Sickle cell disease may not be a hot topic of discussion in health and medical circles, but it still affects many African-Americans – and Dr. Dora Clayton-Jones intends to raise awareness and put a spotlight on patient care and advocacy as the new president of the International Association of Sickle Cell Nurses and Professional Associates.
“Some people think it’s cured,” said Clayton-Jones, an assistant professor and Arthur J. Schmitt Leadership Fellow at the Marquette University College of Nursing. “They are advancing science, but remedies like bone marrow transplants aren’t widely available. Gene therapy is still in development. So, we still have work to do in finding a cure and on the psychosocial level.”
Sickle cell disease affects about 100,000 Americans, overwhelmingly Black people, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
“The Black population deals with racism, discrimination, disparities,” Clayton-Jones said. “When you add sickle cell disease, it’s compounded.”
Dr. Janet Wessel Krejci, dean of Marquette’s College of Nursing, said Clayton-Jones’ important new leadership role “strengthens and deepens the education we offer our nursing students.”
“Dr. Clayton-Jones’ dedication to the IASCNAPA reflects our Jesuit mission of cura personalis, care for the whole person,” Krejci added. “She has a long history of advocating for those in the community who have been disadvantaged, especially the youth. Her outstanding leadership will bring more awareness for sickle cell disease and the important work nurses do.”
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