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March 19, 2003


'Hall of Champions' Wing at Hughes Spalding Children’s Hospital Will Allow Teams To Focus On Children With Sickle Cell Disease and Asthma

ATLANTA -- In a dual medical school effort being spearheaded by Lewis Hsu, MD, assistant professor of pediatric hematology/oncology at the Emory University School of Medicine, and pediatric hematologist Beatrice Gee, MD, of the Morehouse School of Medicine, children suffering from sickle cell disease and asthma will soon have a place to call their own upon being admitted to Hughes Spalding Children’s Hospital. The program, known as the Hall of Champions, will group sickle cell and asthma patients in one wing for the purpose of emphasizing team medical care.

"We hope this will be exciting for staff as well as the patients," said Dr. Hsu. "The Hall of Champions will focus on a family-centered and kid-centered approach that will use the best of our expertise at Hughes Spalding."

Sickle cell disease and asthma are the two leading diagnoses for admission to Hughes Spalding Children’s Hospital. By grouping sickle cell and asthma patients together in one wing, medical care will emphasize multidisciplinary teamwork among nursing, outpatient sub-specialist teams, general pediatrics faculty, and doctors in training.

"The Hall of Champions wing will first reorganize existing services and then add to psychosocial services," Dr. Hsu said. "It will highlight existing expertise at Hughes Spalding, making it obvious to staff and the community."

Helping to make the Hall of Champions effort possible is a newly established organization, SCELL, an acronym for Sickle Cell Empowerment for a Liberated Life. SCELL is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide resources for research, education, community outreach, community development and the emergency needs of sickle cell patients. The organization, which is run by patients, parents and friends, is also dedicated to the cause of the Georgia Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at Grady Memorial Hospital and the building of a united force with others who participate in the management and education of sickle cell patients.

The immediate goal of the organization is to raise over $1 million for sickle cell research and numerous other projects, which include renovating and equipping the inpatient area at Hughes Spalding for children with sickle cell. An upcoming fund-raising event will be a children’s-oriented musical play, "Bones and the RBC’s" (red blood cells), on Sunday, April 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the Rialto Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Atlanta. Other goals are to bring the state of Georgia to the forefront in the treatment and awareness of sickle cell disease, and to fund a universal cure by 2010.

Sickle cell disease is the most common genetic disease in the United States. It affects one out of every 400 African-Americans, as well as people of other ethnic backgrounds, including Italians, Greeks, Israelis, Arabs and individuals from India. The disease causes life-long anemia, pain crises, susceptibility to infections, increased incidence of strokes, and other complications.

About the Georgia Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center
The sickle cell center at Grady Hospital is the world’s first and only 24-hour comprehensive clinic treating over 1,300 adults and children. The clinic is staffed with physicians, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinic assistants, social workers, psychiatric and clerical support, psychologists, and job trainers. The clinic provides emergency care, education, research, preventive care, counseling, support groups and job training.

For more information about the Hall of Champions, fund-raising events, or organizations affiliated with the Georgia Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center, please visit the center’s web site at:

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