Meet Dr. Seethal Jacob
Nearly 300,000 children are born with sickle cell disease each year. This genetic disease can cause anemia, jaundice and severe pain. In some cases, it causes blocked oxygen flow in the tiny vessels in the lungs and an enlarged spleen – both of which can be deadly.
At Riley Children’s Health, Seethal Jacob, MD is fighting every day for this patient population, advocating for them locally as well as at the state and national level.
Dr. Jacob is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist, Director of the Comprehensive Pediatric Sickle Cell Disease and Hemoglobinopathy Program at Riley, and an NIH-funded Health Services Researcher in the Pediatric and Adolescent Comparative Effectiveness Group at Indiana University.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Dr. Jacob to learn in her own words about her journey to caring for these children and what keeps her motivated.
Why Sickle Cell: I grew up in a home where helping others was an essential part of who we were, and by the time I was in junior high, I knew I wanted to be a physician. Through my training, I was exposed to sickle cell disease and the population it affects and saw the relationships patients and families had with their sickle cell team.
But, I also saw how committed the team was to their patients, and how they advocated for them every day. That’s when it clicked – I knew this was going to be my journey.
Why Riley Children’s Health: I was a pediatric resident and chief resident at Riley, and though I completed fellowship elsewhere, what drew me back to Riley was the purpose that is visible in the actions of its leadership and staff – caring for the children of our community.
I also saw an opportunity to perform cutting edge research at a leading children’s hospital to improve care for patients with sickle cell disease.
Why keep pushing: Sickle cell disease has been a neglected disease for the 100+ years since its scientific discovery. And while recent years have seen improvements in care for this population, there is so much left to be done.
I keep pushing for improvements in children’s health because I want the dream of my 8 year old patient who wants to be a pediatrician to come true. Because I want my patients to be able to live their best lives. Because diseases like sickle cell disease should not define or limit our children. They deserve better, and I know my mission is to help make that happen.
Donations to Riley Children’s Foundation help physicians like Dr. Jacob continue their critical work, improving lives for Indiana’s most precious patents, our children.