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  Children's National marks Sickle Cell Awareness Day
June 18, 2010

Sickle Cell Awareness Day
Michael Ogunjemi, a sickle cell patient at Children's National, was a featured speaker at the Sickle Cell Awareness Day program at the hospital. He is flanked by Dr. Peter Holbrook (L), executive vice president and chief medical officer and Dr. Joseph Wright (R), senior vice president of the Child Health Advocacy Institute.

Washington, DC - Sickle cell disease awareness was the focus of an international gathering at Children’s National that included patients and families, researchers, clinical care team members, and several ambassadors and dignitaries from countries where sickle cell disease is prevalent.

“It is especially important to mark the United Nation’s International Sickle Cell Awareness Day this year, as it is the 100th anniversary that sickle cell was described in Western medical literature,” said Lewis Hsu, MD, director, Sickle Cell program at Children’s National. “As one of the largest sickle cell programs in the country, and considering our physical location in close proximity to the embassies headquartered in Washington, we felt it was a great opportunity to celebrate the global progress we’ve made and explore how we can improve things in the future.”

Physicians and researchers at Children’s National are concentrating on the use of bone marrow transplant and patient education for sickle cell patients. Of particular concern is the transition of adolescent patients from pediatric to adult care, and the need for increased responsibility on their part to manage their health.

Julie Finkel, MD vice chief for Pain Medicine and Research for the Division of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, described her work, which seeks to tailor pain management to individual patients.

Michael Ogunjemi described his experience with sickle cell disease, also commenting on the extreme pain involved, an aspect of the disease that causes great stress for most patients.

The Sickle Cell program at Children’s National sees about 1,000 patients each year, providing an interdisciplinary approach to managing the disease.

Contact: Paula Darte/Susan Muma, 202-476-4500

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About Children's National Medical Center

Children’s National Medical Center, located in Washington, DC, is a proven leader in the development of innovative new treatments for childhood illness and injury. Children’s has been serving the nation’s children for more than 135 years. Children’s National is consistently ranked among the best pediatric hospitals by U.S.News & World Report and the Leapfrog Group. For more information, visit www.childrensnational.org.