As a practicing pediatric hematologist for 30 years, I provide care for children with a wide variety of hematological disorders. My primary focus is the evaluation and management of care for children with sickle cell anemia and other hemolytic anemias. I also treat children who present with other forms of anemia, as well as neutropenia or thrombocytopenia.
When I began my career, there were almost no treatments available for sickle cell anemia. We now have many new diagnostic tools and novel approaches to help improve our young patients' lives. I have always enjoyed providing direct clinical care as well as performing laboratory investigations that lead to more effective care and improved outcomes for our children.
My research goals are to determine the best ways to use hydroxyurea for children with sickle cell anemia and to understand why some children respond better than others. I’m investigating the genetic basis for treatment outcomes and hope to optimize hydroxyurea treatment for each patient. Transforming the clinical care of children with sickle cell anemia across the world, through the widespread use of hydroxyurea, is my long-term research goal.
Our studies include both translational and clinical research. I have led several National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded trials of hydroxyurea to prevent stroke in children with sickle cell anemia, demonstrating the efficacy of this simple daily oral medication. I’m also investigating the use of hydroxyurea in low-resource settings, focusing on sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. Our exciting results have shown the feasibility, safety and benefits of hydroxyurea in these settings, which could potentially transform the treatment landscape for sickle cell anemia worldwide. Some of my research trials also include point-of-care diagnostics and optimizing hydroxyurea treatment through individualized dosing.
Improving the care and health of children with sickle cell anemia has been a rewarding career goal. However, taking what we have learned in the United States and bringing this knowledge to low-resource countries has been even more gratifying. With support from the Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation, we have established productive global partnerships with local partners in six sub-Saharan countries and two Caribbean islands. These collaborations are changing the approach to diagnosing and treating sickle cell anemia worldwide.