Melissa Tesher, MD

UChicago Faculty Physicians

Melissa Tesher, MD

Associate Professor of Pediatrics

My name is Melissa Tesher, and I'm a pediatric rheumatologist. Pediatric rheumatology is a specialty that focuses on autoimmune diseases in children. Some of the more common diagnoses we see are arthritis in children, especially juvenile idiopathic arthritis. We also see many children with lupus, with persistent fevers, and with a wide variety of other autoimmune conditions.

I have had a lifelong interest in science. I love the lifelong learning aspect of being a physician. There's always new discoveries, always new things to learn. I also really enjoy helping people. It's a really direct and fulfilling way to help people to feel better, and also to meet people from every walk of life and every part of society. That's really a great privilege to get to know people in that personal and special way.

I trained in pediatrics, in a special residency called Social Pediatrics in New York, that focused on primary care in a diverse, urban setting. So I've always been interested in working in an urban area.

Once I realized I wanted to go into pediatric rheumatology and work with chronically ill children, I was very interested in Chicago for the great academic and clinical training that was offered at the University of Chicago, and also the really wonderful population that we treat. The incredibly diverse and interesting patients whom we see from all over the state.

I try to apply a philosophy called the biopsychosocial model, which really looks at the whole patient and tries to emphasize all aspects of the patient's life. I also really focus on shared decision making, where I try to work together with families and their kids to find the plan of treatment that works the best for them.

Here at Comer, we do have an unusually large population of adolescents with lupus, and this is a chronic disease that can affect many different organ systems. It can be complex to take care of, and it's tough for the kids and their families who are coping with this.

So I'm really happy that we've been able to develop a new clinical program here, specifically for kids with lupus. They come for longer visits, and they're seen not just by pediatric rheumatology, but also by a social worker, by a pharmacist.

We have some additional supports for them as well, like parking passes and snacks. Snacks are always important. So I'm really glad that we've been able to put that additional service together.

Melissa Tesher, MD, is a board-certified pediatric rheumatologist. Dr. Tesher manages care for children and teens that have been diagnosed with a wide variety of pediatric rheumatologic disorders, but has a particular focus on juvenile arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and chronic musculoskeletal pain.

Along with her clinical work, Dr. Tesher takes an active role in education. She frequently provides lectures to medical students and residents on a wide variety of rheumatology topics.

Areas of Expertise

  • Childhood Arthritis
  • Pediatric Lupus
  • Lupus
  • Musculoskeletal Pain
  • Vasculitis
  • Transition Care: Care of Adolescents & Young Adults with Chronic Childhood Conditions

Board Certifications

  • Pediatrics
  • Pediatric Rheumatology

Memberships & Medical Societies

  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American College of Rheumatology

Practicing Since

  • 2004

Languages Spoken

  • Spanish
  • English

Medical Education

  • Mount Sinai School of Medicine


  • Montefiore Medical Center


  • Montefiore Medical Center


  • University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's

  • Aetna HMO (specialists only)
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • BCBS Blue Precision HMO (specialists only)
  • BCBS HMO (HMOI) (specialists only)
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • CountyCare *see insurance page
  • Aetna Better Health *see insurance page
  • Medicare
  • Multiplan PPO
  • United Choice Plus POS/PPO
  • United Options (PPO)
  • United Select (HMO & EPO) (specialists only)
  • United W500 Emergent Wrap
  • Aetna Medicare Advantage HMO & PPO
  • BCBS Medicare Advantage HMO & PPO
  • Humana Medicare Advantage Choice PPO
  • Humana Medicare Advantage Gold Choice PFFS
  • Humana Medicare Advantage Gold Plus HMO
  • United Choice HMO (specialists only)
  • University of Chicago Health Plan (UCHP)

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