Thursday, July 17, 2003

Some good news

Sickle-cell research is unique

How does sickle cell disease affect a child and that child's family?

That's what Dr. Monica Mitchell wants to find out, and now she'll have some funding to help her understand the psychological impact of the disease.

Mitchell, 33, an assistant professor of psychology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati, received a fellowship and $15,000 grant from the American Association of Medical Colleges to continue her research on the topic.

The Herbert W. Nickens Minority Faculty Fellowship is awarded to one junior faculty member out of all the medical schools in the country.

The research, done through focus groups in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland, is something no one else is doing and is important in understanding how to help families in a culturally sensitive way to deal with the disease, Mitchell said.

The disease affects one in 400 African-Americans in the United States. There are 250 children in Greater Cincinnati with sickle cell disease.

Mitchell, along with colleagues at Children's, is also part of a community research program called Innovations. Participants work with community agencies, such as the YWCA, Head Start and Girls on the Run.

"I'm really committed to the outcomes of my research and the long-term help it can provide, but I also really appreciate being able to do things that can help kids today," said Mitchell, of Anderson Township.

• • •      • • •      • • •

At age 20, Darin Jorg of Delhi tried to enter a fishing tournament. It took some convincing for the old-timers to let him in, but eventually, he and his 18-year-old fishing partner set out to prove two young guys could fish.

They won the tournament. Jorg has been competitively fishing ever since. Now at 35, he's on the road to professional fishing.

"I've been fishing all my life, and this is just a competitive aspect of it," Jorg said. "I'm competitive by nature. I play cards, and I play to win. Now that's how fishing is."

Jorg was selected recently to be on a 12-member team from Indiana to go to the divisional championships in September 2004, the only route for amateurs to eventually make it to the Bassmasters Classic, the World Series of fishing.

"It takes a lot more skill than people realize. You have to understand how fish act and where they'll be," Jorg said.

Allen Howard is on vacation. Karen Vance will write "Some Good News" until he returns. E-mail

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