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Mitchell Beats Fierce Competition for National Award

College of Medicine researcher will use her recent award to extend her research on children with sickle cell disease.

Date: 7/14/2003
By: Sheryl Hilton
Phone: (513) 558-4561
Other Contact: Laura Bloor
With her impressive record of contributions to the field of pediatrics and ceaseless efforts towards innovations within the area, there's no question what separated Monica Mitchell, PhD, from the multitude of competing doctors across the country to become this year's Herbert W. Nickens, MD, Minority Faculty Fellowship Award recipient.

Dr. Mitchell, assistant professor of pediatrics at the UC College of Medicine within the Division of Psychology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, is fervently focused on her lofty and inspiring career objectives.

"My primary career goal is to have a positive impact on physical and behavioral health outcomes in African-American children, particularly those with chronic health conditions," Dr. Mitchell said. "I am striving to accomplish this goal through research, clinical practice, teaching, and by co-directing Innovations, a collaborative program with the College of Medicine and the Cincinnati community that promotes physical, behavioral and emotional health in African-American children and other children of color."

Dr. Mitchell said that each college of medicine nationwide was able to nominate someone for the award, so there was a large, highly qualified selection pool to choose from.

"I was totally shocked because I was competing against MDs across the country," she said. "I was informed that it is rare for a PhD nominee to win the award. It is nice to receive an award for something that you love to do and that makes a positive impact in the lives of others."

With her $15,000 award, Dr. Mitchell plans to extend her research on children with sickle cell disease to develop culturally sensitive measurement tools to assess pain perception and quality of life issues.

Dr. Mitchell's extensive credentials have earned her recognition and funding from various other sources. In March 2002, she received a five-year Career Development Grant on "Depression and Nutrition in Pediatric Sickle Cell Disease," through the National Institute of Mental Health. Through this grant, she is completing a two-phase assessment and intervention project directed at improving physical and mental health outcomes in children with sickle cell disease.

Dr. Mitchell is currently completing training in biostatistics, culturally sensitive family assessment, anthropometric assessment and co-morbidity research in mental health and pediatric illness. She also was awarded funding through the Cincinnati Children's NIH-funded Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center Grant as a research investigator.
Her vast and thorough involvement in research on sickle cell disease has earned her institutional recognition and an invitation to aid in the designing of an evidence-based, multi-session training seminar on culturally sensitive practice in pediatric settings, using data from her focus group findings. The seminar, sponsored by the Office of Diversity and the Hematology/Oncology Division, will be part of mandatory training for nurses and physicians working with hematology patients. She has also collaborated with physicians at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on improving nutrition and growth in children with sickle cell disease.

The Herbert W. Nickens, MD, Minority Faculty Fellowship was established by the AAMC to continue advancing Dr. Nickens' lifelong concerns about the educational, societal and health-care needs of minorities. The award recognizes an outstanding minority junior faculty member who is committed to a career in academic medicine.

For more information on the Herbert W. Nickens, MD, Minority Faculty Fellowship, please visit http://www.aamc.org/about/awards/nickensfellowships.htm