Kwaku Ohene-Frempong, MD, director emeritus of the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), was recently named a 2021 Honorific Award Recipient by the American Society of Hematology (ASH). The ASH Honorific Awards are the Society’s most prestigious awards, and recognize exemplary hematologists who have made significant contributions to the field and were nominated by ASH members.
Dr. Ohene-Frempong is a world leader in the treatment of sickle cell disease (SCD) and established many of the current practice standards. For years, he has led the development of SCD treatment centers in the U.S. and globally, including Ghana, his native country, as the president of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Ghana and the national coordinator for the ASH Consortium on Newborn Screening in Africa (CONSA). Additionally, Dr. Ohene-Frempong previously served as a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania.
One of Dr. Ohene-Frempong’s key research achievements was his observation of the frequency of strokes in young children with SCD, and his work was instrumental in establishing bone marrow transplant as a cure for SCD. At CHOP, he emphasized the importance of education to keep an enlarged spleen, a manageable complication of sickle cell disease, from becoming fatal.
“In 1978, we began teaching parents how to feel for an enlarged spleen, and if they feel it, to call the ambulance to bring their child to the Emergency Department,” recalls Dr. Ohene-Frempong. “Now, probably 15 to 20 times a year, children come to CHOP with an enlarged spleen that their parents felt, saving all those lives.”
The Henry M. Stratton Medal will be awarded to Dr. Ohene-Frempong, the translational/clinical awardee, during the 63rd ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition this December.