Sarah Goodwin

Kathi Ovnic
Holly Korschun
July 7, 1999

For his role in research shown to help prevent stroke in children with sickle cell anemia, Emory University's Lewis L. Hsu, M.D., Ph.D., received the Health Advancement Award from Community Health Charities of Georgia May 21 at the organization's first annual Recognition Gala.

Dr. Hsu led the Emory University component of the national Stroke Prevention Trial in Sickle Cell Anemia (STOP), a federal study showing that monthly blood transfusions prevent stroke in those children with sickle cell at highest risk for stroke.

The study's early findings were so positive that the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) halted the study midstream in 1997, giving all patients nationwide earlier access to the prevention intervention.

Dr. Hsu is assistant professor of pediatrics (division of hematology/oncology) at Emory Children's Center, Emory University School of Medicine. In addition to his clinical research, Dr. Hsu shares in the care of more than 1,000 Georgia children and adults with sickle cell at the Georgia Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center based at Grady Memorial Hospital and Hughes Spalding Children's Hospital.

Reviewers have rated the Georgia Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center website, located at <>, as one of the best health information sites on the Internet. The site is updated monthly by Program Manager Alan Platt, of Emory's physician's assistant program faculty, to keep track of the rapid advances in sickle cell care. Health care delivery with high patient satisfaction and a positive bottom line has likewise won national and regional awards for the Sickle Cell Center, directed by James Eckman, M.D., himself a finalist in the 1998 Health Care Hero awards sponsored by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

About one in every 12 children with sickle cell anemia is at particularly high risk for stroke. Dr. Hsu and his STOP study collaborators used transcranial doppler ultrasound (TCD) -- a procedure refined by researchers at Medical College of Georgia -- to identify these high risk patients. Once identified, children were randomized to either receive or not receive monthly blood transfusions. The success of the transfusions for preventing stroke (and improving other symptoms of sickle cell) is just one of the latest in a series of advances in sickle cell care in which Emory has played a part in the last five years ­ including advances in prevention, treatment and even cure for sickle cell disease. While Dr. Hsu and Dr. Eckman have hosted visitors from sickle cell centers in six other states and as far away as London, Cuba and Zambia -- and a family flew in from Saudi Arabia to have their son seen at the Sickle Cell Center, the Georgia Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center seems to be one of the best-kept secrets in Atlanta, Dr. Hsu says. Biomedical researchers at several institutions in Atlanta are helping to change the face of sickle cell disease nationwide.

Dr. Hsu received his M.D. as well as a Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of Rochester in 1988, completed a pediatric residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital in 1991 and a pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia in 1994. His research interests include the pathophysiology of sickle cell, oxygen transport, transgenic mice and hemoglobin, and in addition to sickle cell disease, his clinical interests include acute chest syndrome, stroke prevention, thalassemia and transcranial doppler ultrasound.

Dr. Hsu lives in Dunwoody with his wife, Judy Fan-Hsu, D.D.S., and their children, Michael, 8, and Grace, 6. Community Health Charities is the name chosen for the new federation resulting from the merger of Combined Health Appeal of Georgia and the National Voluntary Health Agencies in September 1998. Both former organizations have a 20-year history working with employers in the public and private sectors to give employees greater choice in their charitable giving and to raise funds for 70 voluntary health charities that provide information, service and research to more than 1.5 million Georgians (