Our cover this month features a painting of red flowers in a vase. On closer inspection, you might notice that the flowers are actually red blood cells, painted by 12-year-old Danashiya Pritchard, who suffers from sickle cell anemia (that's Danashiya at work on the painting at left). In treatment for the disease at Providence Children's Hospital in El Paso, Texas, Danashiya takes part in Project Arts-in-Motion (AIM), a visual arts program for pediatric patients that helps distract the children from the boredom, pain, and fear of hospitalization through learning painting, printmaking, and graphic design. Launched in 1999, Project AIM was awarded the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award at a ceremony held at the White House, where Danashiya gave the opening remarks.
Sickle cell disease afflicts about 90,000 to 100,000 people in the United States, who often experience acute and chronic pain syndromes. As this pain can be life long, it's essential for patients to learn pain management strategies. Cognitive behavioral therapies such as the use of guided imagery, where patients imagine a pleasant scene to help distract them from their pain, has shown some success. For more on how guided imagery can help manage pain in this population, see this month's CE feature, “Using Guided Imagery to Manage Pain in Young Children with Sickle Cell Disease.”—Michael Fergenson, senior editorial coordinator