As the new president of the International Association of Sickle Cell Nurses and Professional Associates/IASCNAPA, Dr. Dora Clayton-Jones, an assistant professor and Arthur J. Schmitt Leadership Fellow at the Marquette University College of Nursing, will dedicate her tenure as president to increase awareness of sickle cell disease (SCD) while elevating patient care and advocacy. She explains, “Gene therapy is being developed. But remedies like bone marrow transplants aren’t widely available. So, we still have work to do in finding a cure and on the psychosocial level.”
The IASCNAPA was established in 1990. Its mission is to provide a platform for global members to improve care of people with SCD. Additional objectives include establishing guidelines for standards of nursing care —supporting legislation that enhances treatment, research, and awareness of people with SCD, — and assisting educational pursuits of people with SCD through scholarships. Membership is open to healthcare professionals, advocates, and caregivers for SCD patients.
Describing her research efforts Clayton-Jones said, “My interests are spirituality and health in adolescents, self-management of chronic conditions, health disparities and equity, qualitative research and community-based participatory research. I’m examining the health care transition experiences of individuals living with SCD.
An educator and researcher extraordinaire, Clayton-Jones’ impressive list of achievements include: Assistant Professor, Marquette University, College of Nursing; Adjunct Faculty, Medical College of Wisconsin; health equity leadership scholar/advocate for children and adolescents; Community Health and Engagement Officer, World Outreach Center; and President of Children First Angelic Foundation a nonprofit created to impact the lives of children/adolescents through education and outreach. She has also authored countless articles that were published in health periodicals.
Consequently, she regularly shares her specialized knowledge with academic and medical circles around the U.S. Dr. Dora Clayton-Jones’ advocacy to eliminate health disparities for children and adolescents with sickle cell disease is powered by a deep sense of empathy and compassion to serve others —not credentials. Jones confessed that the seeds for this mindset were planted during her childhood in Chicago where she lived with her grandmother. On Saturdays, we volunteered at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. These weekends gave me an early sense of purpose and identity and the conviction to never forget my roots. Service is at the core of who I am.
I became a pediatric nurse because I believed I could persuade parents to raise their skills to a higher level based on the needs of their children living with sickle cell. When children are hospitalized, I encourage parents to be a constant presence at their bedside. Also find someone else to be with their child during their absence. I also work to empower their confidence in dealing with health care providers by strengthening their communication effectiveness. I tell them that nobody knows their child as they do.
“Above all else, pursue integrity,” is the secret sauce mixed throughout her persuasive narrative In Journey to Wakanda: Lessons I Learned from Black Panther, published July 2018 in REFLECTIONS ON NURSING LEADERSHIP.
Quick Facts about
Dora Clayton Jones, Ph.D.
THEME SONG OF MY LIFE.
Whitney Houston’s ‘Greatest Love of All. I love the lyrics ‘Everybody searching for a hero.’ I’m that child who had heroes. And that’s what I want to invest in children today.
Personal stress therapy — Deep reflection and moments of thank you fits. Service is really at the core
of who I am.
Greatest strength — Discernment.
Work has taught me — It’s important to invest in self-care so that I’m preserved for the work that I want
to do. I need quiet time to listen to my inner voice.
I relax by — Cooking Cajon Creole dishes and soul food. I love sweet potatoes and make sweet potato rolls, pancakes, pound cakes, pie, butter, and cookies.
Goals, 5 to 10 years — Continuing my research
on sickle cell disease, expanding my national and international collaborations, opening a research camp for young people, in leadership at an HBCU (Historically Black College and University).
Family — I live with my husband Shannon Jones, my bonus daughter, Shakara; two sons, 20 year-old Shannon II, and 16-year-old Dorian; and my 14-year-old niece, Ashanti.
Sickle Cell Disease Research Team, represents the Marquette University College of Nursing, Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology. (L-R), Weneaka Jones PhDc (Co-Investigator), Elodie Ontala MS (Program Assistant), Dora Clayton-Jones PhD RN (Principal Investigator), Abir Bekhet PhD RN (Co-Investigator), Lee Za Ong PhD (Co-Investigator), and Kristin Haglund PhD, RN (photo separate from the group) (Co-Investigator). The purpose of this group is to advance health equity and establish collaborative community partnerships.
Dr. Clayton-Jones’ emotional wisdom and deep comprehension of the human experience is evident throughout.
She analyzes, what for her was, the ‘transformative messages’ in the movie with suggestions for real-life applications of these life-lessons. Regarding leadership, she writes, “We must be self-aware and consciously discern our season, whether to remain planted or to launch, trusting that whatever we decide will influence change in either circumstance.” She inspires empathy in dealing with young professionals, “ whether in age or experience.” She concludes by saying, “ As leaders, we are imperfect, but pursuing integrity and seeking personal growth will sustain us and enable us to lead effectively during challenging and uncertain times. Integrity will carry us further than title or position. It is a form of vibranium (fictional metal referenced in Marvel comic books) that all can access.”
“World Outreach Center is proud to be a host site for Sickle Cell,” said Melva L. Henderson, President of the World Bible Training Institute and World Ministerial Alumni Association. We recognize that physical health is an integral part of serving God. Through education, prevention, and awareness, our partnership with Professor Dora Clayton-Jones positions us to dramatically improve the health outlook, attitudes, and well-being of our congregation and the communities we serve.”