Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic inflammatory disorder affecting approximately 1.3 million adults in the United States. Approximately 10% of these individuals with RA have clinically evident interstitial lung disease (RA-ILD), and an additional one-third demonstrate subclinical ILD on chest CT scan. The risk of death for individuals with RA-ILD is three times higher than for patients with RA without ILD, with a median survival after ILD diagnosis of only 2.6 years. Despite the high prevalence and mortality of RA-ILD, little is known about its molecular features and its natural history. At present, we lack a standard validated approach to the definition, diagnosis, risk stratification, and management of RA-ILD. In this perspective, we discuss the importance of clinical and translational research and how ongoing research efforts can address important gaps in our knowledge over the next few years. Furthermore, recommendations are made to design multicenter collaborative studies that will expedite the development of clinical trials designed to decrease the significant morbidity and mortality associated with RA-ILD.