For more information, contact: Boonshoft School of Medicine Marketing and Communications, Cindy Young at (937) 775-2951, or Phillip Neal at (937) 775-4587.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2010

Wright State to provide sickle cell disease information, screenings at free event on Friday, April 23

WSU Boonshoft School of Medicine to host event on campus as part of Minority Health Month

DAYTON, Ohio-Between 70,000 and 100,000 Americans are currently living with sickle cell disease, an inherited chronic disease that affects the red blood cells. While there is no cure for sickle cell disease, also known as sickle cell anemia, many treatments can help manage and mitigate the disease's symptoms and complications.

Boonshoft School of Medicine is hosting a free event on Friday, April 23, in White Hall on the WSU campus from noon to 2 p.m. "Sickle Cell: Invisible but not forgotten" is part of the university's Minority Health Month, which is sponsored by WSU's Organization for Black Faculty and Staff. The event does not require advance registration. Download this flyer for more information.

Organizers of the event hope to raise awareness of this serious global health concern and provide resources to help local residents who are battling the disease or suspect they may have it. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, sickle cell disease is especially common in African Americans, with an estimated 1 in 12 possessing sickle cell trait and 1 in 500 babies being born with the disease.

Featured presenters include Wendy Berry-West, M.B.A., executive director of the Ohio Sickle Cell and Health Association, as well as Kate Barrett, B.S.N., CPON, and Valerie Elijah of the West Central Ohio Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center, which is based in the Children's Medical Center of Dayton. The event will also feature free screenings for sickle cell disease, as well as quizzes, games and activities.

Sickle cell disease causes red blood cells to become sickle-shaped, inhibiting their ability to flow through small blood vessels and deliver oxygen to vital organs and tissue. In addition to frequent bouts of pain - known as "pain crises" - complications associated with the disease include infection, leg ulcers, yellow eyes, gallstones, acute chest syndrome, anemia, delayed growth and stroke.

Editor's note: For more information or to schedule an interview contact: Phillip Neal, Marketing and Communications, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, (937) 775-4587 or phillip.neal@wright.edu.