|Dr. Wanda Whitten-Shurney delivers a lecture about her father, sickle cell disease pioneer Dr. Charles F. Whitten. Photo by Michael Spencer.|
The late sickle cell disease pioneer Charles F. Whitten, M.D., was honored at Lister Hill Auditorium on Feb. 2 with a lecture given by his daughter, Wanda Whitten-Shurney, M.D. The presentation marked the National Library of Medicine's acquisition of Whitten's papers. The gift and the lecture were first announced during the NHLBI's James B. Herrick Symposium in Nov. 2010.
In "Introducing Charles Whitten: Scientist, Humanitarian, Family Man," Whitten-Shurney, a pediatrician at the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Clinic at Children's Hospital of Michigan and CEO and medical director of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA)'s Michigan chapter, discussed aspects of her father's life as both a sickle cell disease researcher and a family man.
A pediatric hematologist and co-founder of the SCDAA, Whitten was among the first to develop and insist on newborn screening for sickle cell disease, which is now performed worldwide. In 1971, he formed the Sickle Cell Detection and Information Center in Detroit, the most comprehensive community program in the country. He created color-coded "Whitten Dice" to educate couples about the genetic risks of having children with sickle cell disease, said Whitten-Shurney. He also created a post-baccalaureate enrichment program at Wayne State University, in Detroit, that led to more African-American enrollments than in any other medical school besides Howard University, in Washington, D.C., added Whitten-Shurney.
Introduced by NLM director Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D., the lecture was delivered on what would have been Whitten's 90th birthday. The audience included Whitten family members as well as SCDAA President and Chief Operating Officer Sonja L. Banks.
For more information: