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Black History Month 2012 – patient care mission

Feb. 13, 2012 College News - In honor of Black History Month, the Medical College of Wisconsin has created a series of video vignettes and stories that will be posted on InfoScope during the month of February. The vignettes highlight some of our African-American and black faculty and staff and the contributions they have made. The stories highlight MCW programs that improve the health of underserved populations (including African-American and black), offer these populations improved access to health care and education, and reduce health disparities.

The second story in the series features MCW patient care programs that address health problems that impact African American and black populations disproportionately. All of the vignettes and stories will be added to the College’s Black History Month 2012 Web page as they are published.

Sickle cell disease

Through the College’s partnerships with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Froedtert Hospital, MCW faculty and staff in the pediatric and adult sickle cell disease clinics annually provide comprehensive care to roughly 400 children and adults with sickle cell disease.  

Sickle cell disease affects one in 400 African American newborns in the United States. It is a genetic disorder affecting hemoglobin, which are the protein molecules in red blood cells that carry oxygen through the bloodstream, and patients with it can experience numerous symptoms including bouts of extreme pain and shortness of breath.

The Wisconsin Sickle Center at Children’s Hospital is a nationally-recognized comprehensive sickle cell program that incorporates both clinical care and research into the disease. It is one of only 11 sickle cell sites nationwide to be considered a National Institutes of Health-funded Basic and Translational Research Program

Opened in 2011, the Adult Sickle Cell Clinic at Froedtert Hospital provides comprehensive and integrated specialty disease and pain management services including inpatient and outpatient acute care management, hydroxyurea and transfusion therapy services as well as access to single and multi-institution clinical studies.

Asthma

Medical College physicians provide comprehensive care for adult and pediatric patients with asthma, another chronic disease that affects African Americans and blacks disproportionately.

Adults and children with severe, difficult-to-control asthma receive specialized care through the Asthma Plus program. As part of this program, doctors from many different specialties help patients focus on education, identify short- and long-term health goals, develop an asthma action plan, and review the avoidance of triggers and stressors. The patients also better understand when to contact a physician, learn the importance of nutrition and exercise, and learn the importance of an annual flu vaccine and having regular follow-up visits with a medical professional.

Medical College physicians are an essential part of Fight Asthma Milwaukee Allies, an organization that educates families about asthma and seeks to improve asthma control. Their efforts are paying off.  Between 1999 and 2008, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin had a 38% reduction in asthma hospitalizations for children living in the central city of Milwaukee. Fight Asthma Milwaukee Allies was selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a National Exemplary Award for outstanding contributions to help people with asthma live active, healthy lives.  Medical College physicians, along with the American Lung Association, help lead Milwaukee’s only Asthma Camp. This week-long day camp is for kids with asthma, and helps them to better understand asthma, their triggers, and their medications.

The Medical College, in collaboration with Froedtert Hospital, has a comprehensive Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, and Smoking Cessation Continuity Clinic Program that provides guidelines-directed medical care, patient education and counseling, and medication and lung function testing resources. Over the past eight years, more than 1,100 patients have been cared for through clinics at Froedtert Hospital, the Lisbon Ave. Clinic, Clinica Latina, and Columbia St Mary's Family Practice Center. 

Patients who become part of this program show marked decreases in symptoms and use of the emergency department and hospital for exacerbations, and marked increases in lung function, quality of life, and the ability to stop smoking. 

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