Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from P-T » Scott, Roland B.(1909–2002) - Physician, medical researcher, Chronology

Returns to Howard University

scott cell sickle disease

In 1939, Scott passed the examination of the American Board of Pediatrics. He returned to Howard as a faculty member after he completed postgraduate pediatric training in Chicago. Smith and Scott were the first two black physicians in the United States to gain membership in the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to Carl Pochedly, their applications were first rejected because of race, but they both reapplied and were accepted. Scott was the first black physician to become a member of the American Pediatric Society and the Society for Pediatric Research.

In 1939, a full-time assistant professor of pediatrics at Howard University was paid $3,000 per year. Since Scott was married and had a child, the salary did not meet the family’s needs. Through a special arrangement, the university allowed Scott to work part-time as a pediatric consultant. In his work at Freedmen’s Hospital, he learned that most parents of children admitted with sickle cell anemia lacked knowledge of the disease. Many children died from complications. Scott began writing about the condition in 1948.

Scott published a number of articles that described clinical findings due to sickle cell disease in infants and children. With a group from his clinic, he prepared exhibits on the disease that were shown at medical meetings throughout the country and sometimes abroad. At first there was little outside financial support for sickle cell studies, due to the fact that the disease was perceived as only affecting blacks. Scott’s research showed that blacks are not the only people who have sickle cell anemia. People in Mediterranean, South American, and Arabian countries also suffer from the disease. In 1971, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a grant to establish the Howard University Center for Sickle Cell Disease.

The NIH grant came about due to the Sickle Cell Control Act of 1971. Because of this act, ten centers (in Augusta, Boston, Cincinnati, Chicago, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, New York, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C.) were established. The NIH grants were for more productive research and to provide more actual benefit to patients.

In 1945, Scott became acting director of pediatrics, when it was still a division of the Department of Medicine. In 1949, Scott was instrumental in changing the pediatric division to a full department, and he became chairman of the Department of Pediatrics. He remained as head of pediatrics for twenty-eight years. He was director of the Howard University Center for Sickle Cell Disease from its inception in 1971 until his retirement in 1990.

While on sabbatical in 1950, Scott studied allergic diseases at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. When he returned to Howard, he started allergy clinics for children at D.C. General and Freedmen’s Hospitals. Scott became board certified in both allergy and clinical immunology.

A prolific writer, Scott wrote or co-wrote more than three hundred scientific reports. His former students, residents, and other trainees have made significant contributions in medical care and education in the United States and in other countries. His pioneer work in sickle cell research resulted in the government developing a national program for research and clinical care.

In an interview with Carl Pochedly of the American Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology , Scott listed coping with conventional racism in the United States as one of his biggest lifelong problems. He also expressed gratitude and admiration for the support of many friends and organizations and for the encouragement of his mentors, which included Dr. Frederic W. Schlutz, Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at University of Chicago; Joseph Brennemann at Children’s Memorial Hospital; and Dr. Archibald Hoyne, an expert in infectious diseases at Municipal Hospital for Contagious Diseases. This support allowed him to persevere in his efforts to gain interest and funding in sickle cell research.

Scott traveled widely and received honors for his work in the United States and elsewhere. His honors include the Jacobi Award of the American Medical Association Academy of Pediatrics, pioneer in sickle cell research award from the Advisory Board of the Comprehensive Center for Sickle Cell Disease of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, as well as a special award, according to Pochedly, from the National Sickle Cell Disease Program for “leadership and pioneering efforts in directing national and international attention to sickle cell disease.”

Scott died on December 10, 2002, at Washington Adventist Hospital. His memorial service was held at Howard University on December 17, 2002.

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