145(1). doi: 10.1542/peds.2018-3141. PMID: 31879277.

Boneparth A, Radhakrishna SM, Greenbaum LA, Yen E, Okamura DM, Cooper JC, Mason S, Levy DM, Sule SD, Jensen PT, Yildirim-Toruner C, Ardoin SP, Wenderfer SE: Approach to Membranous Lupus Nephritis: A Survey of Pediatric Nephrologists and Pediatric Rheumatologists. The Journal of Rheumatology 44 (11): 1619-1623, 2017 Nov. PMID: 28916546.

Jaggi P, Grcic M, Kovalchin J, Wilhelm CM, Yildirim-Toruner C, Texter K: Using the Electronic Medical Record to Correlate Kawasaki Disease Phenotypes With Clinical Outcomes. Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society 2017 Apr 5. PMID: 28383697.

Costa-Reis P, Nativ S, Isgro J, Yildirim-Toruner C, Starr A, Saiman L, Imundo L, Eichenfield A. Major infections in a cohort of 120 patients with juvenile- onset systemic lupus erythematosus. Clinical Immunology 2013 Dec;149 (3):442-9. PMID: 24211846.

Mina R, von Scheven E, Ardoin SP, Eberhard BA, Punaro M, Ilowite N, Hsu J, Klein-Gitelman M, Moorthy LN, Muscal E, Radhakrishna SM, Wagner-Weiner L, Adams M, Blier P, Buckley L, Chalom E, Chédeville G, Eichenfield A, Fish N, Henrickson M, Hersh AO, Hollister R, Jones O, Jung L, Levy D, Lopez-Benitez J, McCurdy D, Miettunen PM, Quintero-del Rio AI, Rothman D, Rullo O, Ruth N, Schanberg LE, Silverman E, Singer NG, Soep J, Syed R, Vogler LB, Yalcindag A, Yildirim-Toruner C, Wallace CA, Brunner HI; Carra SLE Subcommittee. Consensus treatment plans for induction therapy of newly diagnosed proliferative lupus nephritis in juvenile systemic lupus erythematosus. Arthritis Care Res 2012 Mar; 64(3):375-83. doi: 10.1002/acr.21558 PMID: 22162255.

Yildirim-Toruner C, Diamond Betty. Current and Novel Therapeutics in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2011 February; 127: 303-312. PMID: 21281862.

Yildirim-Toruner C, Kimura Y, Rabinovich EC. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Journal of Rheumatology 2008 August; 35(8): 1680-1. PMID: 18671328.

Husain S, Yildirim-Toruner C, Rubio JP, Field J, The Southern MS Genetics Consortium, Schwalb M , Cook S, Devoto M, Vitale E. Variants of ST8SIA1 are associated with risk of developing multiple sclerosis. PLoS ONE 2008 July 9; 3(7): e2653. PMID: 18612409.

Yildirim-Toruner C, Subramanian K, El Manjra L, Donnelly RJ, Chen E, Goldstein S, Vitale E. A Novel Frameshift Mutation of FOXC2 Gene in a Family with Hereditary Lymphedema-Distichiasis Syndrome Associated with Renal Disease and Diabetes Mellitus. American Journal of Medical Genetics 2004 Dec 15; 131(3):281-6. PMID: 15523639.

View PubMed Publications

Awards & Honors

Best Teacher of the Year (2018 and 2019) by Pediatric Rheumatology Fellows

John Shulz Quality Improvement Award (2017) - “Clinically inactive Disease in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)”

Arthritis Foundation- New York Chapter, Juvenile Arthritis Fellowship Grant (2008)

“The role of vitamin D in childhood-onset systemic Lupus erythematosus SLE”

* Texas Children's Hospital physicians' licenses and credentials are reviewed prior to practicing at any of our facilities. Sections titled From the Doctor, Professional Organizations and Publications were provided by the physician's office and were not verified by Texas Children's Hospital.